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

55.  Letter to Rt Hon Andrew Mackay from the Commissioner, 8 September 2010

Thank you for your two e-mails of 13 August responding to my letters to you of 3 and 12 August.

I was grateful for these responses. As you will know from the e-mail from my office of 20 August, I asked that parts of each of your e-mails should be copied respectively to the former Head of the Fees Office and to the Department of Resources.

I have now heard back both from the former Head of the Fees Office and from the Department of Resources.

I enclose a copy of my letter to the Department of Resources of 12 August, my office's letter to the Department of 20 August, and their response of 24 August. I enclose also a copy of my letter of 2 September to the Department clarifying one point in their evidence, and their response of 6 September.

As you will see, for the reasons he gives, the Director of Strategic Projects has concluded that the evidence from the then Head of the Fees Office has not caused him to change his original conclusions that it was reasonable for you to have inferred that the Department had no difficulty with your arrangements.

You will see, too, from the responses of the Department of Resources, that your statement is not fully accurate that from "that year" (by which I take it to mean 1997) and subsequently your second homes were put on each claim form and that you and your wife would each have signed claim forms designating your main and second homes. It would appear that this became a requirement in 2003. Before that, Members would have identified their second home on their nomination form, but they were not required to give the addresses of their main or second home on each of their regular claim forms. So it seems that it would not have been immediately apparent from the claim forms that you were making claims for your second home on a property that was also your wife's main home.

I attach also a copy of my office's letter of 20 August to the former Head of the Fees Office identifying the evidence you gave me on 13 August and 6 July about your telephone conversation with that official in May 2009. I enclose also a signed transcript of that official's response of 29 August. And I enclose a copy of my response to him of 2 September.

I would welcome any comments you may wish still to make on the enclosed correspondence. Subject to that, I believe that I have concluded this inquiry. As soon as I hear from you—which I would hope might be within the next week—I will complete work on the factual sections of the draft memorandum inasmuch as they relate to the complaint against you (as you know the memorandum is also covering the complaint against Ms Julie Kirkbride) and will let you have a copy of the relevant sections so that you can comment if necessary on their factual accuracy. I would then add my conclusions to the memorandum and submit the full memorandum to the Committee on Standards and Privileges. The Clerk to the Committee would let you have a copy of the memorandum so that you can comment, if necessary, on it in advance of it being considered by the Committee.

I am most grateful for your help on this matter and look forward to your response to this letter within the next week so that I can conclude work on this inquiry.

8 September 2010

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