Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report


Letter from Mr Ian Greer to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  You will recall that I wrote to you in October last year, pointing out that in preparation for the libel trial, The Guardian's solicitors had, on examination of IGA's financial records, discovered that six or seven referral payments for the introduction of new business, had been made to Sir Michael Grylls, over a period of several years.

  This information conflicted with the evidence I gave to the Select Committee on Members' Interests in 1990, when I stated that three referral payments had been made by my company to Sir Michael. I had relied on the information provided by my bookkeeper, which subsequently proved to be wrong.

  It was not my intention to be anything other than frank with the Committee.

  Having informed the Committee that I had made referral payments to Members of Parliament, and having been told that there was nothing wrong in so doing, there would have been no advantage to me in understating the number of referral payments made. I feel, however, that I should take full responsibility and offer an unreserved apology to the Committee for my carelessness.

  In my letter to you of 14 October, I also made reference to the fact that Sir Michael had been paid a regular fee by the Unitary Tax Campaign (UTC) for the work that he had undertaken in their interests. The campaign was a very demanding one and Sir Michael spent an increasing amount of time on it. However, the Campaign Committee did not have the funds to pay Sir Michael a fee reflecting the work involved. I therefore agreed to pay him a "top-up" fee specifically and solely for the UTC activities.

  He was at no time a director of, or a consultant to IGA and therefore I believed that his declaration of "UTC" in the Members' Register of Interests was appropriate, albeit it was obviously his decision.

  May I again offer my apologies to the Committee for not explaining the UTC relationship between Sir Michael and IGA. On reflection, it was an error on my part and one that I greatly regret.

11 February 1997

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