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

41.  Letter to the former Head of the Fees Office from the Commissioner, 3 August 2010

When I wrote to you on 21 July, I said that I was copying your letter of 18 July to Mr Mackay in case he wanted to comment on it further.

I have now heard back from Mr Mackay. Mr Mackay has written in respect of your response as follows: "I am pleased that he now understands the date we moved into [the Bromsgrove property] which means, not surprisingly given the passage of time, that his recollection was incorrect. I also note that he thinks 'perhaps the word "retrospectively" be deleted'.

"I have a very clear recollection of the advice he gave me in September 1997 and that is precisely why my first reaction was to ring him on that crucial day in May 2009. I note you only sent him an extract from my e-mail of 13 July. If that did not include the paragraph concerning the evidence of the Director of Strategic Projects I believe this might have affected answer b) [from the former Head of the Fees Office]."

In respect of the e-mail of 13 July from Mr Mackay to which he refers, that quoted part of a letter from the Director of Strategic Projects in the Department of Resources. The full relevant quotation is:

"I am afraid that we have not been able to discover any records which would cast light on Mr Mackay's discussions with the then head of the Fees Office in 1997 (that official retired in 1998). Nor do we have any records which indicate that any later consideration was given within the Department to the elections which Mr Mackay and Ms Kirkbride made as to their main and additional homes.

"The Department was 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."

In view of the statement in Mr Mackay's e-mail to me of 2 August, I would be grateful to know whether the evidence from the Director of Strategic Projects which I have quoted above in any way causes you to modify your answer at b) in your letter of 18 July, namely the section headed "Reference to the Press Reports of 2009" and indeed any other part of your evidence. Any other final points you may wish to make would be very welcome.

I attach a typed copy of the manuscript letter you sent me on 18 July and a copy of the full e-mail of 13 July from Mr Mackay for convenience. I would be very grateful if you could let me have a response to this letter within the next week so that I can conclude my work on this inquiry. I am most grateful for your continued help.

3 August 2010

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