Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners,
I apologise for not having replied earlier to
your letter of 18 July. However, when you wrote that letter it
must have already been apparent that the Standards and Privileges
Committee would not be meeting again until the autumn and therefore
there was no need for an immediate response.
Sadly, your letter fails to allay the serious
concerns which my client and I have expressed over several months
at the manner in which this investigation is being conducted.
On 29 June you sent me a questionnaire containing
48 questions which, in your letter of 4 July, you stated contained
all the evidence "which might be at variance with Mr Vaz's
initial responses and on which I wish to have Mr Vaz's comments
before I report to the Committee". As I have said before,
the questions did not "contain" any evidence. Nevertheless,
my letter of 5 July supplied answers to all of these questions
save for five in relation to which you were requested to supply
the evidence on which the questions were based. In your letter
of 4 July you also said that having received Mr Vaz's answers
you hoped to be able to report to the Standards and Privileges
Notwithstanding the very considerable efforts
which I and my client have made to meet all your requests over
several months, you have continued to ask further questions and,
apart from the material referred to in paragraph 1 of your letter
of 18 July, (upon which I will comment in a further letter) have
supplied no credible evidence to support any of the allegations.
To proceed in this way is unfair and oppressive.
I believe the time has now come for you to set out in a clear,
complete and final form any evidence which you consider could
justify any finding of misconduct by my client so that, in accordance
with the final paragraph of your letter of 11 July, "he may
comment on it or challenge it before I come to my conclusions
or report to the Committee". Unless you are able to produce
some evidence which would justify an adverse finding it seems
to me that you cannot responsibly do otherwise than reject the
complaints which have been made without further delay.
I await hearing from you.
3 August 2000