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.

78 comments:

an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Mr Dale,

Sorry, but didn't the Ball's claim their constituency property to be their main home, but the children go to London schools, ie based from the second home, as do Smiths if she claims the constituency house as being her second home?

Complicated this, isn't it?

an ex-apprentice said...

A PhD in nuclear physics would appear to be the minimum qualification for understanding some of these expenses, either that or a natural inclination towards the decidedly bent.

The point behind my last comment being: if both sets of children go to school based from what is claimed as the second home, and the Ball's have already been cleared on that basis, what is the relevance of your question 2?

Not a sheep said...

She's a Labour Minister and therefore will not be subject to any punishment at all; they are the masters now.

Hercules said...

Can the HMRC attack dogs be unleashed? Did Smith pay rent, did her sister declare it? If she didn't pay rent, is she in receipt of a gift of over £100k over a period of years, is there a tax implication? Presumably there is a VAT liability somewhere in the can of worms of primary and secondary offices.

The Penguin said...

She's not that bright, poor Jacqui. She'd have been quids in if she'd actually bought a place in London in 1997.

She's also useless at the job, see reports in the newpapers over failure to deport illegal aliens, wasn't this what Jug Ears was chucked out for?

The Penguin

Mr Mr said...

If her Redditch house is a second home then any sale will be subject to captial gains tax for the period that it was a second home. This could be a considerable amount as it was during Gordon's boom, although his bust will now be reducing her tax burden somewhat.

Council tax rebate is up to the local council, where I live, there is no rebate on second homes.

Steve Cheshire said...

Apologies if I am wrong. At the time of the last general election wouldn't she have had to provide details of her main residence that then appears on the ballot papers?

I am willing to be that the address that appeared on the ballot papers is the one in her constituancy.

Mr Mr said...

On Jacqui's website it states.

"She still lives in Redditch with husband, Richard and sons James (13) and Michael (8)."


Jacqui Smith biography.

Mwmbwls said...

Being an MP is in essence a temporary job. No MP has an indefinite right to be an MP,their tenure being determined by the electorate why not change the rules so that all London residences of MPs representing seats outside the capital be treated as their second homes,(eligible for allowances but subject to Capital Gains Tax on disposal etc.)MPs representing seats in the capital should not be eligible for the second home allowance.

peterbotting said...

well found Mr Mr!!

Alex said...

The answer to the first question is that the rules changed in 2004 to allow it.

Dennis said...

@Hercules

Unless her sister declared the full amount, she's toast. If she declared only some of it, then Jacqui has trousered the rest. If she declared none of it, they're both done for.

Could the fact that Sara Smith works for the BBC as a reporter have some bearing on that corporation's reticence in covering this story? I ask this because the BBC is usually so impartial and fearless in exposing the wrongdoings and incompetence of the deadbeats who have set themselves up as our masters.

/irony

seebag said...

It's pure Alice In Wonderland - rules and words just mean whatever Jacqui wants them to mean at any particular time.

pete-s said...

The rules for expenses are set by committee made up of MPs. They have not interest in shi***ng in the trough. Until this group of 650, finally admit the the public hold them in such low esteem, nothing will happen.

Lord Mandelbottom of Marrakech said...

Darling Iain...

I hate to say this of my beloved friend Jacqui, but I fear both you and Mr Guido have hit the nail on the head.

Of course she will have to be shamed into goings, not least because Gordy will be pressing her to stay (who else would take on the poison chalice of Home Secretary in the current climate?).

To answer your questions:

1. None
2. They do, and it is
3. Not even Jacqui would be that grabbing, would she?

Much Love

Mandy
xx

Twig said...

Mr Mr said...
Council tax rebate is up to the local council, where I live, there is no rebate on second homes.


Iain meant that if only one adult lives in a property, they will get a 25% discount on the council tax bill. Anyone below age 17 is not counted for Council Tax purposes.

This is different from the second home discount.

Roger Thornhill said...

Jaiquacky Smith is a bare-faced hypocrite.

Rule of Law? Forget it if she can make a wedge.

Would her sister allow A.N.Other to lodge at her place? I suspect not.


Home Secretary? FAIL.

albertmbankment said...

I note that Labourlist - (it's okay, everyone. I washed my hands after logging off the page!) - seems to be excusing "Jacquay-y-y-y" Smith's blatantly grubby financial arrangements, by saying that one of the organisations questioning her morality was a Conservative front for Guido.

