“He [John Lyon] has also concluded that Ms Smith spent more nights at her constituency home than at her London home between 28 June 2007 and 31 March 2009. Ms Smith has agreed with this conclusion.13 The figures which underlie it are based on a reconciliation between witnesses’—including Ms Smith’s—personal recollections, the evidence provided by Ms Smith’s personal and ministerial diaries, and the evidence of police records (ie, records of the protection provided to Ms Smith by the police when she was Home Secretary).” (Pages 4 and 5)
But this is wat Jacqui Smith said when the original story broke:
“The spokeswoman said Ms Smith spends ‘the bulk of the week’ at her sister's home in London. Asked how many nights she stayed there, the spokeswoman said: ‘She tends to go home Thursday evenings and returns on Sunday or Monday.’ When it was pointed out that this suggested an average of three-and-a-half days a week, the spokeswoman replied: ‘She doesn't count the number of nights.’” (Mail on Sunday 8 February 2009).
Further spokeswoman comment:
“The London home is Ms Smith's main home where she spends the bulk of her time. The Commons Fees Office has said it is happy with the arrangement.” (Daily Mail, 16 February 2009).
But Ms Smith still seems unrepentant:
“I am disappointed that this process has not led to a fairer set of conclusions, based on objective and consistent application of the rules as they were at the time.” (pages 6 and 7)
I was slightly surprised that Jacqui Smith didn't just issue a full and frank apology this afternoon in the House of Commons, rather than appear to go through the motions. It doesn't really matter that she feels she was the victim of the system - no one cares. A full, heartfelt apology together with a willingness to pay some money back it what she should have done. That was the only way for her to draw a line under it, and she missed the opportunity.
And in other news, we learn now that the Prime Minister is being asked to pay back £12,000. That's £12,000! Lord Paul is now also under investigation for wrongly claiming £38,000.
And then there's Damian Green. I hope to write about that a bit later.