Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 182

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr V H Patel, The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission

  Thank you for your letter of 12 July 2000.

  I am replying as a Trustee of The Swaminarayan Hindu Mission to the questions that you have raised.

  Over a number of years, various distinguished and prominent guests as well as British Members of parliament, including Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Rt Hon John Major MP, Paddy Ashdown MP, H R H Prince Charles, H R H The Duke of Edinburgh and late Princess Diana have visited our Mandir (Temple). Keith Vaz MP, is one such member who has visited our Mandir. Almost All Leicester MPs and City and County councillors have visited our Mandir in Leicester.

  However, I wish to make it clear that the Mission is a non-political organisation. It is a socio-religious organisation. We do not involve ourselves in politics.

  Our organisation has not made any donation to Mr Vaz or Mrs Vaz (senior) or any charitable organisation at his request. There are thousands of followers of The Mission in Britain and we cannot comment on their behalf.

  To our knowledge, The Mission or any of its members have not given any payment to Mr Vaz for planning permission or site acquisition at Hamilton, Leicester. We deeply resent such a suggestion. We find it extremely offensive and we would like to know who has made such an applying statement.

  No support or donations have been organised for Mr Vaz by Mr Waghela or anyone in the Leicester Branch. We are unclear of what you mean by hospitality. Every visiting guest, dignitary or VIP to our Mandir is welcomed and given hospitality in our traditional manner.

  At the invitation of our USA branch, Mr Vaz, as the only MP of Asian origin in Britain at that time, attended The Cultural Festival of India, in 1991. He was provided with an economy return ticket to New York, USA. The aims of the Festival were to:

    —  promote better understanding between people of different faiths;

    —  promote harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst all communities;

    —  develop constructive and creative youth activities; and

    —  sustain the roots of Indian culture.

28 July 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 16 March 2001