13. Letter to Ms Nadine Dorries MP
from the Commissioner, 15 December 2009|
As you know, I have been considering the information
you have provided about your overnight stays, including the copies
of your Outlook diary for 2008-09, and 2009-10 which you sent
with your letter of 11 November. The purpose of this letter is
to ask for further help in establishing the pattern of those overnight
I have studied the Outlook diary you sent me for
2008-09 and for the eight months from April to November 2009.
Unfortunately, the diary entries are not such as to allow me to
identify with any reliability where you were likely to have spent
your overnights. There are just 11 occasions in 2008-09 and 6
in 2009-10 where you have recorded constituency appointments either
in the evening or in the morning or (on 1 occasion in each year)
both. The coloured lines you have added to your diary to show
your estimate of your constituency nights and journeys to and
from your main home give an estimate of 81 nights in your constituency
and 62 nights in your main home in 2008-09, and in 2009-10 33
nights in your constituency and no clear number of nights in your
main home. Even for 2008-09 the figures only add to 143 nights
overalljust over a third of the nights that yearalthough
they do suggest that you were spending more nights in your constituency
than in your main home. There is, of course, no diary information
for any of the previous years.
I conclude, therefore, that your diaries do not provide
a reliable guide to the number of overnight stays in your main
home and in your constituency home. Your e-mail to me of 8 October,
however, provided the following estimates:
|Year||A. Nights in main home
||B. Nights in constituency
||C. Nights in London
||D. Nights elsewhere
Since your diaries do not help in corroborating or complementing
these estimates, I do need to ask you for the following information:
1. Could you tell me how you came to establish
these detailed estimates, given that your diaries do not provide
the necessary information?
2. For 2005-06, could you also help me with the
a) There are 98 nights missing (taking account of
the General Election, there were 331 parliamentary nights that
year). Could you complete the estimates for this year so that
they total 331 nights?
b) In doing so could you confirm your initial estimate
that you spent no overnights in your constituency where at the
time, as I understand it, you had no established accommodation?
3. For 2006-07:
a) Could you tell me whether you spent any nights
in your London home, that year? As you know, until January 2007
that was your second homeand the one on which you made
claims against your ACA.
b) If you did spend nights in that home, you will
need to adjust your estimates for nights in your main home and
in your constituency, so that the annual number of nights totals
c) It is not clear to me how you could have spent
111 nights in the constituency home in 2006-07 when you only began
to rent it in January 2007. Could you reconsider this estimate?
4. For 2007-08:
a) Could you tell me whether you spent any nights
in London in this year? The estimates you have given me suggest
you spent no nights in London that year. However, you say in your
blog of 16 May that "Sometimes,
on the very late week nights I stay in London
you say in your e-mail to me of 4 August that you spend "an
occasional Monday and/or Tuesday evening in London."
b) If you did, as stated, spend some nights in London
in that year, then you will need to adjust your estimates for
nights spent in your main home and in your constituency, so that
the overall number of nights totals 366.
5. For 2008-09:
a) Could you also tell me whether you spent no nights
in London in this year, despite what you say in your blog and
e-mail to me as referred to in 4(a) above?
b) And, as above, if you did spend some nights in
London, you would need to revise your estimates of the number
of nights you spent in your main home and constituency.
6. For 2009-10:
a) Could you tell me your estimate of the number
of nights you have spent in your main home, in your constituency
home and elsewhere (including any nights in London)? You have
not so far provided me with such estimates and it is not possible
to take this information from the Outlook diary which you sent
I would like to make clear ... that I do not propose
to publish the detail in your diaries, but I may need to publish
your estimates of the total number of nights spent in London,
the constituency, your main home and elsewhere in each of the
years in question. The reason I am asking for this information
is that before I come to a view on the complainant's allegation
that you spend "only
spare weekends and holidays" away
from your second home I need to arrive at a reasonable estimate
of the number of nights you have spent in your main and second
If it were possible to provide me with a response
to these questions before Christmas, that would be most helpful
in enabling me to make progress with this inquiry. If there is
any difficulty about this, please let me know.
I am returning your marked-up diaries. I have not
15 December 2009