Dear Ms. Smith,
Today the Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled against you for your use of the accommodation allowance between 2004 and 2009. Both the Commissioner for Standards and the Committee have concluded that you were in breach of the rules: "Jacqui Smith has been found to be in breach of the House of Commons rules governing the use of the accommodation allowance from 2004 to 2009. She wrongfully classified her main family home in Redditch as her second home, and was therefore able to claim around £20,000 a year towards its running costs."
Up to 2007, it could perhaps be argued that your wrongful designation of your Redditch house as secondary was inadvertent - although most common sense indicators suggested that Redditch was your main home, you were still technically spending more nights in London overall. While we think that parliamentarians have a clear duty to make sure they are within the rules governing personal use of public money, we accept that mistakes happen.
After 2007, however, you started to spend more time in Redditch, in the location where your children attend school, where you are registered to vote and where you pay a mortgage. As the Committee states: "From that point on there was little room for doubt, but it should have been sufficiently clear to Ms Smith even before then that she was probably an exception to the rule."
Out of the £106,738 wrongfully claimed over the 2004-2009 period, the £42,130 paid to you since 2007 was, without doubt, inappropriately used for the maintenance of your family home. As a result of this breach, the Committee has asked you to apologise to the House.
Public opinion on this issue is strongly of the view that saying sorry is not enough. We ask you to pay back to the public purse the £42,130 wrongfully claimed and we feel obliged to inform you that, if you fail so to do, we will not let the matter rest here.