Letter to the former Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Adrian Flook MP
I wondered if you would investigate whether Mr Archy
Kirkwood MP, a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, breached
the rules of the House in a way that can only be regarded as a
It appears that he did not rigorously declare payments
made to him by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd between 1989
and 1992, nor in 1997, and make an unambiguous statement about
what the monies he received were used for. Mr Kirkwood also appears
not to have declared in the Register of Members Interests that
he was a director of the same company in every Register since
1985 when he took on this position.
Specifically there is some ambiguity concerning the
money declared in the Register of Members Interests of October
1997 as it does not tally with the description in the accounts
of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, which relate to the same
The Register has 'contribution to election expenses'
while the Accounts refer to it as 'research assistance and publication
costs.' I believe that this discrepancy needs some clarification.
This discrepancy may also call into question whether
Mr Kirkwood's election expenses accurately reflect the contribution
of the 'research assistant' to electoral campaigning in the run
up to the 1992 and 1997 elections.
Also somewhat ambiguous are earlier entries in the
Register between 1989 and 1992 as it is not entirely clear what
the role of Mr Paul Jacobs, who worked in Mr Kirkwood's constituency
office, actually was.
I am concerned that Mr Kirkwood, a Parliamentary
Commissioner and is someone who should be more aware of the rules
of the House, failed to register a payment within the four weeks
required as seems to have been the omission in the January 1990
Register of Members Interests.
Equally, I am also concerned that payments of £12,716,
which appear in the accounts of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust
Ltd for 1992, were not declared within the stipulated four weeks.
I also understand that Mr Jacobs, whose work benefited
Mr Kirkwood directly, was also given severance pay of 3 months
salary following the 1992 election; yet this does not appear in
any of the Registers for December 1992 or throughout 1993.
I regard these omissions by a senior MP as a serious
breach, which undermines the respect and probity of the House
Finally, I would like to seek assurance from the
office of the Commissioner that Mr Kirkwood has fully and accurately
registered every aspect of relevance with the Registrar.
19 January 2002