The reason why my name does not appear in the list of re payments today is down to my angel, Pippa.
When Pippa came to work for me shortly after I became an MP the first thing she did was obtain a copy of the Green Book. I didn’t even know it existed.
The second thing she did was instruct me that I was to provide her with every receipt incurred as part of my job. She also decided we would not draw the £250 per month petty cash but order what we needed when we needed via the stationary order.
The Green book has lived on her desk ever since.
I never wanted to say this publicly before in case there was something wrong that I was un aware of and I didn’t want her to be exposed, however, the truth is that I have never submitted a single claim for for my expenses, I don’t even see them, Pippa has done the lot. There isn’t much Pippa doesn’t know about my office or personal finances so ‘on top’ of everything is she.
Pippa is hyper cautious. She does have one flaw though, biscuits.
When I told her yesterday that the tea towels she had bought for the office tea tray and the posh chocolate biscuits had been listed in the Daily Mail, she retorted “well, you don’t expect me to eat family circle under this kind of pressure do you”?
No, I don’t because she has been bang on in her judgment and the way she has handled our office accounts.
The scrutiny committee was very tough and very professional in the way it conducted its enquiry. We had to submit all accounts, receipts, invoices etc a good while ago in response to the questions they raised. These were obviously checked out or whatever because the next thing that happened was that out of the blue you received a phone call instructing you to go to the Chiefs office, and there you were grilled. You were given no notice that you were to be called.
They had all the invoices out in front of them which had obviously been checked out because there was a list of notes next to them.
Tough call, not the nicest experience but I’m glad David Cameron did it.
It’s a good feeling today because I think it is the first step to putting things right, repairing the system and moving upwards.