File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
Having written the letter of 18 July 2001 to Mr Maxton
the office followed our usual practice as he had requested previously
of telephoning him to alert him to its imminent arrival.
5:30pm, 18th July, Mr Maxton telephoned me in response
to the message. I informed him that, at the Committee's meeting
today, I had been requested to follow up my preliminary enquiries
on this new complaint and I had therefore written to him to ask
him to reply to my letter of April 19th 2001.
Mr Maxton was cross. He said "What power do
you now have over me, I am now retired." I replied that I
had never had any power over him, I was only trying to carry out
my tasks. He said this was untrue, that I "had persecuted
me (him) for 18 months" and I could not now persecute him
as he was not now a Member of Parliament. That he would not reply
to my letters because there was no reason for him to do so now
he was not a Member of Parliament.
I explained that this was his choice but that I felt
he ought to have the opportunity to answer my letter of April
19th in the hope that he could settle the matter and that therefore
I would not need to take it any further.
He said this was quite untrue, that whatever explanation
he gave me, I did not believe him and reported this to the Committee.
He said "are you recording this conversation
as you always do?". I said "I have never recorded a
conversation with you."
Mr Maxton asked me who was the new Chairman of the
Standards and Privileges Committee. I said Sir George Young and
he said "I will speak to Sir George Young". I said he
was at liberty to do so but I had felt I should alert him to the
letter that was in the post to him. He said he was going on holiday
and would not receive any letter from me for fortnight and that
he would not be replying to it.
Mr Maxton said "what can the Committee do to
me now" and I said as far as I knew neither I nor the Committee
were trying to do anything to Mr Maxton, what they were trying
to get at was accurate answers on the matters which had been raised
which related to him. Mr Maxton said this was untrue, that I had
been trying to "get at" him for 18 months. I said I
was sorry that he felt like this as it was certainly not the case
but that I did have to bring this matter to his attention and
to the Committee's attention.
Mr Maxton said it was not the Committee's decision
to pursue this matter. He said the Committee had only taken this
matter forward because I had reported it to them. I said that
it was my duty to report on matters which were outstanding from
their last meeting. I assured him that it was a Committee decision
to take the matter forward now. He said he did not believe me.
Mr Maxton said there was no point in talking to me further and
he would talk to Sir George Young.