Well, who the f-f-f-f-flip cares? I don't really care if this sort of hypocrisy (by either or any party's politicians) is exposed by an unholy alliance of Kim Jong Il and the BNP. It's wrong because it's wrong because it's wrong. And, furthermore, Guido has been as merciless in his hounding of grubby Tories and grubby LibDems as grubby "Socialists".

So, roll out the tumbrils. Erect a pillory on College Green - although one would be insufficient. Let's all have the opportunity to throw our kitchen slops at these shabby scoundrels.

Jacquay-y-y-y, I despise you.

JoeF said...

Whatever the rights and wrongs in terms of the letter of the law, it is definitely morally wrong and against any principle of expenses.

If I did something similar in any previous job, I would have had to pay the money back, and maybe been sacked.

Also not much credibility criticising bank employees for getting their contractual and performance bonuses and then this...

Mostly Ordinary said...

I don't understand this either, when I worked for a few years in Kuwait my family stayed here and I flew back for a week once a month.

My kids never came with me and my wife stayed at home. I had two houses, once paid by the company I worked for.

Surely the real issue here isn't one person playing the system it's that all MPs play the system?

There are MPs that live less than an hours commute away from London claiming a second house. They buy them with our money and sell them for their profit. It's time the State housed MPs in London.

Shamik said...

Sadly, I think it'll take more than a new Home Secretary to turn things around.

A new leader and new Chancellor for a start!

metabourke said...

I would love to see Jacqui Smith out of office, but we should keep the focus on the issue of her main residence. Don't bring the family into this. Presumably the kids qualify to go to the local school because they and their father have their main residence in Redditch.

Must a married couple be considered to have the same 'main' residence? That would not be in keeping with modern times.

If she can demonstrate that her digs at her sister's were her main residence then she's in the clear on the issue of parliamentary expenses.

Can she put forward a convincing case? Probably not. Will a big issue be made about it in Parliament. Probably not - they're all at it. When are their expenses due to be made public?

Childprotector said...

Mr Mr (9.10) has a point, but the CGT liability only applies where there is more than one owned residence - in this case, she is simply a lodger in her sister's house in London.

Oliver Drew said...

@Mostly Ordinary - yeah, in the Tower!

I find it difficult to believe that she will survive this - but then I don't think that the press are hooking into this like they did, for example, when it was Mandelson.

Still think that what she's done is morally, ethically, and probably legally, wrong and if I was her, I would've resigned out of shame by now - but then I probably have higher ethical standards.

Oliver Drew said...

One more thing - surely if she is a lodger she doesn't have a second home? Or is this a complication of the rules?

Raedwald said...

@ albertembankment;

"So, roll out the tumbrils. Erect a pillory on College Green - although one would be insufficient. Let's all have the opportunity to throw our kitchen slops at these shabby scoundrels."

Sorry, this is now illegal. It's an offence to dispose of catering waste (including waste from domestic kitchens where animal derived fats or oils, or any meat, has been used) on land where it may be accessed by any ruminant animal, pig or bird (including wild birds).[Animal By Products Regulations]

In short, with a herd of over 600 prime pigs in the vicinity, this would breach the terms of the Swill Ban.

strapworld said...

I believe we should erect a tent 'city' in Hyde Park for the exclusive use of Members of Parliament - segregated of course.

Premier Tents for members of the Government.
Superior Tents for members of the Governing Party.
Posh Tents for members of the official opposition.
Green Tents for the Liberal Democrats and, lastly, Cheap Tents for the rest!

Porta Loo's with heated seats (inclement weather) placed outside every other tent.

Let us all accept that most Members of Parliament in all parties are at it! You have only got to look at their style of dress when elected, including hair, makeup etc, and now!

Some do not change. That rather large labour lady with the Golden Locks, which looks very much like a High Court Judge's wig, is very much in need of a GOK job (NOT, please the Naked job!)

Colin said...

What depresses me most of all is the abject silence (so far) of the Tories on this episode. Then again I suppose the old maxim of "people in glass houses" applies.

not an economist said...

Maybe I have lost the plot on all this but I do wish we could concentrate on actual policy rather than MP's expenses and sleaze.

Andy said...

OT, but may I recommend George Monbiots demolition of Hazel Blears ( and Nulab in toto) in todays Guardian?

Mr Mr said...

