Annex A: Letter from Niven Sinclair to
Brendan Keith, Registrar of Lords' Interests, 14 April 2010|
The Earl of Caithness
You may recall that I wrote to you on 6th March drawing
your attention the apparent connivance of Lord Caithness in a
purchase which was aimed at the avoidance of Capital Gains Tax
which I considered fell within the seven principles which are
set out in the Code of Conduct expected from members of the House
Your reply of the 16th March intimated that my complaint
fell outside that Code of Conduct and, in consequence, the relevant
Sub-Committee on Lord's Interests and Conduct had no jurisdiction
to receive my complaint. As my complaint was clearly in the public
interest, I found your decision to be surprising but, perhaps,
the following information and attachments will fall within the
Code of Conduct for which your sub-Committee is responsible for
"Relevant financial interests
12. The following financial interests are always
relevant and therefore must be registered:
(a) any consultancy agreement under which Members
of the House provide parliamentary advice or services. A copy
of any such agreement, and the remuneration received by Members
for advice in relation to parliamentary matters, must be deposited
with the Registrar of Lords' Interests, so that details are available
for public inspection.
(b) employment or any other financial interest in
businesses involved in parliamentary lobbying on behalf of clients,
including public relations and law firms but Members of the House
involved with organisations that offer commercial lobbying services
are not obliged to refrain from participating in parliamentary
business in connection with all clients of that organisation but
only their personal clients;
(c) any remunerated service which Members of the
House provide by virtue of their position as members of Parliament,
and the clients of any such service.
(d) employment as a non-parliamentary consultant;
(e) remunerated directorships;
(f) regular remunerated employment (excluding occasional
income from speeches, lecturing, broadcasting and journalism);
(g) shareholdings amounting to a controlling interest;
(h) provision by an outside body of secretarial and
(i) visits with costs paid in the United Kingdom
and overseas, made as a Member of Parliament, except any visits
paid for from public funds"
It now appears that Lord Caithness has been hired
to conduct luxury 'castle tours' of the United Kingdom and of
Part of the 'castle tours' includes the following
"Meet the 20th Earl of Caithness, Malcolm Ian
Sinclair: Member of Parliament, Chief of Clan Sinclair, founder
of the Clan Sinclair Trust, and overseer of the restoration of
an incredible ancestral castle on the north Scottish coast.
The R Crusoe and Son sales pitch advises us to:
"Come along with Lord Caithness to meet his
colleagues, cousins, and friends in Scotland--- people who play
a significant role in the running of today's British Government
as well as in the preservation of Scottish history.
"We gather in London, England for a private
tour of Parliament with Lord Caithness, who introduces us to several
colleagues over lunch. The Lord Speaker, Lady Hayman, or the Leader
of the Conservative Party, Lord Strathclyde, joins us for a chat.
"Then we're off to Scotland. Edinburgh, first,
for a visit to the Scottish Parliament accompanied by the Member*
who represents Caithness and Sutherland, Lord Caithness's ancestral
turf. From our home base at The Balmoral Hotel, we day-trip outside
the city limits to Hopetoun House, whereafter a tour of
their homewe take lunch with Lord and Lady Hopetoun..."
- Departures: 15 May 2010
- Prices: Per person sharing room from $10,980
- Internal air per person $260
The member who represents Caithness and Sutherland
(and Easter Ross) is Viscount Thurso who was also a Member of
the House of Lords until he stood for Parliament and is now known
as John Thurso, M.P. He was also involved in the evasion of Capital
Gains Tax as he, too, is a Trustee of the Clan Sinclair Charitable
Trust which is under investigation by the OSCR (Organisation of
Scottish Charity Regulators).
It is clear from the foregoing that the Earl of Caithness
is being employed by R. Crusoe solely because he is a member of
the House of Lords and that he, Malcolm Caithness, is using that
position to show his clients around the Houses of Parliament and
to introduce them to such people as Lady Hayman and Lord Strathclyde.
Last year Lord Caithness made claims on the public
purse which came to £64,924. See attachment. Now he is aiming
to add to that sum by showing well-heeled clients around the House
of Lords privately and to give them lunch there. It is interesting
to note from the Lords' Hansard text for the 14th December, 2009
that Lord Caithness's principal contribution to the debate was
on the subject of expenses for (a) travelling and (b) for accommodation
in London. See attachment. Until comparatively recently, his only
accommodation was in London at ❨❨❨❨❨❨which is less than
15 minutes from Westminster.
Finally, by any criterion (whether written or otherwise)
Lord Caithness's arrangement with R. Crusoe & Son is a clear
abuse of his privileged position.
I trust action will now be taken to stop this further
erosion of the parliamentary Code of Conduct for which your sub-Committee
is responsible and which has become the subject of much public
debate and concern in recent months.
Appendices: T. Crusoe's castle-hopping (and
parliamentary) tour with Lord Caithness.
Hansard text for 14th December, 2009 with Lord Caithness's
contribution highlighted (Submitted but not printed).
