Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex D: letter from Sir George Young to the Parliamentary Commissioner, 11 December 2006

Complaint by John Mann & Kevan Jones

Thank you for your letter dated December 7th about the above.

I see that their letter refers to "actual and possible misuses" of Parliamentary facilities. So far as the events on June 29th 1999 are concerned, there appears to be no evidence of any misuse. Rule 5.3 that applied at the time says that it is appropriate for the private dining rooms to be used for party political functions—subject to the declaration of interest and to rule 5.1 (which was more loosely drawn than the current one).

As the photocopy of my diary makes clear, I attended a large number of functions in 1999—as indeed other MP's would have done. With the passage of time, I fear my recollection of the event has faded. But, with the help of my diary, I believe the following to be what happened.

Basingstoke had its own Conservative MP at that time—Andrew Hunter. I believe he would have booked the room, sponsored the event, and sent out the invitations for his Patrons Club. His Association is an entirely separate organisation from my own (North West Hants) and I have never had any direct involvement in its organisation or fund-raising. I would not normally have attended his Patrons' events and certainly had no direct interest in them.

Looking at my diary for June 29th 1999—a copy of which I enclose[102]—I see I was scheduled to have lunch with [….], from the Sunday Express. This has been crossed out and "Hunters Patrons" inserted. What I believe may have happened is that, at short notice, Andrew Hunter found he was unable to attend himself. The event needed an MP to be present—otherwise it would have had to be cancelled—and he asked me to stand in for him. This I did, cancelling my lunch with the journalist, and I subsequently put the event, along with all my other engagements, on my diary on my website.

I hope this enables you to deal with the complaint, Andrew Hunter, as you know, is no longer in the House but his address is [….].

102   Not printed. Back

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