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