Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex J

Letter to Lesley Quinn, The Scottish Labour Party, from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


You will recall that I requested your assistance with the above inquiry and you provided me with information. I am sorry that I need to bother you for further help.

I received a complaint in April 2001 alleging that Mr John Maxton mislead the Standards and Privileges Committee during that inquiry and that the Labour Party withheld key documents from me.

On 18 July 2001 the Standards and Privileges Committee decided that I should approach those who may be able to provide me with information. A decision on whether a full investigation is necessary will then be taken.

I have been provided with a copy of a letter dated 10 November 1999 from Mr Maxton to you. (I attach a copy of the letter). Please would you let me know the following:

1.  Who wrote "Copy: All Staff" in handwriting on this letter?

2.  Please list names of people to whom it was copied? Who copied it? Was it sent with a covering letter? If so, please provide me with a copy of the covering letter.

3.  What help did Mr Maxton's staff provide to you, during which time periods and for what purpose?

4.  Mr Maxton says he has "always thought that MP's should look at their resources and find ways to help the Scottish Party". To what resources does he refer? What sort of help did Mr Maxton believe MP's should provide?

5.  Which colleagues do you understand did not agree with him and why? Please give names.

6.  This letter appears to relate to the period of my previous inquiry. If this is so, why did you not draw it to my attention at that time?

(You will recall that during our discussion on 30 March 2000 I asked you whether I "had alerted you to other things you feel that I should be told to give me a proper and whole picture.")

7.  Mr Maxton thanks you for a letter which you sent him thanking him for his "help with staff over the past years." Please provide me with a copy of the letter to which he refers.

If you would prefer to discuss these matter in the first instance, perhaps you would telephone my office to arrange a convenient time for us to meet.

May I remind you not to discuss this letter with anyone other than an adviser.

I look forward to hearing from you.

23 July 2001

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