Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr John Maxton MP
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 16th.
My questions to you were questions not observations
and I expected answers to them not further evasions. In particular
you cannot say that you had informal conversations with witnesses
and then use material gained in these informal interviews during
the formal questioning of other witnesses. I am entitled to know
who told you that Suzanne Hilliard allegedly said, "I have
got Maxton`s money" if you intend to put Miss Hilliard`s
transcript as evidence before the Committee.
There is little point in asking you further questions
because as has been the case since January 27th, you will refuse
to give me straight answers. I do however want to know why, if
you were prepared to meet me on April 17th on the basis that you
had nearly completed your investigation why two months later you
are still seeking further information. I can only conclude that
none of the evidence you have collected so far even remotely proves
the allegations made against me. Certainly none you have sent
me does so.
Normally two exclamation marks after a sentence indicate
irony. When I said that I solemnly promised not to contact or
intimidate witnesses I was being sarcastic. It is very insulting
that you should imagine that I would even consider intimidating
Turning to your specific points
1. I can only tell you
again that I was not involved in any discussions on these budgets
and have no knowledge of them. I cannot comment on Mr Rowley`s
interpretation of them as I have never discussed them with Mr
Rowley. It is his opinion. It obviously it is not supported by
any other employee of the Labour Party or I presume you would
have sent me that evidence. I had to briefly discuss this with
Labour Party officials on receipt of your letter since they were
the only ones who could give me any information.
They inform me that the reference in the notes is
to explain that my employment of Chris Winslow allowed him to
work for the Labour Party. In other words he could not afford
to live on the salary paid to him by the Labour Party. Having
two employers allowed him to work for both. It may be that this
whole absurd episode comes from that obvious misunderstanding.
2. I was astonished to
read that you do not appear to know anything of relations between
your main witnesses and the Labour Party. I cannot give you details
as I was not involved in any staff matters relating to the Labour
Party. However Paul McKinney, Alex Rowley and Willie Sullivan
all left the Labour Party before this inquiry started. My source
of information is the Scottish media which described all three
as having been sacked. (I enclose a press cutting concerning Willie
Sullivan which also makes reference to Alex Rowley and John Rafferty.)
As I have informed you I am in Scotland all this week and therefore
not able to access the Library facilities. I am sure if you were
to ask them to do a media search on these three they would be
able to show you what happened in each case. Of course John Rafferty
was also dismissed as Special Advisor to Donald Dewar.
I am surprised you never asked any of them why they
had left their employment with the Labour Party. Surely such facts
were relevant to your investigation.
I repeat again that the material you have sent me
contains no evidence to substantiate the allegation made by Dean
Nelson or indeed to prove any wrongdoing on my part. Indeed my
legal advisors find it laughable that you should take six months
to collect so little. I therefore insist that you bring the matter
to an end and inform the Committee next Tuesday that you are dismissing
the case against me.
As I have told you I am not in this country from
July 3rd to July 24th.
20 June 2000