Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex D

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

from Mr Nigel Griffiths MP

[Handwritten note by Mr Nigel Griffiths: "Draft only—awaiting more information from Fees Office"]

Thank you for forwarding a copy of the complaint by Jacqui Lait MP. This is the first notification I have had. I became aware of these allegations through the Scotsman newspaper which published a story last Wednesday remarking that I had used my Constituency Office during the election without the permission of the Fees Office or paying for any associated costs. I knew the financial aspect of the complaint was false because in almost every year since I was elected, I have contributed several thousands of pounds to the costs of running my office.

I immediately contacted Mr Archie Cameron in the Fees Office to ascertain the facts, and I attach the statement I agreed with Mr Cameron confirming that over half my non-staff costs last year were met by me, and not by Parliament.

Allegation 1:  Use of Constituency Office without informing the Fees Office. I accept this and have apologized.

Allegation 2:   Failing to reimburse the Fees Office for any 'political' use of the Constituency office. I reject this as untrue, and submit both the statement I agreed with Mr Cameron on Wednesday and the summary of the OCA balance for 2000/01 which Mr Cameron supplied me with.

For your information, the amounts I have contributed to the OCA are as follows:

2000/01        £21,392.14p

I regret that at no stage has Ms Lait had the courtesy to alert me to her complaint, since I would have been pleased to have the Fees Office provide her with this information.

I hope that you are able to reach a conclusion by verifying this information with the Fees Office today and confirm that you will not need to investigate this further. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

5 November 2001

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