Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents



34.  LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCES FROM THE COMMISSIONER, 22 APRIL 2009

I would welcome your advice on a complaint I have received against Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP about the identification of her London residence as her main home for the purposes of her claims against the Additional Costs Allowances.

I enclose a copy of the complainant's two letters of 16 February; a copy of my letter of 17 February to Ms Smith; a copy of her response to me of 24 February with its attachments; a copy of my letter to her of 2 March and of her response of 26 March with its attachments.

I have since checked with Ms Smith her ministerial and personal diaries for financial years 2005-06 (starting in May 2005) to 2008-09. I attach a table showing what I believe to be a reasonable statement of where Ms Smith was overnight through each of those years. I am seeking further confirmation of these figures and would let you know if they were to change in any significant way.

I would welcome your help on the interpretation of Section 3 of the Green Book for the relevant years, in particular:

  1. how your Department interprets paragraph 3.1.1 of the Green Book read with the first frequently asked question—"what can I claim?" In particular, does it enable the cost of accommodating a Member's family in the second home, and if so, why?
  2. Whether, given the nature of the accommodation for Ms Smith in London and in her constituency, you consider that Ms Smith has more than one home within the terms set out in the Green Book;
  3. whether you consider it was open to Ms Smith to identify her constituency home as her main home even though she spent more nights than any other in London given that this part of the rule appears to provide for exceptions.

I would also welcome your comments on the exchange of letters between Ms Smith and the Fees Office in June and July 2007, which she attached with her letter to me of 24 February, including any information you may have from your records about the conversations which Ms Smith reports in her letter of 19 June 2007 that the Fees Office had with her husband.

Any other comments or points you may wish to make which you consider would help me with my inquiry would be most welcome.

It would be particularly helpful if I could have a response to this letter within the next three weeks. Thank you for your help.

22 April 2009


 
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