My concern is that Keith Vaz MP lied to Gideon Benaim, solicitor to Sir Cliff Richard.
My complaint to Ms. Hudson takes no explicit position on the allegations relating to Sir Cliff Richard.
My view on that is the same as view on any such allegations - that they must be investigated honestly by the Police.
Here is the text of my letter to Kathryn Hudson:
15th June 2015Kathryn Hudson,Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards[By email]
Dear Ms Hudson,
Complaint regarding Keith Vaz MP – that he lied to Gideon Benaim, solicitor to Sir Cliff Richard
I write to make a formal complaint regarding the conduct of Keith Vaz MP.
Briefly, I believe that Keith Vaz MP lied to Gideon Benaim, solicitor acting on behalf of Sir Cliff Richard in respect of allegations relating to child abuse.
I believe that Mr. Vaz’s conduct is contrary to Pargraph 10 of the Rules of Conduct.
For convenience I repeat the text of Paragraph 10 here:
10. Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.
Brief summary of events
It may assist you if I briefly summarise the sequence of events that may be relevant to your investigation into this matter.
The following is the sequence of events as I understand them.
I do not claim that this brief summary covers all relevant issues.
- The Home Affairs Select Committee published (with minor redactions) a letter from Chief Constable Crompton of South Yorkshire Police to Mr. Vaz relating to an investigation into allegations relating to Sir Cliff Richard.
- Mr. Benaim wrote to Mr. Vaz to complain that Chief Constable Crompton’s letter had been put into the public domain.
- Mr. Vaz wrote to Mr. Benaim claiming that the Home Affairs Select Committee had always published all correspondence sent to it.
The words attributed to Mr. Vaz were as follows:
“Unless a letter or document is marked private and confidential it has always been the policy of the committee to publish whatever we receive.”
I contacted Mr. Benaim and in the conversation which followed concluded that Mr. Vaz had been accurately reported.
The word “policy” may bear either of two possible meanings:
- That a policy existed e.g. in writing to the effect that the Committee had a duty to publish any correspondence not marked private and confidential
- That a practice existed to the effect that the Committee had an invariable practice to publish any correspondence not marked private and confidential
In the remaining part of this letter of complaint I will disregard any policy and/or practice as they may apply to letters marked “Private and Confidential”.
Characterisation of Mr. Vaz’s lie
It seems to me that there are two possible ways of characterising Mr. Vaz’s lie to Mr. Benaim:
- That Mr. Vaz lied about the existence of a publication policy, or
- That Mr. Vaz deceived Mr. Benaim by dishonestly misrepresenting the practice of the Committee, with respect to the application of any publication policy that may or may not exist
A lie about publication policy?
Does a publication policy exist indicating that the Home Affairs Select Committee invariably publishes all letters sent to it?
I am aware of none and can find no published information to that effect that such a publication policy exists.
I am copying this letter to Andy Boyd, Senior Committee Assistant to the Home Affairs Select Committee, asking to see such a policy document in the event that it should exist.
A lie about the apprlication of any publication policy?
It matters litle whether or not a written policy exists.
It is not the practice of the Home Affairs Select Committee invariably to publish correspondence sent to it.
There are several examples of such failures in my knowledge.
I will give one example.“Corrupt relationship” between Deborah Glass and the Metropolitan Police
On 10th June 2014 I wrote to Mr. Vaz a letter (with 10 Annexes) relating to a corrupt relationship that existed between Deborah Glass, then Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and the Metropolitan Police Service.
The letter and Annexes were written evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry entitled “The work of the Metropolitan Police”.
Among the senior officers aware of that “corrupt relationship” were Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey.
My letter of 10th June 2014 was not published by the Home Affairs Select Committee
Contrary to Mr. Vaz’s lie to Mr. Benaim it is not the invariable practice of the Home Affairs Select Committee to publish correspondence sent to it.
AdministrationWhen I submitted my complaint of 6th November 2014 regarding Mr. Vaz you insisted that you would not look at it without a signed version of the complaint.
You will, I feel sure, recognise my email address from which I am sending the present complaint.If you wish to be pedantic and insist on signed hard copy of this Complaint then please let me know at your earliest convenience.
This letter is a public document.
I am placing a copy of it on my UK Child Abuse Inquiry blog, since Mr. Vaz’s lie arose in the context of an inquiry into alleged child abuse by Cliff Richard.
This letter is copied to Andy Boyd, Senior Committee Assistant to the Home Affairs Select Committee who informed me that he had forwarded the letter of 10th June 2014 and Annexes to Mr. Vaz, in an email timed at 10:26 on 10th June 2014.
The letter is also copied to Michael Doherty who, so I understand, can also provide evidence that the Home Affairs Select Committee fails to publish some correspondence sent to it.
With respect to correspondence from Mr. Doherty I understand that at least some of it relates to serious concerns regarding the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Actions requested of you
I ask for early acknowledgement of receipt of this complaint regarding Keith Vaz MP.
I also ask that you fully investigate the complaint that Mr. Vaz has lied to Sir Cliff Richard’s solicitor.
Given that you have made a public statement regarding the investigation into Alastair Carmichael MP I ask that you do the same with respect to this complaint regarding Mr. Vaz.
Thank youYours sincerely
(Dr) Andrew Watt
CC Michael DohertyAndy Boyd, Senior Committee Assistant to Home Affairs Select Committee
EncLetter of 15th June 2015 to Andy Boyd, Senior Committee Assistant to Home Affairs Select Committee