Annex C: Letter from the Parliamentary
Commissioner to Sir George Young, 7 December 2006|
Complaint by John Mann MP and Kevan Jones MP
I have received a complaint from the above two Members
in which you are named (along with several other Members). I am
writing to inform you of the complaint and the evidence which
has been given to me, and to invite your response.
A copy of the letter of complaint from Mr Mann and
Mr Jones (dated 23 November) is enclosed.
You will see that the complaint focuses on the alleged misuse
of House of Commons dining facilities to raise money for the Conservative
Party. In particular it is claimed that certain dining clubs,
including Patrons' Clubs run by a number of Conservative constituency
associations, raise money for Party funds by offering their members
the opportunity to dine in the House, in the case of Patrons'
Clubs in return for an inflated membership subscription.
Paragraph 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members provides
"Members shall at all times ensure that
their use of expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided
from the public purse is strictly in accordance with the rules
laid down on these matters, and that they observe any limits placed
by the House on the use of such expenses, allowances, facilities
The relevant rules relating to the use of private
dining rooms at the House are to be found in the Banqueting Regulations.
I have enclosed a copy for your convenience. I draw your attention
in particular to Section 5, especially paragraphs 5.1, 5.3 and
The letter of complaint from Mr Mann and Mr Jones
was accompanied by a substantial file of supporting material.
I am enclosing a copy of the material from the file which particularly
relates to you. This consists of a copy of your constituency engagement
diary for 1999, which on page 4 indicates that you hosted a Basingstoke
Patrons' Club lunch at the House of Commons.
Based on this material, the essence of the complaint
which Mr Mann and Mr Jones appear to be making against you is
that Basingstoke Patrons' Club is a fund-raising device for the
Basingstoke Conservative Association, and that the lunch you hosted
at the House was not charged for at cost but was part of fund-raising
for the party. The implication they make is that you thus breached
paragraph 5.1 of the Banqueting Regulations, which provides that
the private dining rooms (and by implication other dining facilities
of the House) are not to be used for "direct financial or
material gain by a
As you know the Committee on Standards and Privileges
has decided that it will not normally be appropriate for me to
investigate a complaint that goes back more than seven years.
Since, however, I understand the complaint against you is already
public knowledge and the seven years passed only last summer,
I think it appropriate to write and give you the opportunity to
respond to the complaint. One matter it will be important to clarify
is whether you actually sponsored (ie made the booking for) the
lunch or whether you hosted it purely in the social sense.
In accordance with the procedures set out in the
I now invite your response to the complaint. As the outcome of
the complaints I have received is likely to turn in part on the
interpretation of the Banqueting Regulations to which I have already
referred, I am seeking advice from the House's Director of Catering
Services and the Clerk of the Administration Committee on the
issues raised. I am also checking with them whether the Banqueting
Regulations in force in 1999 were the same as are in force now.
I shall consider your response and their advice carefully
before deciding how to proceed.
If you would like a word about the complaint, please
do not hesitate to ring me on the number above.
100 EV1, p. 64. Back
Not printed. Back