Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 59

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr John Maxton MP

I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 20th April.

It is very clear that you had no evidence, as would be understood by any normal person, from Mr Nelson except his letter prior to announcing that you were undertaking an inquiry.

I thus make the following observations.

Firstly it is extremely doubtful that you have the authority to undertake an inquiry into Members` Office Costs Allowances.

Secondly you were in breach of Clause 69 when you informed me on January 27th that you were undertaking an inquiry in that you had no evidence to support an unsubstantiated allegation.

Thirdly you were in breach of Clause 67 by seeking the evidence yourself rather than waiting for Mr Nelson to supply it. I quote from your letter of 16th February:—

"In this case the complainant said that the other people mentioned in the letter which you have seen would be able to give me an account of these events, and, as is my usual practice I am asking them to assist my enquiry by setting out the facts as they know them."

Fourthly you were also in breach of Clause 69 in that you did not wait for a response from myself before beginning your inquiry. Indeed in the radio interview you did for NewsDrive Scotland on January 27th you clearly state that you would ask for my views and only then decide whether further investigation was needed.

I am aware that I am making serious allegations and am thus copying this letter to the Chairman of the Committee and to Madam Speaker for their information.

1 May 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 22 December 2000