Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


I would welcome your help on a complaint I have received from Mr Robert Waterhouse about the expenses claim you made for paid items for films on your television account.

I attach a copy of the complainant's letter of 30 March. The complaint is one of a number I have received to the same effect. I also attach a copy of the on-line article in the Daily Mail of 30 March to which he refers. In essence, the complaint is that you claimed against the Additional Costs Allowance for films, the cost of which was not permitted under the rules of the House.

I have not accepted the complainant's suggestion that I undertake examination of all your claims, since as you know, my role in this respect is confined to consideration of complaints based on evidence of a breach provided by the complainant.

The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament provides in paragraph 14 as follows:

"Members shall at all times ensure that their use of expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is strictly in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters, and that they observe any limits placed by the House on the use of such expenses, allowances, facilities and services."

The rules for the Additional Costs Allowance published in July 2006 provides in Section 3.1.1 as follows:

"The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence (referred to below as their main home) for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties. This excludes expenses that have been incurred for purely personal or political purposes."

Paragraph Section 3.2.1 provides as follows:



  1. You have necessarily incurred additional costs in so doing, and
  2. You represent a constituency in outer London or outside London."

Paragraph 3.3.1 provides:

"You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. Members should bear in mind the need to obtain value for money from accommodation, goods or services from the allowances."

Section 3.13.1 gives examples of expenditure allowed under the Additional Costs Allowance including:



—  electrical equipment


—  TV licence ..."

Paragraph 3.14.1 sets out expenditure which is not allowable, including:


Living costs for anyone other than yourself


I am aware, of course, of the comments which you made to the press and of your husband's statement. It would be helpful for the purpose of this inquiry, however, if you could:

  1. let me know the circumstances in which you came to include the film items in the claim which has been publicized in the media:
  2. whether there are similar claims which you have made for paid films against the allowance.
  3. the actions you have taken to rectify the position.

Any other points you wish to make to help me with this inquiry would, of course, be most welcome.

I attach a note which sets out the procedures I follow. I am writing to the complainant to let him know that I have accepted his complaint and am writing to you about it. It would be very helpful if you could let me have a response to this letter by the end of April.

Thank you for your help on this matter.

3 April 2009

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