Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 58

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

Thank you for your letter of 18 April 2000.

As I said when we met and in my letters, I shall provide you with any evidence which is at variance with your response as soon as I have received it all. I am glad to be able to tell you that only two items are now outstanding.

You are right in quoting the complaints procedure and saying that I "would not normally regard a complaint founded upon no more than a newspaper story as a substantiated enquiry". As I have said, in my view the matters raised in the complaint letter and the information provided to me did merit further enquiry. I have also said throughout that because I am making enquiries, even where these are lengthy, it should not be taken to imply that a Member has broken the Code of Conduct or Rules. I realise that this will be an unsatisfactory reply for you but I very much hope you will bear with me and that I will be able to contact you shortly after the Easter recess.

Finally, you have attached a note setting out complaints which I have passed to the Clerk to the Standards and Privileges Committee for him to put before the Chairman.

In the meantime we have never refused Ms Hilliard`s subsistence claims. We have not received any such claim. Perhaps Ms Hilliard got the impression from the Finance Office form that she could not claim such costs and, if so, I am very sorry. She may of course claim any such subsistence and she should let me have a signed note of them and I will see she is reimbursed.

20 April 2000

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