Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Keith Vaz MP
I refer to our conversation this morning and
my letter of 7 February.
I had a telephone call from Chris Hastings on
Saturday 12 February at 12.35 pm. He said that you had contacted
a second ex-employee of Mr Zaiwalla a "Mr Brown" and
"had Mr Brown given you any cash". He asked me to comment
on this. My response was as follows:
"I am delighted that Mrs Filkin is conducting
an investigation into the maliciously false claims of Mr Milne.
I have every confidence in the office of Parliamentary Commissioner
and I am sure that she will deal with the matter in a proper way.
The only Mr Browns I know are Gordon and Nick. I do not know anyone
called Mr Brown in connection with Mr Zaiwalla, nor a Mr Smith
and Mr Jones."
When his phone went dead I rang the News Editor
and read out the quote.
You said that I could comment on Mr Zaiwalla's
letter to you dated 10 February 2000. I will not comment on his
points concerning my standing in the Asian community, but refer
in particular to his points concerning financial matters.
His paragraph 5
It is highly likely that I suggested to Mr Zaiwalla
that he make a contribution to a charity or event as he describes.
Every month and at virtually every function I attend there is
a cause or another that needs supporting. Members of Parliament
are often approached for support and pass these requests on. For
example, I am currently being asked by two separate organisations
to suggest names of people to help them with funding for their
As a prominent and successful member of the
Asian Business community, Mr Zaiwalla is known to support Asian
causes. Neither I nor any member of my office would be involved
in collecting or processing such donations. No payment was made
to me or any member of my staff. In the end it would be up to
him to decide whether to make a donation or not. It is his money
and his decision.
His paragraphs 6 and 7
The event was indeed organised by the Asian
Business network. I chaired the proceedings. The Home Secretary
spoke as did the Chairman of the Association of Town Centre Management.
It was at the Portman Hotel, London on 2 July 1998. Mr Zaiwalla
bought a table. No payment was made to me.
The concert he mentioned was also an Asian musical
recital. I "Chaired" the concert. The guest speakers
were The Foreign Secretary, The Cabinet Secretary and The Chief
Executive of Tescos. Mr Zaiwalla did not attend this event, but
was thanked for his support. This event took place at the Radisson
Edwardian Hotel on 17 July 1997 and Ravi Shankar's daughter did
indeed perform. No payment was made to me.
I know that the ABN was grateful for support
on both these occasions. I am glad he supported both events. There
are many Asian organisations that hold such events. This is not
the same organisation as Mr Zaiwalla's Breakfast Club.
In his letter Mr Zaiwalla confirms that there
were no payments to me in cash or by cheque, nor to any member
of my staff identified or unidentified.
Please let me know if I can help further.
16 February 2000