Response submitted by Mr John Maxton MP
My Relations with Miss Filkin during the inquiry
Miss Filkin has included in her draft memorandum
a section dealing with my attitude to her during the inquiry.
She has also included copies of letters, e-mails and notes of
phone calls she had with me.
Firstly I do not understand why she should do so
since it has no relevance to the allegations she has been investigating.
She does not suggest that I have tried to subvert her inquiry.
Unless she is implying that my attitude was governed by a sense
of guilt (which the correspondence between us clearly illustrates
was not the case) I can see no reason for making the remarks at
this stage. At a later date she may wish to complain about my
attitude and behaviour and I will certainly wish to complain about
Secondly she includes in the evidence provided notes
on telephone calls we had. She never told me she was doing so
which to say the least is discourteous. She did not provides the
notes to me immediately after the phone conversation to ask me
to check that they were accurate. Indeed some of the detail she
provides would imply she recorded our conversations without my
permission. They are her memory of phone calls made and do not
necessarily agree with my memory. The Committee will note that
while she includes notes on my calls (not all) she does not include
any record or notes of the extensive phone calls she had with
Mr Dean Nelson in which as she admits she discussed in detail
the evidence that she was collecting.
Since she has included this passage in the memorandum
with which you have been provided I will reluctantly respond to
her attack on me. She accuses me of being hostile and intemperate.
Those of you who know me will find this description difficult
to accept as I have a reputation for being too calm for my own
However after months of Miss Filkin`s refusal to
answer the simplest of questions I have to confess to becoming
increasingly impatient and even hostile. As I have stated earlier,
I asked Miss Filkin again and again for month after month to provide
me with the evidence that Dean Nelson has provided on January
27th which allowed her to state on television in Scotland that
she was undertaking an enquiry.
I pointed out to her again and again that under Clause
69 she had to have such evidence before instigating an enquiry
and that the letter from a journalist with only second hand information
and with only the baldest of statements about myself was not sufficient.
If you read our correspondence and other notes the
Committee will see that she refuses to answer the question with
anything but the blandest of remarks and she often distorts my
questions to give a different answer. She repeatedly suggests
that I quoted from Clause 67 concerning newspaper articles when
my concern was that part of that Clause relating to the Commissioner
Undoubtedly there were occasions when my frustration
at her arrogant intransigence led me to make remarks that were
stronger than I would like. If so I apologise to the Committee
However it is clear from paragraph 172 of the draft
memorandum that Miss Filkin believes that no Member of Parliament
should challenge the procedures she has adopted and that she is
somehow above and beyond the Code of Conduct under which she expects
Members to operate. As I have said earlier this cannot be the
case. I do not believe that my request for the information I sought
or the challenge I made to her to show that she had evidence to
support the allegations from a journalist were unreasonable and
well within my rights as a Member of Parliament.
I will not deal in detail with her other complaints
since they all stem from her unfounded belief that she is above
criticism. Certainly anyone reading her memorandum with an open
mind would see that she has made every effort to construct a case
against me even though she has in the long run failed to do so.
I have discussed this with other Members of Parliament and with
members of the Committee. Again I can see no reason why I should
not do so.
Miss Filkin ends the section on my behaviour by saying
that "I have not encountered such behaviour on this scale
by a Member of Parliament in any other investigation I have carried
She has been the Commissioner for two years. As such
she is an employee of the House of Commons if one in different
position from other employees. I have been a Member of Parliament
for 21 years and I have never before been treated by a member
of the House of Commons staff in the manner in which Miss Filkin
has treated me. Her arrogant refusal to answer simple questions
would not be tolerated from any other member of the House of Commons
staff and I can see no reason why it should be tolerated from
her. As she suggests members of the Committee should read our
correspondence to see that I had every reason to ask the questions
I did and to feel very frustrated and angry at the answers I was