Nadine Dorries - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents

63.  Letter to Ms Nadine Dorries MP from the Commissioner, 8 July 2010

Thank you for your letter of 6 July responding to my letter to you of 28 June, and for your e-mail of 7 July.[239] I have noted, too, your manuscript side comments in the letter.

As you know, I have written to you separately to apologise for having omitted from the schedule I sent you on 28 June the evidence from one witness and to give you a revision of that schedule. Evidence from the other witness [Cotswold neighbour] was already included in the schedule I sent you on 28 June identified as your Cotswold neighbour in the summary. It appears as the first entry in the section "Evidence from third parties". I do not believe the revised summary makes a material difference to the response you have sent me, but if you think otherwise, please let me have any additional comments you may wish to make.

In your letter you asked in what way your Cotswold neighbour's ... evidence is different from your own. The summary (page 5) says that your Cotswold neighbour "has in some respects a different pattern of nights in her Cotswold home from the pattern offered by Ms Dorries." Both patterns are included in the summary, on pages 2 and 3-4 respectively. The different is apparent from those. For example, you say that you spent Monday nights either "often" in your Cotswold home (your letter of 1 March 2010) or on "the odd occasion" (your letter of 15 June 2010). Your neighbour says you spent your Monday nights "usually" in [the constituency], but "sometimes" in the Cotswolds. For Wednesday nights, you have said in both letters that you spent these nights in [the constituency]. Your neighbour says that you spend Wednesday nights "usually" in [the constituency] but sometimes in the Cotswolds. These are the differences to which I was referring.

In response to your first point on where you spent your weekends, I know that there have been a number of statements on your blog. The blog itself seems now to have been taken down. I enclose however some references from your blog and your maiden speech in May 2005 where you refer to your constituency as your home. I believe that these references make clear your position, but if you wished to add or clarify anything in relation to these or any other statements on your blog, please do so.

I have noted the comment in paragraph 4 of your e-mail of 7 July.

I was grateful for the responses you gave me to the four points of resolution which I set out at the end of the schedule. I believe you have answered the first and second of my points, for which I was most grateful. You have partially answered the third point, but have not confirmed for me whether the figures you gave me in your letter of 25 January should be accepted as the best numerical assessments you can make of your overnight stays in each of the relevant years. I would be most grateful if you could confirm this.

In relation to your statement that you rented the house in your constituency in April 2007, I should point out that, according to the Department's letter of 11 May 2010, you submitted a claim for the first set of costs for [first constituency address] on 25 January 2007 and that the claim and the lease shows you "occupied" the property from 1 February 2007. It seems from your evidence in your letter of 25 May that, because of the need to furnish it, you did not immediately occupy the property, and that it took two months for you to do so. This suggests that you rented the property from 1 February 2007 but did not occupy it until April 2007 for the reason you have given. It is important that I do get these dates right and so I would be grateful if, having refreshed your memory, you could confirm these timings or provide evidence to suggest they need revising.

You have not offered me an answer to my final question, which was why the estimate you gave me on 25 January 2010 of the number of nights spent in your constituency home 2009-10 is much smaller than the number one might predict from your pattern of use of that home and the sitting patterns of the House. If you could let me have a response to this question, I would be most grateful.

I turn now to your response to the evidence from the final witness. I consider that I will need to put your response to that witness. I believe I can do so in a way which enables him to see and if necessary respond to your comments without repeating some of the personal comments which you make about him. I attach a copy of the extract from your letter which I am putting to him.[240] I should say that his evidence is one among a number of witnesses and I will need to weigh all the evidence, including that which you have given me.

You ask about giving evidence to the Committee. That is a matter, of course, for the Committee itself and you may wish to seek advice on this from the Committee Clerk, perhaps when you have seen the full memorandum which the Clerk will send to you before the Committee considers this matter. My understanding, however, is that it is open to a Member to ask to give written or oral evidence to the Committee if they so wish.

Finally if you could let me have a response to this letter within two weeks, that should just leave any reply from the final witness about the allegations you have made about him, before I will be able to bring this inquiry to a conclusion and start to prepare my draft memorandum. Thank you for your help.

8 July 2010

239   Not included in the written evidence. In this e-mail Ms Dorries asked in what way her Cotswold neighbour's evidence differed from her own.  Back

240   Extract from Ms Dorries' letter of 6 July 2010 (WE 62), not included in the written evidence. Back

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