Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 98

File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


  Roy Stuttard said the answers to my questions in my letter of 5 July 2000 were:

    1.  That he had attended a meeting where serving councillors were asked for contributions for Mr Vaz's election; he remembers the figure of " and believes that it was £2 per week, £8 per month that was requested. There were several meetings, particularly in 1997/8 at which he remembers Mr Vaz asking Councillors to donate some of their allowances towards what he thinks was an election fighting fund. He said he had refused to make such a payment.

    2.  Mr Stuttard said that the Minutes of the constituency general committee ought to record these requests as they were made in person by Mr Vaz. Mr Stuttard said he had not made any donations himself, indeed, he had refused to do so.

    3.  I asked Mr Stuttard if he believed anybody else had made donations and he said he was almost sure that Councillor Mustafa Kamal had made a donation because he had mentioned it to him previously and indeed, he was always willing to contribute to causes he believed in. He said " Councillor Kamal is a very generous fellow".

    4.  He said Mr Vaz had come to his house once and had said to him in a very agitated way that He (Mr Stuttard) was the only Councillor who "wouldn't do what he was told". I asked what was that about and he said he wasn't sure but there was another occasion on which he was asked to resign as a Councillor but he refused. I asked Mr Stuttard if this was a constituency fund or whether it was a fund to support Mr Vaz and he said as fair "As I know it was an election fighting fund to support Mr Vaz. It was always asked for by Mr Vaz".

    5.  Mr Stuttard went on to say that he had had "Strange experiences with treasurers". On one occasion his wife had found that the treasurer wouldn't produce balanced accounts, and as she was auditor that year she would not accept them.

    6.  Mr Stuttard said he was sorry he couldn't remember the details more clearly. The other people who might be able to help would be John Thomas, Mary Drakecott and Councillor Singh.

    7.  Pat Stuttard then came on the phone and said she was currently Treasurer of West Humberstone Ward of the Labour Party. She had been Vice Chair of the Constituency at one time. It was always difficult to get auditors for constituency accounts and one year she had jointly carried the role with Mr Paul Gosling who had had accountancy training although he was a journalist now. During that year, she thought it might have been 1997 or 1998 though she couldn't remember, they had refused to clear the accounts because the underlying information was so poor. I asked Mrs Stuttard whether the poor underlying information was in any way related to Mr Vaz and she said "Well he does always tend to be tied up with the officers of the constituency but I can't say any more than that".

    8.  Mrs Stuttard also said that she found that when she was Vice Chairman of the Constituency she was often excluded from the decision making of the senior officers and the MP, but she didn't know why.

    9.  She was aware that at several general constituency meetings Mr Vaz had asked people to contribute to an election fighting fund, she can remember the sum of £2 or a percentage of a Councillor's allowance being mentioned but she couldn't recall it more precisely.

    10.  She said Mr Stuttard had made a speech about why he would not contribute in this way. She went on to say that one of the people who had given support financially, she believed was Mustapha Kamal, she said he "He supports everything, he is a very generous person". I asked Mrs Stuttard whether the donations had been asked for to support the constituency or to support Mr Vaz. She said "I am not sure about that", "Not because I am not sure about what was said, but I do not think Mr Vaz made that very clear". She said she believed that it was to support a fighting fund or some such account for Mr Vaz. I asked her whether when she had audited the accounts she had seen evidence of such donations and she said no she had not because the accounts were of such poor quality and that she found it difficult to understand what they did record.

    11.  Later Mr Stuttard rang me back again and gave me the following information. That the people who would be able to give information about such donations would be: Colin Hall, Alan Graterix and Councillor Mary Drakecott JP. Mr Stuttard said that now that he had thought about it further, he believed that the sum asked for was approximately £8 per month.

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