Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 1

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Councillor Piara Singh Clair

Thank you for your letter of 12 January. I have discussed your letter with the legal advisers to the Labour Party and with other officers of the CLP.

You have been provided with detailed information from both the Chair and Secretary of the CLP. Mr Gerald Shamash the Labour Party solicitor has given you an excellent account of the 50 Club and other matters.

I wrote to you on 22 May 2000 following my conversation with Mr Kamal when he handed me his letter of complaint to you. I do find it odd that members of the Labour Party can make inaccurate complaints to the House of Commons about the operation of a Constituency party and the Commissioner then asks for the accounts of the party.

I have been a former Chair of the Leicester East CLP and have been Treasurer since 1998. Can I on behalf of the Leicester East CLP confirm the following:

1.Mustapha Kamal has never complained at a meeting or in writing about the financial affairs of the Leicester East Party or for that matter about Keith Vaz MP.
2.Each year annual accounts are prepared and are presented to members who can question the Treasurer.
3.The 50 Club income and expenditure have been fully explained to you by Mr Shamash. This CLP as with other parties run such schemes.

In relation to Mr Vaz you have been given and I confirm as Treasurer the following information:

1.Mr Vaz is not and has never been a signatory to the accounts of CLP. I would be surprised if any MP is a signatory to his or her Constituency party funds.
2.I understand that Mr Vaz was a member of the 50 Club and like me contributed £5 a month. He was not a beneficiary of it. Only the Party benefited.
3.Mr Vaz, nor his office has received any benefit from the 50 Club and I asked as many former officers to confirm this. You do not appear to understand the relationship between a Labour MP and his constituency. MPs do not ask the party for help in running their offices. The Party's ask the MPs to help THEM.
4.For a short period at the request of the Party Mr Vaz provided rent free the ground floor of the premises at 146 Uppingham Road. You have all the details of this from Councillor Thomas and Mr Shamash.
5.In accordance with the rules of the Labour Party, decisions on finances are taken by the party at the GC meeting or EC meeting. Individual Officers and MPs cannot make these decisions.

We are not prepared to release confidential information about our accounts, especially a few weeks before a General Election, because one member has a grudge against the Party. To do so would open the way to hundreds of silly and unsupported claims against MPs and their Local Parties. If people are to make allegations they must provide proof. All we have is Mr Kamal's letter of 17 April. Please tell me if you have anything more. You told us that you have no power to investigate political parties. Yet we have spent a great deal of time helping you with your inquiries. We do not have the benefit of full time paid jobs. We do this voluntarily because we believe in the cause.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

15 January 2001

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