Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex N

Letter to Mr John Maxton from the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

Thank you for your letter of 25 July 2001.

I am afraid that there are several inaccuracies in the article which you copied to me.

The Commissioner had not commenced an investigation into any matters concerning Mr McLeish, therefore there is no question of any investigation being dropped.

The facts are as follows. A Member of Parliament raised a query with the Commissioner about Mr McLeish's affairs. With Mr McLeish's permission she was able to provide an answer to the query. The Member of Parliament then raised further questions. Mr McLeish provided full replies in correspondence with the Commissioner which was continuing on 8th May when the election was called.

Although no investigation had commenced, Mr McLeish has said that he wishes to inform the Commissioner when the matter is settled and provide her with confirmation from the Director of Finance.

The Commissioner reported this to the Standards and Privileges Committee on 18 July 2001 and said she would be informing the Member of Parliament when she received that confirmation from Mr McLeish. The Committee did not ask her to launch an investigation into these matters.

As you know, the situation is different in your case. The Commissioner reported to the previous Committee in April and May 2001 that she was undertaking preliminary enquiries into allegations that you had misled the Committee during their earlier enquiry. She said she was awaiting your response before deciding whether further investigation was required. I understand that you made no response to her enquiries.

The Commissioner reported this to the Committee on 18 July 2001 and asked for the Committee's decision as to whether she should continue her enquiries. As I informed you when we spoke on the telephone the Committee asked her to continue. The Commissioner has told me that she awaits responses to her enquiries.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Elizabeth Filkin.

August 2001

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