The Lords of Excess (Submitted but not printed)
The Seven Principles of Conduct for Members of the
House of Lords (Submitted but not printed).
OSCR letter confirming that the Trustees of the Clan
Sinclair Charitable Trust have not acted in the best interests
of the charity (Submitted but not printed).
||Castle-Hopping through Northern
Scotland. Hosted by the Earl of Caithness.
Meet the 20th Earl of Caithness, Malcolm Ian Sinclair: Member of
Parliament, Chief of Clan Sinclair, founder of the Clan Sinclair Trust,
and overseer of the restoration of an incredible ancestral castle on the north Scottish coast.
||The man does have a full plate.
Not too full, however, to host a journey for R. Crusoe &Son. Come along with Lord Caithness to meet his colleagues, cousins, and friends in Scotlandpeople who play a significant role in the running of today’s British of government as well as in the preservation of Scottish history. There are ancient tales to hear, castles to see, people to meet....
We gather in London, England for a private tour of Parliament with Lord Caithness, who introduces us to several colleagues over lunch. The Lord Speaker, Lady Hayman, or the Leader of the Conservative Party, Lord Strathclyde, joins us for a chat.
One simply cannot miss the recently renovated Churchill Museum and War Rooms. We take a private, before-hours tour in the company of the museum’s senior curator.
On a specially arranged private visit, step inside the U.S. Embassy for a discussion of current British-American relations with embassy staffers.
While you’re in town, consider taking in a play inLondon’s legendary West End. We can help you secure tickets.
Then we’re off to Scotland. Edinburgh, first, for a visit to the Scottish Parliament accompanied by the Member who represents Caithness and Sutherland, Lord Caithness’s ancestral turf. From our home base at The Balmoral Hotel, Land travel Air travel we day-trip outside the city limits to Hopetoun House, whereafter a tour of their homewe take lunch with Lord and Lady Hopetoun.
Then north to Perth, where Scone Palace has long played an important role in Scottish history. Scottish kings came here for their coronations, seated upon the Stone of Scone (now on display in Edinburgh Castle). During our visit, we take morning coffee with Lady Stormont, daughter-in-law of the present Earl and overseer of the residence.
Blair Castle, next, home of the dukes of Atholl. Once again, history runs deep at Blair. Hear stories of the castle's families, the Stewarts and the Murrays, whose 19 generations have just about done it all. At the end of our tour, sit down to lunch at the castle.
On to Inverness, capital of the Scottish Highlands. Nearby, on the very site of the Battle of Culloden, hear the story of the decisive showdown in 1746 between the Jacobites and the royalists.
Cawdor Castle was built as the private fortress of the Thanes of Cawdor (consider rereading Macbeth). A massive exterior belies the cozy rooms of this 600-year-old beauty. We hope to spend time with the Countess of Cawdor, while we're here.
No visit to the Highlands is complete without a lesson on uisgebeatha, the "water of life," Scotch whisky. Have a taste, and see how it's made, at Glenmorangie Distillery.
Ackergill Tower is our 15th-century home-away-from-home for the remainder of the journey. Have dinner here with Lord Caithness's cousin, the Viscount Thurso, and his wife. The Viscount, a Member of Parliament, is the driving force behind northern Scotland's push for renewable energy.
Tour Dunbeath Castle, one of Clan Sinclair's ancestral homes with a story that stretches back to the early1400s. See Neolithic remains that dot the Caithness countryside. Sit down to lunch with Jonathon Clark, the senior archaeologist overseeing the restoration of Castle Sinclair Girginoe, Clan Sinclair Trust's most important project.
Contrast the life of the farmer with that of Scottish royalty on a visit to a croft cottage and then to Castle Mey, ancient seat of the Sinclairs of Mey and, more recently, beloved home of the Queen Mother.
Finally, to Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, where Lord Caithness spends much of his time directly involved in the rescue of this castle complex from the ravages of time. Accompanied by Lord Caithness and Jonathon Clark, we take in views of the castle from a boat on Bay Sinclair, then tour the site itself. During our examination of the site, we hear about the archaeological discoveries already made as well as the preservation work currently being carried out.
Join Lord Caithness for a formal farewell dinner at Ackergill Tower. Don't bother packing your tuxthe hotel supplies our kilts and sashes.
Post-Tour Possibilities in Scotland
Not quite done with Scotland yet? Who could blame you. We suggest that, following this once-in-a-lifetime tour, you continue on in one of two directions.
Love to golf? If so, play some of the world's finest courses. Gleneagles. Aberlady. St. Andrews. If one golfs, and other doesn't, don't despair. If touring is your thing, there is plenty to do and see in the local countryside.
Another possibility is a few utterly indulgent days aboard The Royal Scotsman, a 35-passenger Orient-Express train that winds through the Highlands. The onboard luxury is Edwardian through and through. We offer a two-night and a five-night departure, both leaving Edinburgh on Wednesday, 26 May 2010. All aboard!
To request a detailed itinerary for this journey (and others), click here.
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