Letter to Mr Keith Vaz MP from the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Thank you for your letter of 3 November 2001 which
we received in this office on 12 November and the copy of your
calendar for 2002. I have noted the contents of your letter carefully.
Thank you also for the copy of your letter to me of 6 August 2001
which had not reached me previously. I note the copy of the letter
to you from Brabners Solicitors concerning your contact with Mr
XY. Since I commenced this reply I have also received your letter
of 12 November and we have spoken on the telephone.
I am grateful to you for the information you have
provided in your letter and have noted the matters where you say
you will be providing a further response.
I now turn to matters which you raise on which I
feel I should comment. The numbers refer to your paragraph numbers.
Your letter of 3 November 2001
107/108 I have provided you and your solicitor
in writing with all the complaints which have been brought to
me. Since it has taken a considerable time to establish the facts
I have been obliged to collect information in relation to them
all. This does not of course mean that I have decided that any
complaints should be upheld.
112. I have provided you with copies of the
complaints from Miss Eggington and her statement.
115. I have of course questioned Miss Eggington
about your allegation that she telephoned your mother inappropriately.
122/140 As I said on the telephone, I regard
the consent form which I provided to you, signed by Mrs Williams,
as sufficient for my purposes in this inquiry. A further form
is not necessary for Mrs Williams and I do not regard some of
the points you include in your redraft of a consent form as relevant
to this inquiry. I will not therefore be sending your draft form
to Mrs Williams. If you wish to respond to the information I have
put to you which was provided to me by Mrs Williams please do
126. I enclose the printout from the BT Website
showing ABN's address as Teignmouth Road.
133. I enclose the forms which you requested
relating to Ms Coco.
142. You ask me to provide you with a timetable
for my report (memorandum) and I understand you are keen that
this matter is concluded. I share your wish. I am therefore in
the process of proceeding to draw up my report. I intend to provide
you with the draft in December and allow you a week to provide
your corrections and further comment.
Some items of information are still outstanding from
various people and I will incorporate them as they arrive. I will
then give you the complete draft report which will include all
the items of information which I consider relevant. This will
ensure you see in full all the information which I have thought
relevant along with my analysis of it before I reach any conclusions
on any matter. At that point you may wish to provide me with further
information, comment or corrections which I will consider carefully
and incorporate in my report where I am of the view that it is
necessary. I shall of course append your full response to the
report when I send it to the Committee so that they may scrutinise
my views and decisions on the material.
123. Finally I feel I must correct this point.
You say I withhold information until after my draft report is
published. This is not so. I have put the complaints with any
supporting evidence to you on receipt of confirmation from complainants
that they wish me to take matters forward. I have also put the
information to you which I have collected after I have considered
it and thought it relevant.
My draft report with all the information annexed
to it is not published. It is shown in confidence only to the
Member concerned. The draft does not contain any conclusions.
My draft report is not shown to the Standards and Privileges Committee.
My report (the memorandum) is finalised and my conclusions
are written after I have received the Member's corrections and
comments and any other information he/she wishes to provide to
me. When I send the completed report (memorandum) to the Committee
I also append in full the Member's response to my draft.
The contents of my report are not published
until the Committee agrees its own report and decides on a publication
date. My report (memorandum) is appended to the Committee's report
for publication. The Member is informed of the time and date of
the publication by the Clerk to the Standards and Privileges Committee.
The Member receives the published copy of the Committee's report
one hour before it is released to the public.
Your letter raises a number of questions which we
have already discussed at length over many months. I have made
it clear throughout that you are most welcome to have a further
meeting with me at any time to provide me with information to
assist this inquiry. Please contact my office to arrange a time
if you would find such a discussion helpful.
Your letter of 12 November 2001
I turn to the matters raised in your letter of 12
November 2001. You raise at 146 your letter of 6 August 2001.
As you know I received this letter for the first time on 12 November
2001 as an attachment to your letter dated 3 November 2001. In
my view I dealt with the points you raise some months ago as follows.
In my letter of 27 September 2001, responding to
your question at 25, I explained that I had not received your
letter of 6 August 2001 and I requested a copy. However, I answered
your question as follows:
"But to turn to your
question. You may of course make whatever comment you wish on
your employment by Richmond Council at the time when my husband
was also Chief Executive but from our discussion I thought that
we had agreed that this was an inaccurate and irrelevant story.
Moreover, when we met you told me that you had not given this
inaccurate information to the press and I accepted this.
When I said you should
consider dealing with the allegations raised in the media this
was a general invitation to provide me with accurate information
for the public record to set to rest matters raised in the media."
To repeat what I said on the telephone about documents
provided to me which I have sent to you. You are welcome to give
me any comment on them or none as you wish. I have set out in
my letters the matters on which I wished to receive comprehensive
answers from you. During this inquiry I have also stressed that
if you wish to set any other matters straight, in regard to your
obligations to Parliament under the Code of Conduct or Rules,
which have been raised in any quarter you are welcome to do so
in your responses to me. This invitation stands.
I would be grateful to receive any other information
you wish me to consider as soon as possible. I shall contact you
again to tell you the exact date on which I can give you the draft
15 November 2001