Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Three Questions for Jacqui Smith
Guido reckons that although the media has generally not got too excited about Jacqui Smith's second home payments, she is in big trouble. In a temperate post, he explains carefully the parallels with the case of Conservative MP Michael Trend who not only had to repay £90,000 but ended up resigning his seat. Trend had claimed a second home allowance on his constituency home in Windsor, arguing that he spent most of his time in London, staying with a friend. This was not accepted by the authorities. Smith's problem is highlighted by the Ed Balls/Yvette Cooper case, where they argued the direct opposite of Jacqui Smith and their reasoning was accepted.
For Jacqui Smith to get away with arguing that her second home really was her second home, she will have to explain why her children go to school there. Surely they wouldn't qualify if it were a second home.
I wonder if she claims any council tax discount on her "second home" in Redditch. It's normally 25%. If not, it's a clear indication that it is her main residence. So, to conclude, there are three questions which need to be answered...
1. What are the differences between the Jacqui Smith case and that of Michael Trend.
2. How do her kids qualify to go to Redditch schools when Redditch is not the main family home?
3. Does she claim council tax discount on her second home?
UPDATE: A commenter asks a further question. At the last election, which address did Jacqui Smith put on the ballot paper?
UPDATE: A commenter has found that Jacqui Smith is on the electoral roll in Redditch. Anyone know fi she is on the electoral roll in London? No reason why she shouldn't be. But if she isn't...
UPDATE: She is.