Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners,
Thank you for your letters of 9 and 27 November.
While I accept that there may be an irreconcilable
difference of opinion between us as to the propriety of your procedure,
your view that you are undertaking a mere "fact-finding"
exercise is untenable and even if correct could not conceivably
justify throwing to the winds the most basic procedural safeguards,
as important for a Member of Parliament as anyone else whose reputation
and career are vulnerable to false or malicious accusations.
Your own statement in the Committee's Ninth
Report makes it quite clear that your function is to investigate
complaints and then only when they have substance. It is surely
obvious that your investigation must be limited to matters relevant
to the complaint and that ordinary principles of natural justice
must apply to your procedures, including, in particular, disclosure
of the evidence on which you rely. I have elaborated these points
ad nauseam in previous letters, yet you have repeatedly ignored
In relation to the Sunday Telegraph, you appear
to be saying that an unidentified document, unsigned and unheaded,
making allegations against my client, arrived out of the blue
from the paper. You say "I am not aware of any accompanying
document". How do you know it came from the Telegraph? If
the journalists are not the complainants, who is? If you regarded
the document as supporting an earlier complaint, what was the
complaint? Your memorandum says you do not accept anonymous complaints.
Why accept this one? Please supply copies of all documentation
supporting the complaint.
Your inquiry has now lasted for 10 months and
it is difficult to see why it is still going on. My client is
confident that he has answered all relevant questions and is not
prepared to answer further questions merely "for the sake
of completeness." Of course he will gladly answer any questions
the Committee may have. The questions in your letter of 27 November
explore matters which are far removed from any allegation of wrongdoing.
I again invite you to consider the final paragraph of my letter
of 3 August and to acknowledge that Mr Vaz is entitled to be completely
exonerated without further delay. I await your draft report as
soon as possible.
4 December 2000