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

35.  E-mail to the Commissioner from Rt Hon Andrew Mackay, 13 July 2010

Thank you for your response of 6th July. We moved into [the Bromsgrove property] immediately on legal completion which as I recall was in September 1997 but this can be confirmed in the Land Registry records as I no longer have the paperwork.

I do not wish to modify in any way my clear recollection of the discussion in light of what [the former Head of the Fees Office] has told you. However I would comment that there is only one clear factual disagreement. In the telephone call of May 2009, I vigorously dispute that I asked for "retrospective" authority but instead asked him to confirm my very clear recollection of our conversation in September 1997.

I believe I have confirmed that [the official's] recollection was mistaken in terms of when we purchased [the Bromsgrove property].

[The former Head of the Fees Office] states: "I cannot imagine that they would have different main homes". Whilst this is contrary to his advice to me in September 1997, I do accept—as he said to me during our telephone conversation in May 2009—that after such a passage of time he could no longer recall the details of our case. It could well be that now after lurid press reports of our case this is the view he holds today.

Finally, in respect of the transparency issue, I refer to the evidence of the Director of Strategic Projects who informed you that "the Department were certainly aware of the arrangements in the sense that both Mr MacKay and Ms Kirkbride made their declarations openly. I think that it is reasonable for Mr MacKay to have inferred from this that the Department had no difficulty with the arrangements".

Please let me know if I can be of any further help.

13 July 2010

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