It's been a fantastic campaign, and I've thoroughly enjoyed speaking to residents all over South Northamptonshire at hustings, visits to schools and businesses and on the doorstep!
While there has been a great deal of positive feedback, I've been saddened to receive a few emails and tweets from constituents making reference to stories in the press over the last year about my tax affairs and donations to my Westminster office.
I wanted to take this opportunity to put the record straight in case any voter is worried about it.
On my personal tax affairs, the press suggested I might be making use of 'controversial trusts' and 'offshore' banking.
The truth is that when my youngest child was born, I became part time at work, and at the same time my husband was changing job. It was a very uncertain time for us, so we took the decision to set up a small company with a couple of 'buy to let' properties that we could manage as an extra income if anything went wrong. We set up the company with £100, putting £24 of the shares into an onshore trust as our children were 0, 5 and 7 and therefore legally unable to own shares. The purpose was that the whole family would engage in - and learn from - running a small business. I come from a long line of small business owners! My son became a director, as planned, when he turned 18, and my other two will do the same when they are old enough. So the trust is onshore (tax paying) and the investment was £24. Please click here if you want to see my Members' Register of Interests.
Other reports suggested I might have made use of 'offshore banking'. In fact, as we had very little capital, the company took out a mortgage via a mortgage broker with Kleinwort Benson Jersey, secured on our family home. As you may know, there is no tax advantage in borrowing money from offshore
The second story is about legal donations, correctly registered, to my Parliamentary Office in 20011-12. What happened is that my brother in law's UK business donated £70k to my Office over a two year period to help pay the salary of a Project Manager, and the printing costs, for the Fresh Start Project, which is something I set up with colleagues to research and make proposals on how to reform the EU (www.eufreshstart.org). The donations were fully declared and I did not personally benefit from them.
The reason the donation became a 'story' is because my Brother in Law's family come from the Channel Islands, and have lived there for centuries. His UK business employs several hundred people in the UK and pays tax here - the donations came from the UK company. I can't help where he comes from anymore than I can help having my roots here in Northamptonshire!
I would like to reiterate that I have never evaded tax and have always declared all of my income. I see public service as both a duty and a privilege and will always do my very best to provide good value to the taxpayer.
I hope this deals with any questions you may have, and I hope I can count on your vote!