Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 38

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr John Maxton MP

Thank you for your letter of 16th February. I apologise for the delay in replying but I had to take advice and as you will appreciate I am very busy. I have noted its contents.

I will be able to give you a response to your original letter early next week.

I am concerned, however, that you have failed to answer most the points I raised with you in my most recent letter.

My major concern is the fact that you appear to be carrying out an investigation into Mr Nelson`s allegation against me on the basis of a bald statement of accusation from someone who is at best a second hand witness to the events he purports to describe.

Surely it is not for you or indeed me to prove the allegations false but for him to prove that they have some substance before you start any investigation at all. So far he has singularly failed to do this yet you appear to be working on the assumption that he has at least made a case for investigation.

I note your statement that you do not provide either side with details of my contacts during an investigation. Firstly that makes it clear that you are undertaking an investigation on the flimsiest of evidence. Secondly you make it clear that you consider there are two sides. Thirdly that may be true of third parties in the investigation but cannot be true of the original accuser.

So I ask again what further contact you have had with Mr Nelson? How many phone calls have been made by you to him or visa-versa. Have you seen Mr Nelson and if so what did you discuss? In particular has he made any statements on the provision of the tapes as he promised? If not, how long to you intend to wait before deciding that there is no case for me to answer? It is now FOUR WEEKS since Mr Nelson made his original accusation.

I will write to you again next week.

23 February 2000

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