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Friday, 15 May 2009

Expenses. Distressing

Because I am giving the benefit of the doubt to a Tory:

It seems that a newspaper may have invented/bend/exagerated the truth in order to supplement their story!
It may even be the case that their great story about expenses is more reliant on anger and bile than fact.
Now, I know some people believe that MPs are all rotten and do all they can to back this view up, so that helps.
Thing is, we ALL do that as part of nature. Any position that we take, we take for a reason. All the data and stimuli we come into contact with is to numerous and complex that we distill the details. This means we sometimes miss things. Sometimes this is deliberate.
I think the Telegraph story utilises a lot of that


The Daily Telegraph
Posted Friday, 15 May 2009 at 16:02

Here is my letter from the Telegraph and my reply.



There is one thing I know about me better than anyone else. I never do anything I know to be wrong and I have common sense by the bucketful.





PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Dear Nadine Dorries,

The Daily Telegraph is investigating the expense claims made by MPs under the Parliamentary additional costs allowance system since the 2004/05 financial year.

We are considering publishing an article in tomorrow’s newspaper (16th May 2009) which will contain details of your expense claims.

We are aware of the provisions of the statutory instrument passed by Parliament last July and will therefore not be publishing members’ addresses or any other details which could compromise security.

However, as a matter of legitimate public interest and concern, we intend to publish the following details about your expense claims under the Additional Costs Allowance. We would invite you to respond to the following points.

1. In 2006 you claimed for the cost of a hotel stay on New Year's Eve and another just a few days before Christmas, when the House was not sitting. Please can you explain why you felt this was an appropriate use of public funds.



I have never spent a New Years Eve away from my daughters and I have never spent it in a hotel, ever. In fact, New Years Eve 2006 is when I held a party and cooked a 12 bird roast and I blogged the entire evening. Anyone reading this can check it out.



The Telegraph has an invoice charged to MR N Dorries, which was submitted, but never paid. I don’t actually submit the invoices, my PA does, and that one may have been submitted in error, In error - because I never stayed at any hotel on New Years Eve ever if it had ever been paid it would have been refunded IMMEDIATLEY. What may have happened is that someone who is not a member of the Carlton Club may have booked a room in my name, friends do, however; my other point is that I am not even sure the Carlton Club is open over Xmas and New Year?



The fact is though that an invoice was submitted from my office, for a room I didn’t stay in, which is obviously an error and no money was paid to me for that invoice.



2. You also put in several hotel bills that included minibar drinks. Please can you explain why you felt this was an appropriate use of public funds.



Oh that the Carlton Club had mini bars in the rooms, it does not. If I ever bought a drink in the Carlton I paid cash. For some reason they are still listed on the invoice, however, they were not paid. I have not, to my knowledge ever received public funds to buy alcohol for either myself or visiting guests and constituents and do not think it would be an appropriate use of public funds. If that is the case and I am very happy to be proved wrong then I will not hesitate to refund. To think that that you could accuse me of behaving like a journalist shocks me.

3. When you moved out of your flat in Westminster, the fees office demanded repeatedly that you repay the £2,190 deposit but you did not and eventually they docked your rent claims in order to recoup the money. Please explain why you did not repay the deposit when asked.



Because the landlord was seriously dodgy and refused to pay back any of the deposit. The flat was left in an immaculate and pristine condition. Despite my threats of legal action which would have cost even more, I eventually gave up. I lost the £2,190 as a result of renting a flat in order to carry out my job. a months salary. The fees office should not have taken the money from me they should have chased the landlord for it. In fact, I want that money back! I will also ask my PA to post first thing on Monday morning the correspondence between myself and said dodgy landlord who doesn’t return deposits at the end of tenure.



4. Your file shows that you twice demanded that the fees office make "urgent" payments of several thousand pounds to your bank account and when one did not arrive immediately, a member of your staff rang and told them to "sort it out". Please explain why you felt this was appropriate.

5. Your file also complains of a "lack of co-operation" in completing the ACA forms correctly and complying with their requests for information about your addresses. Please explain why you did not co-operate with the fees office.



Answer to both above questions I am afraid result as a total lack of frustration towards a department which is frequently overworked and understaffed. The fees office continuously loses invoices, leases and payments. Sometimes I am thousands of pounds out whilst waiting to be paid. When I am told I can’t be paid because they have yet again, lost the invoice, I sometimes lose my rag. I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t, it’s just that I have other more important things to do and few hours to do them in.



I emailed the fees office with my change of house details at the same time as I told them to my whip in 2008.

6. Land Registry records show that your former family home in *************was sold in 2007. You have announced publicly that you have separated from your husband. Since then the only address on any of your files is your rented house in Bedford, on which you are claiming ACA. On this basis, we have reason to believe that you only live in one home and are therefore ineligible to claim an allowance for running a second home. While you have our assurance that we will not print your address, please state exactly where you consider your main home to be and in what way you are eligible to claim the second home allowance.



I have no intention of exposing every detail of my private existence, what little I have, on this blog. However, needs must. I rent a house/office/ surgery in my constituency. This house is used in connection with my duties as an MP. For example – this weekend I have had meetings all day Friday. I am presenting to a patients group in Barton-Le-Clay surgery on changes in the NHS tonight. I am canvassing Saturday and attending a church service on Sunday and then after the church service writing a speech for the Police and Crime Bill to be delivered next week.

On the weekends I have free, and during the recess, I go somewhere else. I am not publishing the address. I gave it to my whip and emailed it to the fees office in 2008. I spend most of the holidays abroad, all of which can be confirmed. My children stay with me when I am in the constituency, where I go my girls go, however, one also lives in London and one is at Uni. This has not always been the case. I now spend my late nights in London. At my own expense.

I keep the dogs at the constituency address as I am often there on my own and it confuses them being moved around. When I am not in the constituency, especially during the long summer break, we have a house sitter, at my expense. Again, this can be confirmed.

During term time I spend the majority of weekends in the constituency as my job tends to be seven days a week, as detailed above. My youngest daughter has attended a school in Bedford since last September. Up until September she attended a school ‘somewhere else’. My eldest daughter had a term time job during the last year in the constituency before commencing work in London in a PR firm.

My doctor, dentist and recent hospital treatment have all recently been undertaken ‘somewhere else’.



We do not presently see the justification for all of these claims under the rules or spirit of the rules set out in the Parliamentary Green Book. These stipulate that enhancing property is not allowed and that purchases which are "extravagant or luxurious" should be avoided.

What on earth are you talking about? Enhancing property?? Extravagant luxurious expenditure???



Please could we receive your comments by 5pm today so that they can be given due weight in our inquiries and properly reflected in any article we decide to publish. Please could you also inform us if you do not wish to comment.



You have my comments now. I will refute any accusations you wish to make against me, myself. Given that we all know the so called ‘chandelier; was in fact a paper lamp shade with glass beads hanging from the bottom you will excuse my not trusting you to give me a fair shout.



Many thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you shortly. I can be contacted on ******or ***********@telegraph.co.uk

Yours sincerely,

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