Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 82A

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges from Mr John Maxton MP

As you know I have been the subject of an investigation by Miss Filkin for the past 6 months.

I am writing to inform you that I will not be in the House of Commons from July 3rd—July 24th. I have also told Miss Filkin that this is the case. Since I have very strong reservations concerning the way in which Miss Filkin has conducted this inquiry I do not believe it would be appropriate for the Committee to consider any report produced by Miss Filkin in my absence. Indeed, whatever the decision of the Report I would be grateful for the opportunity to appear before the Committee to discuss my reservations with them.

I am saddened and disappointed to learn that you have written to Ms Suzanne Hilliard ordering her to give information to Miss Filkin. You may recall that I twice spoke to you to express my anger at the way in which Ms Hilliard was being treated by Miss Filkin.

She insisted on calling to London from Glasgow Ms Hilliard, a 22-year-old student, four weeks before her final examinations. The girl was asked to pay her own airfare and then re-claim it. She was not allowed to claim subsistence even though she was away from home for more than 14 hours.

Before and during her finals Miss Filkin continued to pester Ms Hilliard for further information despite receiving letters from her lawyer on the matter. This caused considerable distress to a young intelligent person at a very important point in her life. The information that was being sought was to say the least trivial and of little importance to the inquiry.

I am therefore sorry that you should have considered it appropriate to write as you did to Miss Hilliard. The only letter she should be receiving from you or Miss Filkin is one of apology for the distress she has been caused.

I would be grateful if you could ensure this letter is distributed to all members of your committee.

Can I ask whether the Memorandum I wrote in response to the Ninth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges has now been sent to the other members of the Committee? I find it strange that correspondence that one Member of Parliament writes concerning the work of a Select Committee is not given to them.

28 June 2000

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