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

22.  Letter to Rt Hon Andrew Mackay from the Commissioner, 24 March 2010

I last wrote to you on 10 March about this complaint to let you know that I was consulting the Department of Resources on the basis of the information you have given me.

I have now heard back from the Department. I enclose a copy of my letter of 10 March to the Department, and a copy of their response of 17 March.

As you will see, the Department has no record of the discussions you report you had with the then Head of the Fees Office in 1997. They conclude that they have no reason to dissent from the conclusions that Sir Thomas Legg and Sir Paul Kennedy came to that you were not within the rules in claiming second home allowance for your London home.

I attach the conclusions from Sir Thomas Legg's review and Sir Paul Kennedy's determination of your appeal.[189] As you know, Sir Thomas Legg said that the arrangements that you had with your wife meant that you obtained a financial benefit for both of you which appeared unintended under the Green Book rules, "and as such contrary to the principles governing it." Sir Paul Kennedy concluded that you and your wife "lost sight of the purpose of ACA, which was to assist Members to fund the cost of accommodation when they needed a second home in order to fulfil their duties. It was never intended to relieve them of the costs of their main home." Sir Paul Kennedy concluded that "you operated it in such a way as to achieve that result."

I would welcome your comments on the Department of Resources' letter and their conclusion that they have no reason to dissent from the findings of Sir Thomas Legg and Sir Paul Kennedy in relation to whether your claims for your London home were within the rules of the House from April 2004 to March 2009.

I appreciate that we are now coming near to the Dissolution of Parliament, but it would be very helpful if you could let me have a response to this either before Dissolution or as soon as Parliament is re-established. I will wish to continue with this inquiry, with your cooperation, through the new Parliament and hope to bring it to a conclusion before too long.

Thank you again for your help.

24 March 2010

189   WE 15, WE 16 Back

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