Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 24

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

Thank you for your letter of 20 June. I am afraid I must now say that I am increasingly reluctant to be drawn into further protracted correspondence about detailed matters of procedure and individual witnesses` evidence which seem to me to be going over the same ground. Rather than responding point by point to your letter, therefore, may I instead simply repeat the key points, namely:

    (i)  You have received from me all the evidence put to me by others which may be at variance with your own account and to which I need your response before I can complete my investigation (I have promised to let you see any further evidence of this nature which I may receive).

    (ii)  Mr Nelson`s complaint formed the basis for my investigation: that has not changed.

    (iii)  I have not reached my conclusions as to the relevance, importance or credibility of any evidence which may appear to be at variance with your account and I will not do so until I have received your responses to my written questions. No inferences on this point can be drawn from the number of times I saw or spoke to a particular witness: usually a single conversation was sufficient for me to obtain the full facts but in other cases subsequent clarification or additional information was needed.

    (iv)  I shall provide you with a copy of my draft report so that you will have a further opportunity to challenge any of the material or my analysis before I come to any conclusions on these allegations. I will only then present my report to the Committee and will include any response you wish to make in the light of my draft.

I do hope this is helpful and that you will let me have your answers to my question as soon as possible. If you would prefer to answer them in person and discuss these matters with me, I would be glad to see you.

22 June 2000

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