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

20.  Letter to Director of Operations, Department of Resources, from the Commissioner, 10 March 2010

I would welcome your advice and comments on a complaint I have received against the Rt Hon Andrew Mackay MP in respect of the identification of his main home for the purpose of his claims against his Additional Costs Allowance.

I attach a copy of the relevant parts of the letters of 23 and 30 October from the complainant, together with the relevant press cuttings which he included. I enclose also a copy of the Registrar's letter of 28 October to which the complainant refers. I attach a copy of Mr Mackay's response of 21 January (which was delayed after Mr Mackay had raised with me his concerns about double jeopardy with Sir Thomas Legg's audit) my response of 26 January; his reply of 12 February; my letter to Mr Mackay of 15 February; and his response of 8 March.

In essence, the complaint is that Mr Mackay wrongly identified his main home for the purposes of claims against his Additional Costs Allowance, contrary to the rules of the House. I have taken the period of the complaint to cover the financial years from 2004-05 to 2008-09 inclusive.

I would welcome your comments and advice on this matter. In particular, it would be helpful if you could advise me on the discussion which Mr Mackay reports he had with the then Head of the Fees Office in September 1997: it would be helpful to have any written records relating to Mr Mackay's discussions of his and his wife's circumstances at that time. It would also be helpful to know whether the Department at any other time gave any consideration to the arrangements under which Mr Mackay claimed for his second home in London, taking account of the claims which Ms Julie Kirkbride MP was making for her second home in her constituency.

Finally, I would welcome your views on whether, in all the circumstances, you consider that Mr Mackay was within the rules in claiming second home allowance for his London home. Any other points you may wish to make to help me with this inquiry would, of course, be very welcome.

I would be very grateful if it were possible to let me have a response to this letter within the next three weeks. Thank you for your help.

10 March 2010

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