Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Annex 187

Letter to Mr Jonathan Upton from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

This letter is to confirm the meeting arranged with your office today for Thursday 20 April at 3 pm. I was sorry that illness prevented us meeting on 5 and 10 April. I do hope you are fully recovered as I understand you have had a particularly heavy workload since your return.

As I explained during our telephone conversation, I am investigating allegations that staff employed on Westminster allowances were deployed for some time on Labour Party campaign work for the Scottish Parliament.

So that I may decide whether these allegations have any substance, I would be grateful if you would bring with you on Thursday or send me the following:-

1.  Copies of all your documentary records concerning the employment of Mr Kevin Reid, Ms Suzanne Hilliard and Mr Chris Winslow during the years 1998-1999 including the dates they were employed by the Labour Party, the hours they were employed and whether the party was aware of other employment.

2.  The dates on which contracts were altered or switched in any way, the reasons for such changes and details of the requests, in writing or orally, which were made concerning any such changes.

3.  I understand that the changes which were made were built into the staffing budgets. Please would you let me have copies of these documents.

4.  I have also been informed that some of these staff were paid bonuses after the campaign was complete. Please would you let me know the basis on which the bonuses were calculated, the grounds on which they were awarded and the amounts paid to any of these three staff.

If you have other information which would help provide a complete picture of the employment arrangements for these staff perhaps you would let me have it so that I can ensure my report to the Committee on Standards and Privileges is completely accurate.

I am sure I do not need to inform you about the basis on which I ask for this information but for completeness I will add the standard information we provide. The House of Commons has conferred upon the Select Committee by Standing Order the power to send for persons, papers and records, and the Committee reserves the right to use those powers in furtherance of its own inquiries or the Commissioner`s if it should prove necessary to do so.

As you will appreciate, I am anxious not to prolong this investigation unnecessarily and would be grateful for this information on Thursday or as soon as possible.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday 20 April at 3 pm. Please come to the Reception in 7 Millbank where you will be met.

17 April 2000


 
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