Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex i1

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Andrew Lansley CBE MP

In the Third Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, in paragraph 101 of that Report, it is recorded that Mapesbury Communications Ltd was established by Mr Keith Vaz with the objective of supporting his work with the Asian Community and to receive his income from the Annual Calendar together with all income he received from outside Parliament.

Paragraph 107 notes that Mr Vaz's Register entries have never contained any reference to Mapesbury Communications Ltd.

Pursuant to your investigations, I further note that you asked a number of questions of Mr Vaz in your letter of 14 March 2000 (Annex 18 of Volume III). Question 6 related to an allegation, inter alia, that Mr Vaz had failed to register a substantial donation from the Hinduja Brothers.

In his reply, Mr Vaz told you, "no donation has ever been made by the Hinduja Brothers".

Paragraph 57 of the Committee's Report further records that Ms Fernandes showed the Chairman and the Clerk of the Committee a list of the sources of payments of £1000 or more into Mapesbury Communications Ltd.

The accounts of the Hinduja Foundation, as supplied to the Charity Commissioners for the year 1995 record, under a heading 'Vaswani Lecture and Reception' which includes five other lesser payments, shows a payment of £1196.10 to Mapesbury Communications Ltd on 6 July 1995. I enclose a copy of these Accounts.

The Hinduja Foundation was wholly controlled by three Hinduja brothers, Trustees of the Foundation. In 1995, Mapesbury Communications Ltd was a potential source of revenue to support Mr Vaz's Parliamentary Office (although he denies deriving any benefit from this source).

I am writing to ask if you will investigate this aspect of Mr Vaz's conduct, since the payment from the Hindujas Foundation in 1995 to Mapesbury Communications Ltd, could have given rise to a benefit to Mr Vaz and should therefore have been registered.

In my view, Members of Parliament, in order to meet their obligations under the Register of Members' Interests and Code of Conduct, should not only provide full and accurate answers to questions posed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards or the Committee, but should strive not to provide answers that could be misleading to the Committee. On the face of it, Mr Vaz's reply to you was accurate only on the basis that the Hinduja Foundation is not interpreted as the Hinduja brothers; that Mr Vaz did not, and could not have benefited from the payments to Mapesbury Communications Ltd, or that the transaction was irrelevant since the payment solely reimbursed costs incurred and did not include any element or profit payment in respect of Mr Vaz's own time. All of these are arguable propositions or unsubstantiated.

The failure to provide sufficient information regarding this payment, either in Mr Vaz's letter to you, or as information supplied about Mapesbury Communications Ltd, could have had the capacity to mislead, or to frustrate the purpose of your investigations and so, therefore, I would also ask you to examine whether this constitutes a matter which should be reported to the Committee.

19 March 2001

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