Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Mr Nigel Griffiths MP
I am writing to respond to the complaints you have
received from Jacqui Lait MP and Pete Wishart MP. The allegations
cover two headings:
1. Misuse of House of Commons funds.
I have supplied you with a letter from the Head of
the Fees Office which acknowledges that I own the property, confirms
that a fair rent is being charged and is acceptable to the Fees
Office, and that the Fees Office will continue to pay rent at
that rate (unless of course the House changes its rules). I have
supplied you with a copy of this letter as well as further information
2. Failure to register an interest in the ownership
of my constituency office.
As the newspaper articles state, the ownership of
the constituency office was lodged in the public register in Scotland
in 1997, but I accept the Registrar of Members' Interests ruling
that it should be registered in the Register, together with details
of other incomes received relating to the office. I have now followed
the Registrar's suggested wording. The entry was lodged in the
Register of Members' Interests on 11 December in the following
terms: "I own a property at 31 Minto Street, Edinburgh which
I use as a constituency office in respect of which I have received
a one-off payment from a Member of the Scottish Parliament for
the use of office facilities during the period of four years.
I also received small payments for occasional use by trade union
committees." The Registrar has informed me that the payment
from the House of Commons should not be registered.
I do not believe there are any matters arising from
non-registration on which I could be accused of speaking in the
House or outside, or lobbying or any other Parliament or extra-Parliamentary
activities to influence the House or its policies in any wayimproper
or otherwise. I repeat my regret at the failure to register these
matters with the House authorities at an earlier date and I have
apologized for this.
I hope you are able to conclude this matter speedily,
but if you require any further information, please do not hesitate
to contact me.
14 December 2001