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

78.  Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Julie Kirkbride, 26 May 2010

I write to acknowledge receipt of your letters of the 29th March and the 18th May 2010.

Can I begin by saying that I was particularly pleased by your letter of the 29th March in which you enclosed a response from the Fees Office to the allegations made against me. It seemed to me that the thoughtful and sympathetic reply from [the Director of Strategic Projects] entirely vindicates my position and even draws attention to the fact that my brother's help for me as a Member of Parliament actually saved the taxpayer money!

Turning now to your recent letter of the 18th May in which you ask about the claims made about my brother by an unnamed "gardener" in the News of the World. I would begin by pointing out that the property, [address], is described as a "country estate" in the article—with the connotation that there are a team of gardeners managing extensive grounds—when in fact it is a large old house, divided into flats, surrounded by a not very large garden. Moreover, the fact that the "gardener" is unnamed would suggest to me that the quote is made up. I am sure that in the course of your other inquiries you will have come across situations in which reports in newspaper articles have been found to be not entirely accurate, or even true.

The position with regard to gardening at [address] is that the bulk of it is done by the residents in order to keep the service charge as low as possible. A contract does exist for the cutting of the grass when necessary, but even I, as a resident, am not aware of a recognisable "gardener" figure.

As such, I cannot help your inquiries any further.

26 May 2010

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