Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 45

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

  As I will shortly be bringing to a close my inquiries into the complaints against Mr Vaz by Mr Milne and others, I thought that I should write to you to give Mr Vaz a final opportunity, before I prepare my report for the Standards and Privileges Committee, to deal with any outstanding matters.

  My analysis of the correspondence between us indicates that a substantive response from Mr Vaz is still awaited on the following points:

    (a)  Mr Zaiwalla's statement that his office cash books show payments to Mr Vaz of £250 in January 1993 (described as "K Vaz MP, office account") and £200 in September 1994 to publishers Wildberry (described as "K Vaz—calendar") [see my letter of 11 July 2000]. Mr Vaz has said (your letter of 17 July 2000) that Mr Zaiwalla's accounts are a matter for him but I am asking Mr Vaz whether he can shed any light on the purpose and status of these payments, given Mr Zaiwalla's statement that they were both linked to Mr Vaz. In particular, would Mr Vaz please tell me whether he received these payments from Mr Zaiwalla or can confirm that these payments were made.

    (b)  My questions 7, 24, 26, 31 and 45, originally included in the questionnaire prepared for the meeting with Mr Vaz on 3 July, then put again in my letter of 11 July. Mr Vaz has repeatedly asked for the evidence on which the questions are based. I believe that my letter of 18 July dealt with that point, but in any case, I need to have Mr Vaz's response to these specific factual questions. Mr Vaz has all the information he needs in order to respond "yes" or "no" (or more fully, if he wishes) to the allegations contained in these questions, the truth or falsity of which must be known to him.

    (c )  Mr Attwall's statement that on 31 December 1992 he made a payment of £1,000 by cheque made out to Mr Vaz personally, which he understood to be a donation to the Labour Party. I have told Mr Vaz that Mr Attwall has supplied a photocopy of the relevant cheque stub (No 003086) and of his bank statement for January 1993 showing that the cheque was cashed on the 7th of that month. I do not believe that it is necessary for Mr Vaz to see the photocopies of the cheque stub and bank statement in order to be able to provide any comment he may wish to make on this information.

    (d)  Questions 4 to 8 under the heading "Further Questions" in my letter of 18 July. Your letter of 17 August promised a detailed letter in response to mine of 18 July. However, your letter of 22 August did not deal directly with these "further questions" but instead summarised Mr Vaz's response to the numbered complaints set out in my letter 7 June. May I please have Mr Vaz's answers to the specific further questions in my letter of 18 July?

        In relation to Question 8, I have been provided with copies of letters which Mr Vaz sent to Members of the Labour Party seeking support for a 100/50 Club Lottery to finance premises and an organiser post and Mr A Gratrix has informed me that Mr Attwall contributed £250 to the premises fund. Did the 100/50 Club Lottery have a separate bank account? If so, may I have copies of the statements detailing payments in and out. I would be glad to receive Mr Vaz's comments on Mr Attwall's donation to the premises fund.

    (e)  Mr Vaz's comments on the various transcripts of interviews which I sent to you with my letter of 18 July. May I assume that Mr Vaz does not wish to make any observations on these transcripts?

    (f)  Mr Vaz has said that the donation which Mr Kamal made, he believed, to Mr Vaz must in fact have been a contribution to the Labour Party and I have asked Mr Vaz to provide the relevant extracts from the Labour Party's bank statements to support his view. I repeat this request.

  It is possible, depending on replies still awaited from certain witnesses, that I may need to put one or two further matters to Mr Vaz for his comments. In the meantime, however, I would be grateful for Mr Vaz's response to the outstanding issues set out above, in order to enable me to bring my investigation to a speedy conclusion. When I receive Mr Vaz's response I hope to be able to prepare my draft memorandum for the Standards and Privileges Committee. When I have done that I will let Mr Vaz have sight of it so that he can provide me with corrections of fact and any further comments he wishes to make. Having considered any further comment from Mr Vaz I will come to my conclusions and submit the completed memorandum to the Committee.

3 October 2000

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