Go to

Search For People

Search, Jacqueline Smith Redditch

The result includes in the 2008-2009 electoral roll one Jacqueline Smith age 45 to 49 other occupant RICHARD J TIMNEY(her letter writing husband). So it seems that Jacquie regards her house in Redditch as her first home, only when it comes to claiming expenses for it, does it become a second home.

It also seems they may have had lodegers of their own sometime between 2002 and 2007

Gareth said...

UPDATE: A commenter asks a further question. At the last election, which address did Jacqui Smith put on the ballot paper?

Given the incidences of voting irregularities these days, perhaps she voted twice.

Elby the Beserk said...

There is also the fact that in choosing to give up the grace and favour accommodation to live with her sister (thereby filling both their pockets), she costs the taxpayer an extra £200,000 per annum.

Should not the prime factor in defining where MPs live when in London be taxpayer value? Rather than the best returns for the person involved?

albertmbankment said...

Raedwald @ 10.13

Oh dear. You are quite right, of course. I am utterly shamed by my irresponsible oversight. I will now wander off and, as they say, consider my position.

Could somebody please ask the under-butler to bring a bottle of malt and my service revolver to me in the library.

[See, Jacquay-y-y-y, that's the way to do it, with the calm dignity to which you can only aspire]

trevorsden said...

Metabourke --
You say -
"Must a married couple be considered to have the same 'main' residence? That would not be in keeping with modern times"

What contempt this remake has for the concept of a decent honest traditional marriage - Of course a married couple can only have one main residence.

But this misses the whole point of the scam.
The plain fact is that Smiths ONLY extra expense is paying the rent for using her sisters spare room.
That cost should be £100 per week or £5200 a year.
All of this is fair doos.
Although the extra cost of policing this when she could have had a grace and favour flat costing the taxpayer nothing in rent and policing is another matter entirely.

But no - instead of claiming say some six grand legitimately she has been claiming £24k a year !!!
In other words defrauding the taxpayer of £18,000 a year.

This is criminal activity from the "Second Home" Secretary* !

Can any defender of Smith explain how a spare room in her sisters house can be considered a 'main residence' ??

Well???

Right or Wrong 'technically' Smith has absolutely NO moral authority to isue a single law or directive telling us, ordering us, what to do. She is morally bankrupt - indeed an apt and living metaphor for this appalling government.

* a great turn of phrase from Littlejohn (inevitably)

Eddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eddie said...

Sorry, previous post missed the bold highlight that I intended for the salient points...

Iain, I would like to highlight several aspects to this claim that raise issues which should be investigated…

1.The Green Book on Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions published in April 2005 sets out the purpose of the Additional Costs Allowance in paragraph 3.1.1 as follows:
"The additional costs allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence.

2. Eligibility for the Additional Costs Allowance is set out in paragraph 3.2.1 (C) as follows:
"You have necessarily incurred additional costs in so doing,"

3.The Green Book 3.9.1 identifies the main home as follows:
The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home , your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other.

4. Paragraph 3.9.1 of an earlier (2003) Green Book stated:
"If you are a Minister or office holder (see definition in section 4 of the London Supplement) then your main home is deemed to be in London. Unless you are provided with an official residence, you will receive London supplement with your salary, and you may be eligible to claim ACA in the constituency."

However, this rule changed in 2004 and, as quoted in the Fourteenth Special Report (into the Ed Balls, and Yvette Cooper expenses enquiry)
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmstnprv/1044/104404.htm#a2
14. ..."A letter was sent to all Ministers and office holders from the then Director of Operations at the Department of Finance and Administration dated 26 February 2004 which stated that the restriction which deemed Ministers to have their main home in London had now been removed and that in future the Additional Costs Allowance rules would be the same for all Members."

3.9.1 of the Green Book currently states :
"It is your responsibility to tell us if your main home changes."

5. At 15, of the Balls/Cooper enquiry it is tated:
"You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. Members should bear in mind the need to obtain value for money from accommodation, goods or services funded from the allowances."

These points, taken together suggest that it is relevant as to when Jaqui Smith obtained advice from the Fees Office.

She has been a Minister from 2001, at that time the rule was Ministers had to declare the London home as the main home - is this when she took advice?

However, as can be seen above, the rules changed, and she is responsible for abiding by the rules, and so should have reviewed her circumstances in the light of the changed rules - advice given by the Fees Office before the rule change would no longer be valid.
She is currently hiding behind the fact that she took advice, but has not disclosed when that advice was taken.

