Nadine Dorries - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents

67.  Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Nadine Dorries MP, 12 July 2010

With regard to your comments re my maiden speech and the comments on my blog;

My maiden speech was made in June 2005. I took a constituency house in 2007. However, as I stated on another occasion, my second home may only be a second home, however, it is a home. It would be pretty odd to describe somewhere as "a place I now call my second home" even if I had been living there at the time I made the speech. Mid Bedfordshire is, metaphorically speaking, one of my homes. I have to say that I find this a rather spurious point to raise?

I often made comments on my blog in order to deliberately give the impression that I lived in the constituency. Because I didn't in fact live in the constituency, I probably went over the top. I was always very worried about people finding out that I lived in the Cotswolds and deliberately put up smoke and mirrors to prevent this happening. My daughters had already told me that there was absolutely no way they were going to move and my youngest daughter was particularly upset at the prospect, it was very difficult. I also mention in the blog that I was not going to disclose where I lived. This was also part of my intention to conceal my main home.

In the blog, I state I am in the constituency at weekends. I often am. That does not mean I sleep there. I am there on Friday and Saturday this weekend. I will finish on Friday at 6pm and be in my main home by 7.20 and Saturday at 3pm and be home by 4.20.

My predecessor visited Mid Bedfordshire about once every two months, it was an issue of much consternation with many members of my Association. My comments were to re assure them of my personal commitment to Mid Beds. It was my attempt to retain some degree of a private life.

[My Cotswold neighbour] worked for me for three days a week. I doubt he kept a diary. I think that both his and my estimates are more or less accurate, I was away most week nights when Parliament sat. Neither of us can be specific.

[material relating to other matters]

... [The quote from the blog] was the most accurate and substantiates my position.

I do not believe you should be writing to [neighbour 1] and disagree with your letter.

I maintain that having been approached by the Telegraph and having been asked by a Telegraph journalist to write to you, [neighbour 1's]evidence must have been influenced, it could not [but] have been.

To my knowledge, no other evidence from any neighbour concurs with that of [neighbour 1].

[Neighbour 1] has stated that he does not want to be a witness.

[Neighbour 1] lives in France for most of the year.

The contents of [neighbour 1's] submission have already been printed in the Daily Telegraph thereby influencing both yourself and the committee.

There is absolutely no way in any court of law evidence would be accepted which had been encouraged, influenced and then printed by the media.

I feel very strongly about this. The question, with regard to whether he was paid is also relevant, a point [neighbour 1] is unlikely to confirm. The Daily Telegraph would not have had a story if they hadn't persuaded him to write you.

I understand the principle in law that if a journalist is in pursuit of the truth then exceptions apply; however, I do not believe that this applies if the story is printed in advance of a case being heard.

I have checked my dates and claims and it was April 2007 when I began to use the constituency house, or thereabouts. I can't remember exactly to the day how long it took me to get a bed, cooker etc in, however, it was around 8 weeks.

With regard to the 2009-2010 estimate sent to you on the 25th of January, the total number of nights was 300. I assume this is because I could only say how many I had spent so far at the time I wrote? If so, then the normal approximate pattern would apply. However, later in 2009, I had an additional problem with regard to [family circumstances] and had to travel back home ... The autumn of 2009 was unusual.

[material redacted to protect the privacy of third parties]

I sincerely hope that this issue will be concluded before the House rises. It would be entirely unacceptable if this were to drag on over the summer recess due to [neighbour 1], whose evidence, in my opinion should not even be considered.

12 July 2010

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