Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 53

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

I write to confirm I have received your most recent letter.

I can see little point in seeing you next Monday if you insist that you would then wish to see me again. Since the only evidence I have so far is Mr Nelson`s original letter that contains a completely unsubstantiated allegation, I cannot see what we would discuss at that meeting.

Once you have obtained the evidence you are still seeking, please send to me, in writing the evidence you have received. If you are unwilling to let me have all the evidence I do insist that you send me a list of all the witnesses from whom you have received evidence. Where you have interviewed witness please tell me who. Please also tell me when the interviews took place.

It would be for my convenience if you could give me a list of the questions you intend asking in the first insistence. Obviously you make then ask further questions in response to my answers.

Once I have received this information I will decide whether I will meet you or whether I will request a meeting with the committee.

I note that your only response to my request for the evidence Mr Nelson provided on January 27 in support of his allegation is to repeat, "I have listened to the tapes". Firstly listening to tapes is not evidence in any form that would be recognized by any body legal or otherwise.

Secondly and more importantly you wrote to me on February 4th 2000 and said, "Mr Nelson has provided the information in this letter and has informed me that he has taped interviews which corroborate his allegations. I have asked him for that evidence."

It is clear from that quotation that one week after announcing you were carrying out an inquiry, you had not heard the tapes or received any further evidence from Mr Nelson. He had not provided you with the tapes as you requested nor has he done so since. Thus you had NO evidence, only an unsubstantiated allegation from a journalist, when you very publicly announced that you were undertaking this inquiry. If this is not the case please let me have the evidence Mr Nelson provided on January 27th, which led you to start the inquiry.

I have, perhaps wrongly, co-operated with you in your requests for information. I have given you my version of events but you constantly fail to tell me anything.

Please let me have the above information as soon as possible so I am able to make decisions on my future actions.

12 April 2000

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