Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report


The Committee on Standards and Privileges has agreed to the following Report:—


1. We have considered a memorandum by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards relating to the complaint from Mr Dean Nelson, a journalist, against Mr John Maxton, formerly Member for Glasgow, Cathcart. The Commissioner's memorandum is appended to this Report.

2. We have considered the further information which the Commissioner has placed before us, which includes a letter which Mr Maxton wrote to the General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party on 10 November 1999.[2] After a thorough examination of this information, and after careful consideration of the Commissioner's recommendation that we take oral evidence on oath from Mr Maxton and several other possible witnesses, we have concluded that the evidential value of that which is now available to us, and which was not available to the former Committee, is not sufficient to justify a review of the conclusions which our predecessors reached in the Report[3] on the original complaint against Mr Maxton, which was extensively investigated by the Commissioner and where our predecessors rightly criticised the role of the press. We also felt that little purpose would be served by calling witnesses before us. Accordingly we have decided not to take this matter any further.

3. Mr Maxton has written to our Chairman to give his reasons for not responding to the letters he received from the Commissioner.[4] Our predecessors called attention to the conduct of Mr Maxton during the previous inquiry and expressed the view that, under the Code of Conduct, he should willingly have submitted himself to the scrutiny appropriate to his office.[5] We similarly expect a former Member of the House to co-operate with the Commissioner's inquiries. We regret his failure to do so.

2  Appendix, Annex B. Back

3  Second Report, Session 2000-01, Complaint against Mr John Maxton and Dr John Reid, HC 89 (2000-01). Back

4  Appendix, Annex P. Back

5  Second Report (2000-01), paras. 59-61. Back

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