Letter to Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman
& Partners, Solicitors, from the Parliamentary Commissioner
Thank you for coming to see me with Mr Vaz today
and for arranging to send me Keith Bennett's note. I was sorry
that Mr Vaz did not feel able to agree to the House's shorthand
writer recording the meeting as I note Mr Bennett did not use
You asked me to write to you in addition to
the question paper with any information which might be in conflict
with Mr Vaz's initial response. I have checked my files and believe
I have already provided everything which requires a response by
Mr Vaz in my letters and the list of questions. For completeness
I will rehearse this information again.
The original complaint I received was from Mr
Milne. As I looked into that complaint relevant information was
provided to me by witnesses which, if substantiated, might be
at variance with Mr Vaz's initial response. I have provided this
information to Mr Vaz as soon as it was given to me or after seeking
verification from others.
I have followed the same procedure with the
other allegations as they have been submitted.
The following is a list of the letters which
either you or Mr Vaz will have received in which I listed the
allegations against Mr Vaz and indicated the relevant supporting
evidence. For convenience I have set them out under the different
sources of the allegations.
My letters to Mr Vaz of 4 February 2000, 22
February 2000, 8 March 2000 and 7 April 2000. (Mr Milne's allegations
and information from Mr Brown.)
My letter to Mr Vaz of 14 March 2000.
My letter to Mr Vaz of 3 March 2000. (Mr Gosling's
letter of 29 February 2000.)
My letter to Mr Vaz of 20 April 2000. (Mr Kamal's
letter of 7 April 2000.)
In addition, I wrote to you on 19 May with a
cumulative list of the documents containing the allegations or
relevant supporting evidence and on 7 June setting out the complaints
in full again, together with the relevant sections of the Code
of Conduct or the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members. I
wrote to you again on 21 June in answer to detailed queries which
you had raised in connection with my letter of 7 June. (I should
just point out, in order to avoid any possible confusion, that
the list of documents set out in my letter of 19 May is more extensive
than those specified above, since the letter of 19 May also listed
my written requests to Mr Vaz for further information or clarification.)
Finally, on 29 June 2000, I sent you the set
of written questions which contain all the evidence which might
be at variance with Mr Vaz's initial responses and on which I
wish to have Mr Vaz's comments before I report to the Committee.
I informed Mr Vaz at our meeting that Mr Attwall
has now told me that John Thomas collected no payment from him.
He has confirmed that a payment was collected by Mrs Vaz senior.
As I said at our meeting, if my questions to
Mr Vaz in turn raise questions which he feels it would be helpful
for witnesses or the complainants to answer, perhaps he would
let me have them along with his replies to my questions.
During our meeting Mr Vaz raised several matters
which he said might require disclosure to the Committee to ensure
there could be no possibility of perception of conflict of interests.
If, on reflection, he feels any of them are relevant I would be
grateful if he would put them in writing.
When I have received Mr Vaz's answers to my
questions I hope to be able to report to the Standards and Privileges
Committee; however, as you are aware, I may first need to ask
follow-up questions for clarification.
I look forward to Mr Vaz's comprehensive response
on all these matters so that I may report on the complaint to
the Standards and Privileges Committee as soon as possible.
4 July 2000