Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 19

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP

Thank you for your letter of 5th June 2000 and the answers to the queries I raised.

I am reassured to some extent that circulation of the material I was concerned about has been restricted to Mr Maxton and that you have placed him under some duty of confidentiality. You will appreciate I would rather this material had not been circulated outwith your office at all and that the material I referred to does not bear on Mr Maxton at all.

As to the other matter concerning witnesses I am still somewhat uncertain. Your previous letter, of course, did not request me to refrain from speaking to witnesses, but to anyone at all apart from my legal advisers. I am grateful this has now been clarified.

However, while I understand you may use your standard clause regarding discussions in respect of witnesses I of course am not a witness but the subject of the complaint. Inability on my part to contact people will hamper preparation of my response to you. If you do so wish to apply your standard clause to me notwithstanding then I must ask you again for the source of this power. I will also need to know who the other witnesses are so that I do not approach them inadvertently. As you are doubtless aware Mr Rowley has approached me on more than one occasion to speak about the complaint. It did not occur to me then that he was breaching some requirement you had placed on him. Where do I stand if others contact me?

I have to say that your suggested date of 12 June for my response is looking rather difficult to meet now. Again a speedy reply to this letter as well as yesterday`s letter will help the preparation of my response.

7 June 2000

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