Jacqui Smith denies any wrongdoing regarding her alleged abuse of MPs' second home allowances.

The Home Secretary faces an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, in to claims she uses her sister's London home as a main residence, despite reports Ms Smith spends as little as two nights a week there. 

Ms Smith's main constituency residence is in Redditch, Worcestershire, where she has reportedly illegally gained £116,000 in second home expenses on the property.

However, neighbours of Ms Smith's London home say she spends on average as little as 'two to three nights a week' at the house.

But sources close to Ms Smith says she spends the majority of her time in London.

Ms Smith consistently affirms she has done nothing wrong and according to the BBC News website, 'gained written approval from the Commons fees office for her arrangements.'

Despite supposed written approval, the investigation in to Ms Smith's allowances continues a recent furore over MPs expenses rows, at a time when the UK is in its worst recession since the 1930s amidst the 'Great Depression'.

Ms Smith told the Andrew Marr show: "I haven't tried to maximise any money I've made or abuse the system.

"I think I've done the right thing as the job of the home secretary."

Ms Smith maintains she is receiving fewer expenses than last year amidst recent controversy where Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Yvette Cooper, were found to be reportedly claiming Tax Free Members Allowance expenditure of over £100,000 in 2006-7.

The Home Secretary added: "I am taking less expenses than last year and I'm trying to do the right thing for the taxpayer at a difficult time.

"It is of course important that MPs are clearly open, but I don't think most MPs in the UK are 'on the make'."

Migration amendments

Whilst Ms Smith faces the investigation into her allowances, she will also tackle questions in to how the government will control the number of foreign migrant workers arriving in the UK.

According to 2008 figures obtained by the Guardian.co.uk, migration to the UK has added 1.5 million people to Britain since 1998 and if the current population increase persists, experts predict the UK's total population could reach 70m by 2031.

Ms Smith's strategies to curb an influx of foreign migrants include a more selective policy in to who enters the country regarding education and skill of candidates, whilst not discriminating against individuals.

"We will look to control migration in to the country, where we will look at a points based system," said Ms Smith.

"It shouldn't be allowed for a foreign worker to take a job in the UK without consulting with Jobcentre Plus first, rather than receiving a job by other means. While the government doesn't base its policy on prejudice, we must must pick those that really are the most skilled."

Comments

Was it Ed Balls and his wife Yvette Cooper who also earned over £300,000 in salaries in 2008? Or is the figure a lot less? I've decided to get rid of that from my article as I don't want to misconstrue the facts.

In fact Stuart you would have been quite correct because the two minsterial salaries would be in that region - but the couple were actually under scrutiny for their joint expenses claim. Now Ms Smith looks as if she is facing the music over the claim that her sister's back bedroom is her main home  - difficult to see how she will get out of this.   

Well done on a comprehensive account about this matter and the immigrant worker issue. Notice how many of the dreaded Public Affairs key terms you have to understand to make sense of all this - from Parliamentary Commisioner for  Standards to JobCentre Plus!  

 

I appreciate the help, but I didn't remember the joint expenses claim. Indeed it does look as if Smith might get a suspension or sacking from her position as Home Secretary.

Thanks for the comments on my article, I'm glad you liked it. Yes indeed we all have a lot of revision of terms to do - thanks Suzanne! haha :P :).

Smith denies wrongdoing in second home dispute