Furthermore, the rules are clear as set out in my notes 1 and 2 above, the ACA is for "Additional costs" incurred "wholly, exclusively and necessarily". If the costs claimed of running the only family home (her declared second home for ACA), were greater than the lodging costs with her sister, the expenses do not meet the test of "Additional Costs" or "wholly, exclusively and necessarily".

We will find out when the expenses are published under the FOI exactly what was claimed for.

Jaqui Smith has claimed that she pays her sister more than a peppercorn rent, however if she pays more than £4,250 (the figure allowed tax free under the rent a room) her sister would need to declare it for tax. We will not know whether this is the case - but hopefully HMRC are looking at the tax returns now.

zeno said...

Eddie - it would be nice to think that HMRC is on the case, diligently seeking wrongdoing, but I doubt it.

This isn't just the cynicism that always accompanies the consideration of politicians' affairs. It's the more basic observation that the HMRC is skint.

Did you get a letter last year telling you not to bother submitting a tax form? I know quite a few people who did, as did I. At the time I wondered if this was a dramatic attempt to cut costs. Now I'm sure it is - a friend who runs a small business and is owed a rebate was told by HMRC that, as they hadn't got any money, they couldn't tell him when it would be paid back.

So the chances of a crack team of HMRC's finest being assigned to the case is between zero and nothing, I'd think.

Mr Mr said...

As to your last question Iain, is Jackie smith on the electoral roll in London at her sister's house.

Do the same as before go to

Search For People

This time search for Jacqueline j Smith (to cut down the number of results) London.

The 2007-2008 electoral roll lists Jaquelne J Smith (this time age band 40-44 she's getting younger) other occupants SARA K SMITH (her sister) plus one male.

I thought that we were only allowed one vote in this country, How can it be that Jackie has two?

iCowboy said...

Iain, aren't you going to step in and save plucky Hazel from the terrific monstering she's getting over on the Guardian?

Iain Dale said...

Believe it or not, in local elections I think you are allowed to vote in two different places,so she's quite in order to be on the roll in 2 places. You can't do it in general or european elections, though.

Thatsnews said...

This is an interesting take on it. I have linked it to my site, That's News. hope you don't mind, Iain!

I do not do many political stories there, but this is very important.

Thatsnews said...

And to add to the fun here is the link to the link

The link to the link

Simon Gardner said...

Mr Mr said... “I thought that we were only allowed one vote in this country, How can it be that Jackie has two?”

You thought wrong. AFAIK if you effectively and genuinely live in two places (like students*, MPs etc) you can and should be registered to vote in two places.

• You can vote in local elections in both places.
• You can vote in by-elections in both places.
• You can vote in general elections in either place but not both places at one GE.
• You can vote in Euro-elections** in either of two (or more) countries you are resident/registered (or indeed stand - cf David Steel).

I hope this info is up to date. (I’ve left out the Republic of Ireland anomaly.)


*Students particularly are frequently chased like mad by local political parties to vote in whichever is a marginal (where their vote might actually matter).

**If you ever have cause to use an electoral roll, you will find loads of foreigners (and a few peers) who are registered to vote in Euro-elections only.

brimoy said...

WHAT does jacqui Smiths HOUSE HUSBAND do for £40,000 p.a.?

start diggin'...........

brimoy

trevorsden said...

Eddie makes the key point surely

"If you have more than one home " -- surely her sisters spare room CANNOT be considered a 'home'.

If she does not have a second home just how can she claim expenses for it??

albertmbankment said...

Jacquay-y-y-y's own constituency website says that she's 44. Wikipedia, which you would think she (or her army of civil service staff) would ensure is accurate, gives her birthday as 3rd November 1962.

Mr Mr said...

Found a link for this two residences thing.

I have two homes. Can I register to vote at both addresses?

Not sure how a spare room at her sister's a few nights a week when Parliament is sitting can be classed as a second residence.

The above then links to
Guidence for electoral registration officers.


4.13 is the bit relevant to our Jackie. It keeps mentioning owning or having two properties, nothing about dossing down in a spare room for a couple of nights a week.

Shamik said...

Iain sais: "Believe it or not, in local elections I think you are allowed to vote in two different places"

Jacqui Smith's new motto: "Vote early, vote often" alongside the more sinister (but particularly apt) "we know where you live"!

Batteredstrat said...

Just seen on SKY news:

Parliamentary standards watchdog confirms it will NOT investigate Home Secretary's allowances.

What a surprise.

Simon Gardner said...

