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

37.  Letter to the Commissioner from the former Head of the Fees Office, 18 July 2010

Thank you for your letter of 14 July including comments by Andrew Mackay on my evidence to you of 18 June.

My comments thereon are as follows:

a) Phone call of May 2009

My inference of Mr Mackay's call was that he sought reassurance in 2009 of my advice to him of Sept 1997 and any authoritative letter I may have retained since that date—a period of 11 years plus and hence "retrospective".

b) Reference to the press reports of 2009

The implication here is that I could have changed my views by being swayed by the criticism in the Press shows how little he knows me. I have only ever given advice to MPs based on the facts as presented to me, the authenticity of those facts and how they were to be used in line with Resolutions of the House and the rules for allowances appertaining at the time of any claim. ACA was one of the easiest, clear-cut allowances to be administered by the Fees Office during previous decades to the current one.

c) Residence at [the Bromsgrove property]

It appears that the critical date here is indeed September 1997 which should, therefore, be the commencement date of Andrew Mackay's claims for ACA expenditure incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily on the Westminster home (on overnight stays away from the main home in Miss Kirkbride's constituency of Bromsgrove). These would have been the first time Andrew Mackay claimed for London expenditure having previously stated that his main home was Westminster—a memorable date in my view.

This would also mean that from the same date Miss Kirkbride should have claimed ACA for London as her main home was in her constituency.

As stated in my earlier evidence I only spoke to Miss Kirkbride on 2 June 1997—her induction interview—some three months before [the Bromsgrove property] was ever mentioned.

As you can see from the above my earlier evidence does not need to be changed except, perhaps, for the deletion of the word "retrospectively".

In which case Andrew Mackay and I differ as to the advice I provided in 1997. If you do need any more information please do not hesitate to contact me.

18 July 2010

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