Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 79

Letter to Mr Gerald Shamash, Steel & Shamash, Solicitors, from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  Thank you for your letter of 14 November 2000.

  When Mr Thomas and I discussed this matter on the telephone on 20 September 2000, it was Mr Thomas who referred to the period from 1992 during which he has been Secretary of the Constituency.

  My questions to him are couched in general terms as I am trying to ensure that my report to The Standards and Privileges Committee is accurate.

  I am also looking for copies of records so that I can be precise about the dates in question since I am aware that witnesses may not be sure about dates when recalling events. I therefore wrote to Mr Thomas as the responsible officer asking him for his recollections and for any copies of written records. To answer your question witnesses have given me dates from 1988 to 1997.

  The information I am trying to establish concerns the following:

    1.  Whether Mr Thomas is aware of any appeal for funding by anyone which requested serving councillors to give a percentage of their allowances, whether on a regular basis or not, for any purpose?

    2.  If such appeals were made, to whom were they made, on what dates and for what purpose?

    3.  If funds were raised the accounts into which they were deposited and on what they were spent?

    I would be grateful for any documentary information which supports Mr Thomas's replies, eg the minutes, bank statements, letters etc.

    4.  To enable me to be sure that I have a complete picture I would also be grateful to be provided with information by Mr Thomas on the following funds which have been referred to by witnesses. I appreciate that different people may refer to funds by different names and it is therefore necessary for me to clarify this with the secretary. The following are descriptions which have been used to me: the Premises Fund, the 50/100/200 Club, The Lottery and Support for The MP's Office.

  May I thank Mr Thomas for his assistance with this enquiry and I look forward to an early reply.

15 November 2000

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