Statement by Stewart Jackson MP
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority v Stewart Jackson MP
“I am pleased to announce that a 16 month ordeal involving the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is over.
IPSA claimed in October 2012 that I owed the taxpayer £54,000, as a result of an alleged notional capital gain in respect of my family home in Peterborough, in which I live and have not sold, nor made any profit from, arising out of property valuations undertaken in 2010 and 2012 under the Parliamentary expenses scheme.
In response to demands for repayment, I challenged the application of the Scheme and advised IPSA that I felt the valuations submitted to them by me in good faith, were made based on errors or were negligently made by the surveyor concerned. I submitted alternative valuations and asked for them to be taken into account, making an offer to pay an appropriate sum. This was rejected by IPSA.
Instead they issued proceedings in the High Court against me in May 2013 for the recovery of the £54,000, which generated widespread and sometimes negative media coverage and some reputational damage for me.
Prior to this, I suggested that we refer the dispute to mediation and that a further expert valuation report be produced by me for them to apply the Scheme to.
All proposals were rejected by IPSA.
I contested the valuations submitted because I believed them to be inaccurate and flawed; and at my own expense prepared three further expert valuations to demonstrate my point. Because of the errors in the original valuations, I invoked the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) complaints process against the original valuer; and RICS subsequently advised me in January 2014 that they had issued a Consent Order against this surveyor as he had breached their professional rules and regulations.
On Friday 21st February 2014, a Tomlin Order was sealed in the High Court, the result of which is that IPSA’s case against me has been stayed.
I am not required to pay any monies back to the taxpayer.
I am not in a position to discuss any further details of the Order or the basis on which the agreement was reached.
It was clear from the outset that this case arose from an error on the part of the original surveyor and a genuine mistake.
The application of commonsense and some compromise on IPSA’s part may have resolved the dispute much more expeditiously and without the cost to the taxpayer of more than £25,000 in legal fees, including retaining the services of a QC and Junior Counsel from Matrix Chambers in drawing up and advising on the High Court papers. This, in my opinion, was legal overkill. It was unnecessary and, as events have proven, totally unjustified.
I am pleased that matter has now been resolved.
I would like to thank my wife Sarah and other family and friends for their stalwart support – as well as my legal representatives and my local Conservative Association – during which has been a very stressful 16 months. I now want to focus on serving my constituents in Peterborough in a diligent and conscientious manner, as I have sought to do over the last nine years in Parliament.”
1st March 2014