Mr Andrew Mackay and Ms Julie Kirkbride - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents

3.  Extract from article in the Birmingham Post, 25 May 2009

Calls grow for Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride to resign

Pressure is mounting on Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride to resign after it was revealed that her brother was allowed to live rent-free at her taxpayer-funded home in Worcestershire.

The Conservative Member and her husband have already been criticised for both claiming for different second homes—despite sharing properties.

But calls for her to follow Andrew MacKay out of office grew when it was claimed that her 59-year-old brother, Ian Kirkbride, had been listed on the electoral register as living at their home since 2004. He had also registered a business at the property's address.  

Conservative Party leader David Cameron said that Ms Kirkbride had questions to answer but said her case was different to that of her husband.

"Julie does live in London, that's where her son goes to school and she does have a genuine constituency home in Worcestershire," he said. "She will have to answer those questions but I do think the two cases are quite different."

Party sources said Ms Kirkbride did not appear to have broken any rules, although her claims would be scrutinised internally, in common with those of all Conservative MPs.

Ms Kirkbride claimed that her brother had stayed at her home to provide childcare and said she could not cope without his help. He has been living at the couple's apartment ... near Bromsgrove, and was registered on the electoral roll as far back as 2004.

Under House of Commons rules, only an MP's spouses and children are supposed to share the second home.

Last June, Ms Kirkbride wrote to Parliament's Fees Office telling them she had been forced to extend the apartment "accommodating the needs of our growing family."

Bracknell MP Mr MacKay said on Saturday that he would leave Parliament at the next general election. He claimed a second homes allowance on the couple's London flat, which Ms Kirkbride declared as her main residence so that she could claim expenses on their Bromsgrove residence. This meant the taxpayer was effectively subsidising both of their homes.


Ms Kirkbride released a statement which said her brother stayed at both homes but insisted that she had nothing to apologise for. "I claim no expenses for my brother, neither do I pay him or claim for his help. He also acts as a volunteer in helping me with my office work and administration," said the statement.

"Up and down the country, families have relatives stay and get them to help with things like child care. There is no cost to the taxpayer in the arrangement and nothing for me to apologise for. To describe this as my brother living rent-free is a total distortion."

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