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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Standards Commissioner Seeks Clarification from Jacqui Smith
Paul Waugh is reporting that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has written to Jacqui Smith asking for more information from her in light of the comments by her neighbours in last week's Mail on Sunday. This ain't over yet.
Why aren't they asking Darling too?
There is a very easy way to resolve the actual number of days spent where (at least recently) - obtain the details/ records of the actual locations her protection officers were at over the relevant period.
Before she became Home Secretary, as she says herself, her time spent in London would have been less.
Doubleplusgood - as Winston Smith would say.
I can just imagine the phonecall: "Yeah Bob. Hello, yes it Jacqs. Long time. Anyway, listen, I've got a bit of a problem and I need to send the boys round."
PS Where's Dolly?
There is no way she can clarify anything.
How can a spare room in your sisters house be classed as your primary home? her own website says she 'lives' in Redditch.
Nothing to clarify. She's a fraud.
About time - and it took her neighbours in the Daily Mail pointing out the bleeding obvious to push them into it.
What are they like?
PS Where's canvas? Or has she turned into 'ash cash' on Draperlist?
'there's nothing to see, move on, no photos, lessons will learned, all the rules have been observed --' !!
Gawd almighty, this is a ZOMBIE story if ever there was one! Is it still limping along?
Even if she's been found to be fiddling, she will, like her comrades (hain, harman...) claim that any wrongdoing was unintentional and as a result, she'll won't be punished.
Unluckily for The Kebab Stuffer, the way they hung Michael Trend out to dry sets a precedent that they cannot very easily ignore.
The fact that denoting her London address rather than her Redditch address as her main home was in Jacqui Smith's financial interest does not mean that it was not the right decision in accordance with the rules. MPs are required to make the right decision, not the decision that is less favourable to their ability to claim.
@ david boothroyd- 'MPs are required to make the right decision, not the decision that is less favourable to their ability to claim'.
what a happy chance that the 'right decision' always seems to be to their financial advantage !
In self-justification, on her own web site, Jacqui Smith writes:
When I became a Minister, I considered whether I should move my family up to London as I knew I’d be spending more time there. However, my children were born in Redditch, are at school in Redditch, have their friends and other family nearby. I decided with my husband that it would be better for them to stay living in Redditch rather than to move. Having family living in the constituency also gives me first hand knowledge of local issues.
I realised that this raised a question about whether this made Redditch my main home in terms of claims for expenses and I specifically asked for advice on this from the House of Commons authorities. They confirmed that, for the purpose of expenses, the ‘main home’ was that where the Member of Parliament was likely to spend the most nights – NOT where the family lived.
Notwithstanding the use of the word likely she is clearly saying that she understands that to be legitimate she has to spend most time in London. I suspect that she will not be able to prove this- based on police evidence and also given the vast amount of leave that MP's get. The Balls actually used this in the reverse situation.
How can we possibly have a Home Secretary with such little regard for probity - if Gordon Brown had an ounce of moral courage her feet would not touch the floor. He has no credability as a leader.
Sadly, I agree with David Boothroyd.
The outcome will probably be a 'suggestion' that the rules need to be 'looked at' but that she acted 'within the rules'. Then we shall see which party takes this up as a 'policy' to change the rules on expenses!
No, bustop, that will not do. The Home Secretary has a job which is practically 24-hours a day, and much more than any other Minister requires the holder to be in London to take instant decisions.
Your denunciation is quite pathetic and ignorant.
I would have some sympathy with your views about the 'right decision in accordance with the rules' if there was a consistent approach. The Balls took the opposite view of what was the right decision. Show me one MP who loses out by taking the 'right decision'. That she is on 24 hour call I would not question.
As for the amount of time she spends in London - we will see, and with it we will see where the ignorance lies.
You'll never hear of any 'MP that loses out by taking the right decision', because it will not make a nice story for the Mail on Sunday to go to town on.
Presumably the Home Secretary delegates responsibilities, as any good manager would.
The issue of expenses is a farce. It illustrates both the grasping and secretive nature of politicians (See: The John Lewis list, shredding receipts subject to the FoI act, fighting the FoI disclosures) and the lack of joined up thinking in Government.(See: The Cooper-Balls wheeze on main residence for tax purposes/second home for expenses purposes and essentially making two claims for one property.)
We have the measure of the Home Secretary when her £40k a year Commons Assistant is writing to newspapers supporting her without mentioning that he is married to her.
I don't like Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary one bit, but this is a stitch up - as Cameron just admitted on BBC News.
If this kind of bitching between parties is going to take place, let's just go for Armageddon - list all MP's two homes' claims, from all parties.
Also, there is a feminist aspect here. If Smith were a man, claiming a 4 day stay in London for his job as MP would not even be blinked at.
The Home Secretary is entitled to a London grace and favour residence. If her position and need to be in London is so important then she should have taken up this right. I suspect she didnt because she saw a right little earner......(majority only 2700)
Since when did a main residence become a bedsit at your sisters gaff...yer right..
An opportunity for David Cameron: On day one of the next session of Parliament the Tories should publish their own rules for claiming parliamentary expenses.
Those rules should go much further, and be far more rigorous than the Parliamentary code. They should be modelled on what would be acceptable in a tightly run commercial organisation.
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