Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report


Letter from Mr Ian Greer to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  As I am sure you are well aware, my company took legal action against The Guardian in 1994, following allegations of "cash for questions". Some two weeks ago, three or four days before the trial was due to commence, my attention was drawn by my accountant to the fact that Sir Michael Grylls, MP, may have received more referral payments from my company than I was aware of when I gave evidence to the Select Committee on Members' Interests in 1990. At that time, I stated that Member "A" (Sir Michael Grylls, MP) had received three commission payments, Member "B" (Neil Hamilton, MP) two and Member "C" (Michael Brown, MP) one. It has now become clear that Sir Michael may have received up to six payments for referral of business. The reason for the lack of clarity at the time I gave evidence - and indeed even today - is that, apart from the new business referral payments made by my company to Sir Michael, he was an adviser to the Unitary Tax Campaign (for which my company acted as secretariat) and received a regular fee from the Campaign. On a number of occasions, this fee was paid by IGA and recovered from the UTC. In addition, there were some instances where he was paid by IGA to carry out additional work on behalf of the UTC.

  It is against this confusing background that I gave evidence in all good faith to the Select Committee. You will, of course, be aware that Sir Michael made a full declaration covering both the UTC and IGA in the Register of Members' Interests.

  Sir Michael and I have been personal friends for 37 years and worked together on a number of occasions over that period. Our friendship was well known by the vast majority of his Parliamentary colleagues.

  I thought it important to bring this matter to your attention.

Ian Greer

14 October 1996

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