Letter to the former Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Archy Kirkwood MP
Thank you very much for your letter of 30 January.
I have been abroad with the Work and Pensions Select Committee
for some days and have been unable to reply earlier.
I am intending to make a response to your points
as a matter of urgency, although you accepted that it would take
some time to do so. I am also intending to convene a meeting of
fellow directors of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust in order
to deal with the matters which are relevant to the company and
to obtain any available relevant documents.
I wonder if you can help me on a number of matters
which arise from your letter.
In your letter of 30 January you seem to indicate
that my letter to you of 27th January was not a comprehensive
reply to the complaints which were made. I thought it was. Could
you let me know what matters require further elucidation. It may
be that you have done so in your list of written questions and
if that is so perhaps you could let me know and I will confine
my attention to them.
At our meeting we discussed the proposition that
an MP who was on the board of a company or charity would have
a duty to register every payment made to a third party because
he or she may derive some interest from it. If that is so, then
a large proportion of the membership of the House must be remiss.
Can you let me know if you have ever made a ruling on this issue
so that I may check the terms in which it was stated. I should
add that the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has provided you with
a schedule of the grants which have been made shortly after the
directors approved the audited accounts each year. We first sent
them to your predecessor Sir Gordon Downey in 1998 for the year
1997 and have continued to send them to you each year. As far
as I know you have never queried any of the items, but perhaps
you could confirm.
Finally, can I raise with you the discussion we had
about the fact that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
does not investigate matters more than seven years old. You told
me that this was so, subject to certain exceptions such as intimidation
of witnesses. Can you confirm that there are no suggestions that
any of these exceptions apply in my case and, if that is so, I
am not clear why I am being asked to deal with matters which are
13 years old? Perhaps you could explain?
I look forward to hearing from you.
12 February 2002