Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report



e) Sir Peter Hordern

  642. Sir Peter Hordern was employed as a consultant to House of Fraser between 1982 and 1991 at a salary, according to Mr Al Fayed, of £24,000 per annum. Throughout this period, Sir Peter registered his interest under the "Employment or Office" category as "Consultant to House of Fraser plc". He was not, at that time, required to declare the amount of his payments and did not do so.

  643. Sir Peter received other benefits from Mr Al Fayed, including accommodation, with his wife and daughter, at the Ritz hotel in Paris in 1988 and a stay, with his wife, for a few days at Balnagown Castle at the same time as the Hamiltons in 1989. Sir Peter claimed that the Ritz stay had been undertaken at the "most pressing invitation" of Mr Al Fayed, who wanted Sir Peter to satisfy himself that, contrary to the assertions of Lonrho, the Al Fayeds had the resources to invest in House of Fraser and, in particular, Harrods.

  644. Sir Peter did not register these benefits. He maintained that the rules in force at the time did not require him to declare them separately, since his overall interest in House of Fraser was already a matter of public record in the Register.

f) Sir Michael Grylls

  645. The nature and purpose of the various payments made to Sir Michael Grylls by Mr Greer and the Unitary Tax Campaign have already been considered in the context of the allegations relating to a "slush fund" operated by Mr Greer using money provided by Mr Al Fayed.[303]

  646. Sir Michael's failure to register the commission payments he had received from Mr Greer separately (that is to say in a form which distinguished them from his declaration of a general interest in respect of IGA and/or the Unitary Tax Campaign) was the subject of an inquiry by the Select Committee on Members' Interests in 1990.

  647. Since Sir Michael has prayed in aid the report of the Select Committee, published in July 1990, as confirming that he had not committed any breach of the rules of the House relating to registration, it is worth recording the Committee's main conclusions. These were that:

    -    it might not have been readily apparent from the categories contained in the introduction to the annual Register that commission payments of a minor or casual kind should be registered;

    -    there was no doubt in principle that such payments should be registered and the Registrar had reminded Members of this in his annual letter in December 1989;

    -    there had been no "clear infringement of the rules";

    -    Sir Michael's registration entries were "insufficiently detailed";

    -    the Register was devalued if entries within it were incomplete or misleading;

    -    it would have been better if Sir Michael had made an entry along the lines of "Single payment(s) for the introduction of a client to Ian Greer Associates".

  648. It should also be recorded that, in addition to understating the number of commission payments from Mr Greer, Sir Michael, in his evidence to the Committee, did not mention the fact that he had received, and was still receiving, three other types of payment linked directly or indirectly to Mr Greer, namely: fees from the Unitary Tax Campaign (Mr Greer's clients); fees in connection with his services on behalf of UTC which were paid by Mr Greer and recovered from UTC; and "top-up" fees from Mr Greer for the UTC work.

  649. This omission on Sir Michael's part has to be seen in the context of the facts that:

    -    Sir Michael's reply to the original complaint (which alleged non-registration of an introduction fee from Mr Greer) made no reference to individual payments but claimed that his interests in relation to Mr Greer had been fully declared; and it set out his Register entries for the relevant years;

    -    the Registrar's letter to Sir Michael following up that reply asked whether "the payments" (presumably any payments covered by Sir Michael's IGA-related Register entries) related to UTC.

g) Lady Olga Maitland

  650. The allegations against Lady Olga Maitland are twofold, and were set out in the book Sleaze:

      (i)    that in 1992, before she was elected to the House, she received £3,000 from Mr Greer in return for services she had provided, including lobbying the government of Kuwait for payment of a debt owed to Mr Greer; and that this payment was not registered;[304]

      (ii)  that, after her election, she lobbied on behalf of the Royal Marsden Hospital, including through the tabling of a Parliamentary question and the initiation of an Adjournment debate, knowing that the hospital was a client of Mr Greer and that both she herself and her husband had benefitted from commission payments from Mr Greer.[305]

    651. Lady Olga's explanation in respect of the first allegation was as follows:

    -    in late 1991 and early 1992 she intervened on Mr Greer's behalf with the Kuwaiti government;

    -    on 31 January 1992 Mr Greer wrote to her to say that the money owed to him had come through and enclosing a cheque to her for £2,000, which was later topped up with a further cheque for £1,000;

    -    on 9 April she was elected to the House for the first time;

    -    later in 1992 Mr Greer asked her if, in order to help him keep his books in order, she would send him an invoice for the £3,000;

    -    as both the work for Mr Greer and the payment for it occurred before she was elected, no question of registration arose.

  652. On this point, I noted that the invoice was curiously worded and could be interpreted as indicating that the work to which it related was performed at about the same time as the invoice was rendered.

  653. On the second allegation, Lady Olga stated:

    -    her campaign on behalf of the Royal Marsden was entirely a constituency matter, and nothing to do with Mr Greer's engagement as a lobbyist by the hospital;

    -    when she initiated an Adjournment debate on the subject she did receive briefing material from Mr Greer, but no payment was either sought or received.

  654. The Official Report indicates that no declaration of interest was made by Lady Olga in introducing the Adjournment debate on the Royal Marsden on 29 January 1993. It was The Guardian's contention[306] that Lady Olga should have disclosed what, in their view, was the relevant fact that she had a financial relationship with Mr Greer, who had been retained to lobby on behalf of the hospital.

h) Mr Gerald Malone

  655. The allegations against Mr Malone are that:

    -    shortly after that meeting he spoke to the Secretary of State on Mr Al Fayed's behalf (as evidenced by a letter from Mr Greer to Mr Al Fayed, dated 13 November 1985, in which Mr Greer said that Mr Malone "spoke to me yesterday after he had talked to Leon Brittan"). The letter added that Mr Malone's suggestion of a letter to the independent directors of The Observer "was considered to be a good and worthwhile idea";

    -    in May 1987, as a reward for those actions he received £1,000 from Mr Greer as a donation towards his election campaign funds;

    -    the donation was not registered.

  656. Mr Malone's response to the allegations was that:

    -    the meeting on 11 November 1985 with Mr Al Fayed was felt by officials to be a courteous response to a request for a meeting with the Secretary of State; Mr Malone reported the gist of the discussion with Mr Al Fayed to Mr Brittan and, as far as he was concerned, that was the end of the matter;

    -    the ultimate origin of the £1,000 donation from Mr Greer to his 1987 election fighting fund was not disclosed to him;

    -    his recollection was that the donation had been described as being "biased towards marginal seats"; he had been unaware of any association between the money from which the donation came and Mr Al Fayed; and he did not make any connection with the meeting with Mr Al Fayed some 18 months before;

    -    he had not been in a position to register the donation - even if it had qualified under the 25 per cent rule - since he was not elected in 1987 and did not return to the House until 1992.

  657. On Mr Malone's final point, the position is that his declared expenses for the 1987 election were £5,022.78 and that, accordingly, a £1,000 donation represented just under 20 per cent of the total.

See paras 236-271. Back

304  Sleaze, p 118. Back

305  Sleaze, p 139. Back

306  See Appendix 32. Back

previous page contents next page
House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1997
Prepared 8 July 1997