Letter to Mr John Maxton MP from the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Thank you for your further letter of 20 June. I must
say I am loath to become involved in a series of exchanges of
correspondence about procedures and individual witnesses` evidence
which, in essence, are covering the same points as before. Indeed,
I had understood your letter of 4 June to be your full, formal
response to my written questions.
However, in an effort to be helpful, let me repeat
the following essential principles governing the way I have proceeded
with my investigation in so far as your own position is concerned:
(i) I have already put
to you all the evidence I have so far received which may be at
variance with your own account. What you have received from me
are the formal statements made to me by witnesses which they have
confirmed as correct and are prepared to repeat to the Committee,
if necessary; you also have, in the transcripts, my own questions
to those witnesses. I do not consider that you need to see any
informal information given to me by witnesses on which my questions
to them were based as it is only the confirmed information which
is in question.
(ii) I have reached no conclusions on the relevance,
importance or credibility of any evidence and will only do so
when I am satisfied that I have obtained all the information I
need. As I have told you on several occasions, a number of pieces
of evidence are still outstanding and I will put these to you
if they appear to be at variance with your account as soon as
they are given to me.
(iii) I will send you a draft of my report before
I reach my conclusions and before I submit it to the Committee.
You will be able to challenge or comment on my draft and I will
make sure that any such response you care to make is included
in my report to the Committee.
To deal briefly with some of your specific points:
I have noted your explanation for the notes in the
Scottish Labour Party budget documents which refer to Mr Reid`s
and Mr Winslow`s employment by Dr Reid and yourself. I am still
awaiting clarification on this point from the Scottish Labour
I felt obliged to ask you about the alleged dismissal
from the Labour Party of certain witnesses to my inquiry since
you have said in your formal response paper that 3 out of 4 had
been dismissed and you felt you "appear to be the unlucky
and unwitting victim of a grudge". It seemed from your comment
that you regarded this as an important point. Since you had mentioned
the matter I felt it necessary for me to know precisely to whom
you were referring and the circumstances in which the alleged
dismissals took place.
Any delay in my investigation which has occurred
since April, when I first offered to meet you, has occurred solely
because evidence from certain witnesses which had been promised
by them has still not reached me. I am taking steps to expedite
I hope that I will be able to draw up my report in
the near future. I trust that now you are aware of the reasons
for the delay you will understand why I am unable to meet the
timetable you request.
I note that you will be out of the country from 3
to 24 July. I would be grateful for information as to how to contact
you during that period.
22 June 2000