Letter to Mr Keith Bennett from the then
Registrar of Members' Interests
Thank you for your letter of 20 April 2001 on Mr
I note what you say about the fact that Mr Vaz's
proposed visit during Easter did not in the event take place.
I can confirm that a donation of £500 to Mr
Vaz's election expenses in 1992 would not have exceeded the 25%
threshold and would therefore not have been registrable.
As regards the two donations "made some time
in 1993 and 1994", you state that these were registered by
Mr Vaz as "computer equipment donated by the Caparo Group"
and indeed such an entry appears in the January 1995 Register.
(I assume the Caparo Group is Lord Paul's company). As you also
correctly state, there was no printed Register in the calendar
year 1993, although a printed edition was published in January
1994. Whether these donations were correctly registered would
depend on whether they formed part of a single contribution to
Mr Vaz's office expenses (albeit made in the form of two separate
payments). Whether they were registered within the 28 day period
allowed for registering new interests would, of course, depend
on the dates on which the donations were received by Mr Vaz.
So far as the two donations appearing in the two
1997 Registers are concerned, one was attributed to Caparo and
the other to Lord Paul in Mr Vaz's Register entry. It could perhaps
be argued that, in terms of indicating the source of any possible
influence on Mr Vaz, it would have been better to have stuck to
the previous description of Caparo for the second 1997 donation
unless Mr Vaz was absolutely sure that the donation was made in
a purely personal capacity by Lord Paul. But I cannot speculate
as to what view the Commissioner or the Committee might take on
that point if a complaint were received.
As to your last paragraph, I think this may have
a bearing on registration issues in so far as Mr Vaz receives
hospitality from Lord Paul at the annual social gathering at the
Ambika Paul Children's Zoo. This would, however, only be registrable
if its value to Mr Vaz and his immediate family exceeded £240
and it was provided to him in his capacity as a Member, rather
rather than as a family friend.
I hope this is helpful. Please convey my good wishes
to Mr Vaz for a speedy recovery.
1 May 2001