Memorandum submitted by the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Complaint against Mr Geoffrey Robinson
1. I have received a complaint from Mr David
Heathcoat-Amory, Member for Wells, against Mr Geoffrey Robinson,
Member for Coventry North West.
2. In his letter, dated 19 March 2001 (Annex
A), Mr Heathcoat-Amory asked me to reopen the inquiry conducted
by the Standards and Privileges Committee in 1998
into an allegation that Mr Robinson had failed to register a payment
of £200,000 made to him by Hollis Industries plc, of which
he was then chairman. Mr Heathcoat-Amory stated that relevant
evidence not available to the Committee in 1998 had been discovered
by Mr Tom Bower, a journalist, which had been published in his
book about Mr Robinson entitled The Paymaster.
3. The new evidence, as described by Mr
Heathcoat-Amory, consisted of an invoice sent from Mr Robinson's
home address to Hollis Industries claiming a "fee for management
of £200,000, on which were written, in different handwritings,
two notesthe first stating "paid" and the second
indicating that the fee was to be payable to Mr Robinson personally.
4. Mr Heathcoat-Amory's letter concluded:
"This constitutes almost irrefutable evidence
that Mr Robinson did indeed receive the disputed management fee
which he failed to disclose. In evidence to the Committee [in
1998] it is recorded that 'Mr Robinson gave a categorical assurance...
that he did not receive any benefit directly or indirectly in
respect of his chairmanship of Hollis."
"It would be an extremely serious matter if
it was now shown that Mr Robinson or his beneficial interests
had in fact received the £200,000 fee. In the light of the
new evidence I would be grateful if you would reopen the enquiry
into these matters and report accordingly to the Standards &
5. In a second letter dated 26 March 2001
(Annex F), Mr Heathcoat-Amory raised the question of whether Mr
Robinson had any unmet tax liabilities in relation to the payment
for management services.
Standard of Proof
6. The normal standard of proof in disciplinary
cases, including allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct
or of the rules relating to the conduct of Members, is the balance
of probabilityin other words: is the allegation more likely
to be true than not? However, in my consideration of this complaint
I have assured Mr Robinson that, since the allegations against
him are of a serious nature, the standard of proof I would adopt
would be stricter than that.
Report, HC (1997-1998) 975. Back
the document itself, this word appears in the singular (see
paragraph 17). Back