Letter to The Lord Coe OBE from the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Thank you for your letter of 13 February and the
attachments concerning the William Hague Charitable Trust. I am
also grateful to you and Tina Stowell for coming to see me on
I am now writing to let you know that I have decided
that there are matters relating to Mr Hague's Register entry concerning
the Trust which I need to investigate further.
You have helpfully provided details of the payments
made to the Trust, together with confirmation that seven cheques,
made out to the William Hague Charitable Trust, were not cashed.
You have also listed three occasions on which Mr Hague's fees
were donated directly to the charity in question.
Your letter did not, however, deal with all the questions
in my letter to Mr Hague of 9 February 2001, in particular those
concerning the circumstances surrounding the establishment of
the Trust and the subsequent decision not to proceed with it.
For convenience, perhaps I should restate the key
questions as follows:
when was the
original decision taken to establish the Trust and who was involved
in the decision?
what formal steps, if any, were taken
to establish the Trust?
when did it first become clear that
the Trust "would prove too complicated to manage for the
small sums involved", as Mr Hague put it in his letter to
the Registrar of 7 February; and who was involved in discussions
about the Trust at that stage?
when was the decision finally taken
not to proceed with the Trust and who was involved in that decision?
how and to what extent, was Mr Hague
personally involved , or kept informed, at each of the stages
described in the above questions?
what was the reason for the switch in
policy between May and November 2000, namely from asking for Mr
Hague's fees to be paid to the Trust to asking for them to be
donated directly to individual charities; when was that decision
taken and by whom?
who, and on whose instruction, informed
the donors from November 2000 onwards to make cheques directly
payable to charities?
why were no steps taken to correct Mr
Hague's Register entry, at that point (ie when the decision was
taken to ask for fees to be paid directly to charities), or when
Mr Hague's entry was sent to him in December 1999 for checking
for the January 2000 printed edition of the Register, or on the
seven other occasions when he wished to update his Register entry
and was provided with the new printout for checking.
I would be grateful if in addition to providing specific
answers to these questions you would also let me have copies of
all correspondence, file notes etc which relate to the establishment
of the Trust and the subsequent stages in the process leading
to the decision to discontinue it.
You gave me some further background information at
our meeting and if Mr Hague wishes that information to be included
in his response, perhaps it could be added.
I am sorry to tell you that I have also received
a complaint on this issue from Mr Fraser Kemp. I enclose a copy
of his letter for Mr Hague and would be grateful if you would
include Mr Hague's response to this letter in the reply.
I shall be writing to Ms Lewis and Mr Kemp to inform
them that I am investigating this matter.
If Mr Hague, or you on behalf of Mr Hague, would
like to discuss this matter further, please contact me.
Please may I have a response by Wednesday, 21st February
2001 so that I may deal with the matter as speedily as possible.
14 February 2001