Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex A

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

from the Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory MP

I write to ask that you reopen the enquiry into the £200,000 remuneration paid by Hollis Industries plc to its Chairman, Geoffrey Robinson MP, as recorded in the audited accounts of that company. Mr Robinson failed to declare that payment as required by the Rules of House and this was investigated by the Committee on Standards and Privileges in 1998.

In the Committee's report dated 14 April 1998 the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards at that time concluded that 'although there could be uncertainty on this matter, on the evidence I have seen I think the likelihood is that Mr Robinson did not receive payment of £200,000 and that the published accounts are in error.' The Committee on Standards & Privileges accepted that conclusion although it reprimanded Mr Robinson on other matters relating to registration.

Evidence has now been discovered by Mr Tom Bower that Mr Robinson was paid £200,000. In particular Mr Bower has an invoice which is reproduced on page 23 of today's Daily Mail disclosing the payment. This was sent by Mr Robinson from his home address to Hollis Industries plc claiming a 'fee for management services' of £200,000. On the invoice in manuscript are the words 'paid' and another note indicating that it was payable to Mr Robinson 'personally'.

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 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 & Privileges Committee.

19 March 2001

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