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

14.  Letter to Rt Hon Andrew Mackay from the Commissioner, 26 January 2010

Thank you for your letter of 21 January responding to the letter which I sent you on 5 November, about this complaint in respect of the identification of your main home for the purposes of your claims against the Additional Costs Allowance.

I was grateful to receive this response. It would be very helpful if you could help me on the following points which arise from this information:

1. Do you have any documentary or other evidence to substantiate the estimates you have made of the number of nights you spent in various locations in 2009?

2. Could you give me a little more detail about how you fitted your parliamentary duties into your family life? It has been suggested from press reports that your son is at school in London. It would be helpful to know: whether you have dependent children who live with you; how that operates in terms of how you allocate your time between your two homes; and whether, in the light of your professional responsibilities, your living arrangements are significantly different from those of your wife. In particular, it would be helpful if you could explain how your main home is in Bromsgrove while your wife's appears to be in London. I appreciate that these are personal questions and I would not ask them unless I considered it necessary for me to resolve satisfactorily this inquiry.

3. Could you let me know the dates of the contacts you had with the then Head of the Fees Office? You report that your arrangement was put on file in the Fees Office. It would be helpful if you had any documents relating to the advice you sought from the then Head of the Fees Office and to the filed document to which you refer.

4. Could you clarify my understanding of your answer to point 5, where you say that you did not inform the Fees Office that you were sharing a property with another Member, who was your wife? I am finding it difficult to reconcile that with the implication in point 1 of your initial comments, where you report that you told the then Head of the Fees Office that you jointly owned your two properties.

5. Could you let me know, as requested in my letter of 5 November, whether you claimed from your ACA for the full mortgage interest on your second home in London? If you did not, what proportion of that interest was represented by your claims?

If you could let me have a response to this within the next two weeks, I would be most grateful. If there is any difficulty about this, do let me know. Subject to your response, I would propose to consult the Department of Resources. I would then be back in touch to show you their advice, and it may be that we should meet for an interview at that point so that I can resolve this matter.

26 January 2010

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