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

24.  Letter to Rt Hon Andrew Mackay from the Commissioner, 29 March 2010

Thank you for your letter of 25 March responding to mine of 24 March with the advice from the Department of Resources.

I was most grateful for this prompt response. To resolve the complaint against you, the issue I have to decide is whether you were in breach of the rules of the House in the identification of the property near Bromsgrove as your main home. If I were to submit the matter to the Committee on Standards and Privileges, it would need to decide whether it accepts my conclusions and, if so, what, if any, action to take. The consideration of complaints and the consideration of what, if any, penalty is appropriate for a Member who has breached the rules are solely matters for the complaints process. They cannot be resolved by the audit of Members' expenses.

I have taken it from your letter that you do not accept that you were in breach of the rules of the House in identifying the Bromsgrove property as your main home and, therefore, making claims on your London property. While I have so far considered separately the complaint against you and the complaint against your wife, Ms Julie Kirkbride MP, I believe it will be necessary for me to come to a view on the propriety of the identification of your main home before I can come to a conclusion on the complaint against Ms Julie Kirkbride. This is because, if I were to find that the property in her constituency was indeed your main home, then I would need to consider whether she was acting within the rules in claiming for the mortgage interest on the additional mortgage taken out in order to build an extension to that home.

I will, therefore, need to explore with you why, despite the findings of the audit and the outcome of the appeal against the decisions from that audit, you consider that the identification of your main home was within the rules of the House. I think that this may best be achieved by our meeting so that I can take oral evidence from you on this matter. I am, therefore, asking my office to get in touch with yours to arrange a suitable date. I will write to you in advance of our meeting to let you know a little more about the procedure for such an interview and the main areas I suggest we cover. I look forward to meeting you to take your views on these matters.

29 March 2010

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