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
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)
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