Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Response submitted by Mr John Maxton MP

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

It is with regret that I feel obliged to write directly to you concerning the above. As you will know Miss Filkin has been investigating this complaint since January 27th of this year.

I have seen the draft memorandum that has formed the basis for the report she has put before you. I believe that its analysis and conclusions are so unbalanced, biased and prejudicial that I am sending a full rebuttal directly to you. If as I suspect she has sent the same documentation to you as she sent to me the task you face is daunting but I would ask that you give very careful consideration to this matter.

Dr Reid has sent to you a legal opinion on the investigation from James Goudie QC and an analysis of the budget documents, which Miss Filkin claims are so relevant by a firm of Chartered Accountants.

While these specifically refer to the case against Dr Reid, their analysis of Ms Filkin`s investigation is at least as relevant to my case as to his. I would ask that you read these documents with particular care since they destroy Ms Filkin`s case against both of us. In particular I would refer you to those passages relating to Ms Filkin`s use of evidence and her reliance upon "balance of probability". (Goudie Page 42)

Miss Filkin is neither a lawyer nor an accountant nor has she at anytime during this inquiry sought the advice of either, except for that of the Chief Accountant of the House of Commons who did not support her.

Obviously in the matters I am raising with you I will limit my comments to the case alleged against myself.

In summary of the following documents I make the following points.

1.  I deny the allegations made against me by Mr Nelson in his original letter.

2.  The only evidence Ms Filkin had when she announced very publicly & damagingly on January 27th that she was beginning an enquiry into this allegation was a letter from Mr Dean Nelson, journalist with only second hand knowledge of the events he purported to describe. References in that letter to me were limited to two. I refer you to the original letter from Dean Nelson, Clause 67 of the Code of Conduct and my lengthy correspondence with the Commissioner on this matter. (Document 1)

3.  Miss Filkin has produced no evidence to show that I did not employ Mr Winslow within the rules laid down by the House of Commons. Examination of the "evidence" collected by Miss Filkin shows that only that of Mr Alex Rowley can in any way be considered to support the allegation made against me by Mr Nelson. Miss Filkin accepts his word of events and refuses to believe myself, Dr Reid, John Rafferty, Chris Winslow, Lesley Quinn, Annmarie Whyte and indeed the Chief Accountant of the House of Commons, Andrew Walker. (Document 2)

4.  Miss Filkin has produced a second charge to suggest that during the three/four weeks of the campaign for the elections to the Scottish parliament, my researcher, Chris Winslow, worked so hard for the Labour Party that he could not have worked for me at the same time. She produces no evidence to show that during this period Mr Winslow was not working for me even though he was working very long hours for the Labour Party. (Document 3)

5.  Miss Filkin gives considerable credence to the views of her witnesses. Is this justified and why does she do so? (Document 4)

6.  Miss Filkin has included in her memorandum a complaint about my behaviour to her during this inquiry. While I do not believe this has any relevance to the complaint, I will respond to it as she has presented it to you. (Document 5)

I do not believe that Miss Filkin has proved her case and ask that you refuse to accept her conclusions. If you do so I do not believe it would be right for you to publish her report as it could cause unjustifiable damage to my reputation.

I have asked that I appear before you to discuss this matter. However I wish the matter resolved as soon as possible as it has now been hanging over my head for 10 months. I made it clear that I wanted to meet you to discuss the manner in which Miss Filkin conducted her inquiry rather than the case itself.

My desire to see the matter resolved also means that my desire for two separate reports is not now relevant.

I do not believe that Miss Filkin has produced any evidence to support the allegation Mr Nelson made and thus the sooner you dismiss the case the better it will be.

19 October 2000

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