Mr Mr said... “Not sure how a spare room at her sister's a few nights a week when Parliament is sitting can be classed as a second residence.”

It indubitably can. She genuinely lives in two places - as most non-London MPs do. You are chasing a red herring. (See above.)

seebag said...

So she's not to be investigated - this is fabulous news - we know we have a Home Secretary who is as pure as driven snow and beyond investigation let alone reproach. Hang out the bunting and let the dancing in the streets commence.

Thatsnews said...

Batteredstrat said...

Just seen on SKY news:

Parliamentary standards watchdog confirms it will NOT investigate Home Secretary's allowances.

What a surprise.

Well, then, I guess it is up to us, the general public!

And more specifically, the public of Redditch.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Thatsnews said...

Well, then, I guess it is up to us, the general public!

And more specifically, the public of Redditch


Or her local association perhaps? It was the Windsor Conservative Association that forced Michael Trend to stand down by making it clear to him that he had totally lost their confidence.

The Redditch Labour party could do likewise.... but I won't be holding my breath.

Myles said...

One more question for Ms Smith.

Is the "going rate" for rent of a bedroom in a house in south London really £2,000 a month? (i.e. £2k x 12 equals the £24k per annum claimed).

Has the Home Secretary's sister (as the recipient of this rental) declared the income in her annual tax return?

Savonarola said...

There are a series of obscenities here.
1. Obscenely immoral manipulation of expenses 'rules' by Ms Smith.
2. The big obscenity is the body that drafted the rules in a way that invites fraulent conversion.
3. A bigger obscenity is HoC which condones and is an accessory to obscenity #1
4. The biggest obscenity is a voting public(us) that has allowed such a corrupt and systematic body to so arrange its affairs.

Eddie 1148 I assume you have no objection to my using your material for a complaint that I will be making to SCommissioner which will be sent to PM Brown and others.

Oliver Drew said...

I've just been reading Eddie's (at 11:48) comments and had a thought.

He quotes that:

"1.The Green Book on Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions published in April 2005 sets out the purpose of the Additional Costs Allowance in paragraph 3.1.1 as follows:
"The additional costs allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence."

Given that her main residence is in London apparently is she being reimbursed for staying at home with her kids and husband when she is not in London?

Or, in the other direction, if she is being reimbursed for staying with her sister, you could say that it is not wholly necessary for her to be there at all, because she was offered a grace and favour apartment with the role of Home Secretary.

I'm not buying this at all.

Colin said...

I've just had the whole thing explained to me by a man who knows all about these things.

The reality is, when she set up this arrangement, she would have been asked to nominate her main and her secondary residence. The fact that she nominated her sister's gaff as her main residence means just that. It's that simple.

There's no test of appropriateness, there are no rules that bar her from doing that. There are no checks on value for money.

The fact that she said it is her main residence is all that matters - case closed, she's done nothing wrong in the eyes of the people who make the rules, move on.

One again, the emotion I feel is not anger. I feel like I'm being taken for a fool and I suspect that's what most people looking at this episode feel as well.

WV = larging

Smith is larging it up at our expense.

canvas said...

I think you're grasping at straws here, Iain.

personally, I am far more shocked and offended by the actions of Derek Conway and his awful family.

Savonarola said...

Colin 402

You may be right.

However the Standards Commissioner has stated publically that the general test relates to the number of nights spent in each residence.

If 183 nights, this is prima facie eveidence that this is the main residence. I will bet £1000 that in 2008 Ms Smith spent more nights in Redditch than in London.

Ms Smith has been on the make since 2001. She claims to have an 'imprematur' from 'officials' that he scheme is within the rules.

If so The Standards Commissioner must justify the rules when measured against the current claimant's arrangements.

If he finds these arrangments satisfactory it is time for Guy Fawkes 11 to finish what he failed to do.

canvas said...

"If 183 nights, this is prima facie eveidence that this is the main residence. I will bet £1000 that in 2008 Ms Smith spent more nights in Redditch than in London."

ypu're on. prove it.

canvas said...

this whole 'argument' sounds petty and borderline desperate. The press doesn't seem to be particularly concerned about this 'scandal'. Whatever. small fry.

Savonarola said...

Canvas

Let me put it this way. I have no means of proving how many nights she spent in London vs Redditch.

But let us say this is disclosed should there be an investigation.

I offer you £1000 if in the last calendar year(2008) she spent 183 or more nights at her 'main residence' in London.

