Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 41

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners, Solicitors

  I apologise for not having replied earlier to your letter of 18 July. However, when you wrote that letter it must have already been apparent that the Standards and Privileges Committee would not be meeting again until the autumn and therefore there was no need for an immediate response.

  Sadly, your letter fails to allay the serious concerns which my client and I have expressed over several months at the manner in which this investigation is being conducted.

  On 29 June you sent me a questionnaire containing 48 questions which, in your letter of 4 July, you stated contained 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". As I have said before, the questions did not "contain" any evidence. Nevertheless, my letter of 5 July supplied answers to all of these questions save for five in relation to which you were requested to supply the evidence on which the questions were based. In your letter of 4 July you also said that having received Mr Vaz's answers you hoped to be able to report to the Standards and Privileges Committee.

  Notwithstanding the very considerable efforts which I and my client have made to meet all your requests over several months, you have continued to ask further questions and, apart from the material referred to in paragraph 1 of your letter of 18 July, (upon which I will comment in a further letter) have supplied no credible evidence to support any of the allegations.

  To proceed in this way is unfair and oppressive. I believe the time has now come for you to set out in a clear, complete and final form any evidence which you consider could justify any finding of misconduct by my client so that, in accordance with the final paragraph of your letter of 11 July, "he may comment on it or challenge it before I come to my conclusions or report to the Committee". Unless you are able to produce some evidence which would justify an adverse finding it seems to me that you cannot responsibly do otherwise than reject the complaints which have been made without further delay.

  I await hearing from you.

3 August 2000

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