to Mr George Galloway MP from the Chairman of the previous Committee
on Standards and Privileges
The Committee on Standards
and Privileges have made a preliminary examination of the report
they have received from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
in respect of the complaint made by Mr Charles Hendry. The Committee
have asked me to write to you to ask for further information to
assist them in reaching a conclusion.
The questions arise from
the material submitted by Mr Hendry to the Commissioner supporting
1. The Committee are not
clear about the exact services which you provided to the Committee
for Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), or to its Director Dr
Saad Al-Fagih or to Mr Al Mass'ari. Did any of these services
relate in any way to your position as a Member of Parliament?
When did the services you provided begin and when did they end?
Did the issue of the payment of remuneration to you or fees to
Hawk Communications for those services ever arise?
2. What has been the total
amount of expenses both taxable and non-taxable paid to you or
to any company with which you are associated by the CDLR, Dr Al-Fagih,
Mr Al Mass'ari or by any person associated with them: when was
the first payment of expenses made and when was the last? Did
you (or did Hawk) keep any record of expenses and of payments
3. On what date did you last
act or correspond in the name of, or on behalf of, any organisation
by the name of Hawk Communications or Hawk Communications International
either incorporated or otherwise?
4. What was your relationship
with Hawk Communications International? What was the role of
the other directors? How much of the share capital did you own?
Did the company ever transact business? Did you at any time
receive payments from the Company? What payments were made into
Was there in practice
a difference between your interests and those of the company?
5. In the interview Mr Al
Mass'ari is reported as saying (at line 187):
"He was sending out
the reports with a cover letter from himself in the House of Commons
envelopes ... there were hundreds maybe thousands, definitely
thousands UK addresses were considerable. The international ones
were not free.
So he would give us the envelopes
and we just put them in and sent them out".
Did you use the free postal facilities
provided to Members in connection with any of the services provided
to the CDLR, Dr Al-Fagih, or Mr Al Mass'ari or to circulate material
which they originated?
6. What services have you
provided in the Palace of Westminster to the CDLR, Dr Al Fagih
and Mr Al Mass'ari? Were any payments made to you or to Hawk
in connection with those services either by way of reimbursement
of expenses or in any other way?
It will be very helpful
to us if your able to let us have your responses by the end of
September, so that we have them for when we meet again after the
7 August 1996
from Mr George Galloway MP
I was disappointed to receive
your letter dated 7 August 1996 but received only today, on the
subject of my relations with the Saudi opposition. I had thought
that I had cleared all these matters up with Sir Gordon Downey
and indeed he told me that having looked at these matters he would
be recommending that this issue be closed.
The complaint against me
by Mr Charles Hendry MP, the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative
Party is unfounded.
You ask about "services"
"provided to" the Saudi opposition. This formulation
is wrong. I am a political activist and I have been wholeheartedly
involved in their activities, and I continue to be until now.
I was active in their campaign before I ever met the two gentlemen
referred to and I will remain active whatever happens to them.
I never received any remuneration
or any expenses within the meaning of the term as understood by
either the Inland Revenue or the Standards and Privileges Committee.
Because of this I declared no interest in the House and neither
did I keep a record of my activities with them.
Hawk Communications was
set to provide professional campaigning services for those causes
in which its founders believed. There were five people involved
in the company each investing £1,000 each. Almost all of
this was spent on a visit to Palestine and on a large stock of
headed note paper, compliment slips and envelopes which remains
in my office until today. The company had no staff and no address
other than a post box at an address in Glasgow and at a similar
address in Jerusalem.
In the end it never traded
and no payments were ever made into the company from anyone or
No taxable expenses were
ever received by me or any company with which I am associated
from either CDLR or any person associated with them. As I have
repeated Ad Nauseum in the papers already before you the only
monies which passed from their hands to mine were those required
to pay bills incurred by them through me.
A good example is the conference
held in April 1995 in the House of Commons which I paid on my
credit card to the banqueting office and they reimbursed.
I used House of Commons
note paper and envelopes to correspond with British companies,
the British media, and British politicians in order to circulate
my views about the correct public policy for Britain towards Saudi
Arabia. I was in control of that circulation.
On your last point, I am
not sure what you mean by "services in the Palace of Westminster".
I have made use of my Parliamentary position to denounce the
absolutist directorship in Saudi Arabia and advance the cause
of democratic reform there. I do not regard these as "services"
to anyone within the meaning I imagine your committee envisages.
I reiterate that I did so out of my strongly held beliefs and
received no financial rewards. If I had I would have declared
In conclusion I have to
say, as I said to Sir Gordon Downey, I think it is more than a
little ironic that the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party,
whose ranks include members who have grown exceedingly rich as
a result of their close relationship with the blood-stained tyrants
in Riyadh, should be pursuing me as a result of my unpaid support
for those fighting for elected accountable government in Arabia.
I do hope that this concludes
this matter, but should you wish to see me to discuss these matters
further I will be happy to meet with you.
With best wishes.
14 August 1996