You must offer £1000 if she spent less than 183 nights in her main residence in London.

If you accept we will each lodge £1000 with an independent party for say a period of six months. If within that time no information on the subject is made publically available, the stakes are returned.

Do you accept?

Put up or shut up.

Oliver Drew said...

Canvas - the actions of Derek Conway were indeed despicable, however that has been dealt with.

I can't help feel that if this were a Tory Home Secretary all hell would have been let loose but never mind. It seems like it is just going to peter away...which disappoints me.

It is not that I want people to be forced to resign, I just don't appreciate being taken for an idiot by our government - something which is happening more and more often.

Grim Reaper said...

Perhaps the Home Economics teacher who replaced Jacqui Smith would now be interested in doing a job swap? Jacqui gets a job she can actually do, and we get a decent Home Secretary in return.

The Penguin said...

smithjj@parliament.uk

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to you because I am concerned by the reports in the newspapers and on the internet about the amount of money that you have claimed over the years as an additional living allowance.
If the facts being reported are correct, and I have not heard of you refuting them, then you have claimed tax free allowances supposedly for the maintenance of a second home either close to Parliament or in your constituency so as to be able to effectively carry out your duties in those places. However, most reasonable people would not consider that lodging a few nights a week in your sister’s spare room and contributing to the household equates to maintaining a second home, let alone being able by some peculiar argument which defies logic that it is in fact your main home, thereby enabling you to claim the maximum possible within the guidlelines towards your home in Redditch as being a second home. After all, that “second home2 in Redditch is where you spend most (long) weekends with your family, including the husband who is on your payroll at taxpayers expense and who writes such nice letters to the local papers praising you.

How do you justify such behaviour? It may be within the rules as interpreted by other parliamentarians who are similarly taking advantage of an incredibly lax and overly generous system, but to the general public, including those who you would wish to vote for you at the next general election, and who do not have such a system of benefits and perks, that it is morally indefensible and completely unacceptable for an MP, let alone a minister of the crown to behave in such a money grubbing and insensitive way.

Many people would conclude that it is downright dishonest, and in any other walk of life would lead to criminal charges for deception and fraud. It is little wonder that people regard politicians with such suspicion and contempt, and little wonder that so few bother participating in our democracy. Are you proud of your behaviour? Do you think your children’s school friends will understand your position in claiming to have done nothing wrong, when similar behaviour by their parents would lead to prison? How is your case different to that of Michael Trend?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

The Penguin

trevorsden said...

"I am far more shocked and offended by the actions of Derek Conway and his awful family."

Canvas you really are pathetic.

Conway has been punished. So should Smith.

Answer this how can she claim expenses for a second home when she does not even have a first home??

And in comparison with Conway - she has been paying her husband £40 grand a year as her assistant. What a cheat - how does he earn that if he is at home looking after her children? All he seems to do is write anonymous letters of support to the local paper.

If Conway deserves punishment - then so does Smith, in spades.

Old Holborn said...

AND

She's a company director

No mention of that in her members interests at all

Naughty Jackboot

Alex said...

Smith is on the Electoral Roll in Redditch and London.
Her husband is only on the Electoral Roll in Redditch. I would have thought that was pretty conclusive evidence that her main residence is not in London.

Have a look at the report into Michael Trend. The Standards Committee said that if it was pretty obvious where your primary residence was then that is where it is.

someday said...

https://www.taxevasionhotline.co.uk/html/contact.htm

Bill Quango MP said...

2nd complaint against Jacqui Smith is also rejected.
Only the people of Redditch can do anything about this now.

Twig said...

Jacqui Smith MP
Working for Redditch, Inkberrow, Cookhill and Feckenham.


Your not kidding!

John Moss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
canvas said...

Savonarola: "Do you accept?"
Yes, but on Betfair.

;)

canvas said...

trevorsden, you miss the whole point. The entire system needs reforming because they're all on the make and you know it. It's a way of life for them. But so far, Conway takes the biscuit.

Savonarola said...

@Canvas 935pm

Good. But I am not sure if Betfair cater for this kind of wager.

I will check. If you know better pse confirm.

Need to fix today. Off to USA for week tomorrow.

I still believe my idea of stakeholder provides security.

canvas said...

as if ;)

Savonarola said...

Canvas

What do you mean by 'as if?

Do you have an account at Betfair?

Do you want to withdraw your acceptance?

I think you are all mouth and no trousers.

Prove me wrong by not ducking and diving.