Letter to Mr John Maxton MP from the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Thank you for your letter of 18 April 2000.
As I said when we met and in my letters, I shall
provide you with any evidence which is at variance with your response
as soon as I have received it all. I am glad to be able to tell
you that only two items are now outstanding.
You are right in quoting the complaints procedure
and saying that I "would not normally regard a complaint
founded upon no more than a newspaper story as a substantiated
enquiry". As I have said, in my view the matters raised in
the complaint letter and the information provided to me did merit
further enquiry. I have also said throughout that because I am
making enquiries, even where these are lengthy, it should not
be taken to imply that a Member has broken the Code of Conduct
or Rules. I realise that this will be an unsatisfactory reply
for you but I very much hope you will bear with me and that I
will be able to contact you shortly after the Easter recess.
Finally, you have attached a note setting out complaints
which I have passed to the Clerk to the Standards and Privileges
Committee for him to put before the Chairman.
In the meantime we have never refused Ms Hilliard`s
subsistence claims. We have not received any such claim. Perhaps
Ms Hilliard got the impression from the Finance Office form that
she could not claim such costs and, if so, I am very sorry. She
may of course claim any such subsistence and she should let me
have a signed note of them and I will see she is reimbursed.
20 April 2000