Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex P

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

I write as a matter of courtesy to explain to you and the Committee why I have not responded to the letters received from Miss Filkin.

Firstly may I thank you for the letter you wrote to me concerning the article on the BBC website. Perhaps you could ask Filkin's staff to explain the quotation "her remit only extends to MPs". Did they say it and if not why has there been no rebuttal of it as it is important to her work?

Turning to the reasons why I have not responded to the requests for information from the Commissioner.

Firstly Miss Filkin has never believed anything I have told her nor believed anyone else who supported my version of events including the Director of Finance for the House of Commons, Andrew Walker, and the Head of the Fees Office, Archie Cameron. On the other hand she has taken almost without question everything said by those who gave very flimsy evidence against me.

Secondly too often my affairs appeared in the press during the inquiry Miss Filkin undertook last year. It is to the eternal shame of the last Committee that they failed to investigate these leaks. Some of these involved clear breaches of privilege as when parts of the Report appeared in the Sunday Times prior to its receipt by the Committee. The article was in part written by the original complainant and the complainant in the present inquiry who was in regular contact with Miss Filkin throughout the inquiry.

Thirdly I do not believe the letter that Miss Filkin has produced adds anything whatsoever to the case that was dismissed by your predecessors in the last Parliament. In passing I would ask that the Committee consider whether it is ethical for a complainant who is a journalist to make a complaint and then write an article in which he prejudges the inquiry. Everyone else involved in an inquiry is told to speak to no-one about it. That should apply to the complainant and if it is broken as it was in this case (I enclose a copy of the article[18]) the Commissioner should inform the complainant that she can not proceed with the complaint.

Fourthly it is a basic rule of British justice that once found not guilty a case cannot be reopened.

8 October 2001

18  Not printed: article by Dean Nelson headed "Scots Labour MP 'misled' sleaze probe". Back

previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 31 October 2001