Monday, 12 October 2009

'Two Homes' Smith Gets A Slap

So Jacqui Smith, ex-Home(s) Secretary, clearly breaks Parliamentary rules and just gets a 'slapping' with the result the 'punishment' meted out is to be ordered to apologise to the House of Commons.

The Standards and Privileges Committee report makes damning reading and from the conclusions, disregarding the pay-films which were a side issue of little importance when compared to other matters, the comments are discrediting to her honesty and probity to say the least'

"164.  I conclude therefore, that for the purposes of her ACA claims, Ms Smith had two homes - a home which she shares with her sister and her sister's partner in London; and a home which she shares with her husband and children in her constituency."

"178.  I conclude, therefore, that Ms Smith was in breach of the rules of the House from 2004 to 2009 in identifying the London residence she shared with her sister as her main home.........I therefore uphold the complaint. Ms Smith was also in breach of the rules in failing to notify the House authorities promptly of the change of her address in London in April 2008."

Paul Waugh homes in (sorry - no pun intended) on the number of nights at which address Jacqui Smith stayed and it would appear that police records show a discrepancy with the evidence submitted by her.

With Gordon Brown reportedly having to repay £12,000+, Nick Clegg £900+ and David Cameron being asked to 'clarify' his mortgage payments, the case of Jacqui Smith is just an example of the behaviour of 'Honourable' members. The defense of 'it being within the rules' hardly holds water (or in the case of MPs, wine, possibly champagne) in that probity would surely have told them expensive furniture and other items that are considered luxuries to the average person are not needed to assist them in their parliamentary duties, as is not playing the tax system by 'flipping' homes.

With the Kelly review due out in December this is a story which is not going to go away and hopefully it is one that the electorate will remember when the time comes for them to visit the polling booth!

Update: It would appear that the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics are not happy bunnies and may well 'rabbit' some more in court!

No comments: