Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex ii64

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Keith Vaz MP

Thank you for your letter and your confirmation that you have now been in touch with Geoffrey Bindman. In order that I can give you as much information as possible and that the information is full and accurate, and also to ensure that there are no outstanding maters I would be most grateful if you could clarify the following points:

25. Please will you let me have a response to my letter of 6th August 2001as to what information you would like from me regarding my relationship with your husband Michael Honey. You had asked me for a "paragraph" on all the newspaper articles that have appeared. One of those articles as you know deals with my relationship with Mr Honey. What precisely would you like me to say in relation to what was written in The Times about this. Is it your wish that I should clarify matters with Richmond Council? I would not like this to resurface after your report has been concluded.

26. From the correspondence it appears that Mr Peen wrote to you in January about his complaint. Is there a reason why this was not brought to my attention and that of the Committee until after the first inquiry was concluded?

27. I have just re-read the Code of Conduct which you sent to all Members for the submission of their forms following the election. The Code states that the Commissioner does not entertain complaints about the way in which Members handle casework. As you know I have supplied you with my complete casework file, however for completeness I would like to know why this matter is being investigated as of course it will have implications for other Members and also the wording of the Code.

28. When I spoke to Mr Sandall a few months ago he informed me that the Committee does not normally entertain complaints that are over 7 years old. The complaint from Mr Rowbotham relates to matters over 14 years ago and is based on the evidence that Peter Soulsby gave to the Committee, evidence that was not substantiated. Neither you nor the Committee felt this was worth pursuing.

29. What is Peter Soulsby's status in the current inquiry? You need to be aware that I have had several meetings with him since this inquiry has begun. If he is a witness I need to be made aware of this.

* * *

31. I realise that you have stated that you have not as yet decided to pursue the complaints of Mrs Eggington, however I would be grateful if you could let me know if you have met her and whether the meeting predates her interview with the Mail on Sunday.

32. Could you also let me know if you entertain complaints that are made by or on behalf of people who have received payments from newspapers.

33. Could you let me know if you entertain complaints from people who are mentally ill.

34. Finally a number of journalists have claimed to have spoken to you about me following the publication of the first report. Is this correct?

I am sorry to bother you but I want to be absolutely certain that I have covered everything.

21 September 2001

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