Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Complaint to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards regarding Keith Vaz MP

A couple of days ago I posted a blog post containing my letter of 1st November 2014 to Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

I asked him to, at a minimum, make a public statement about his past associations which are relevant to his Committee's investigations into child abuse and in its prospective role of holding confirmation hearings for a successor to Fiona Woolf.

See
Keith Vaz must make a public statement on his past if he is to continue as Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee

I copied that letter by email to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

However, I was informed by the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that I had to submit hard copy including my signature before any complaint regarding Mr. Vaz could be considered by the Commissioner.

I sent the following letter to the Commissioner yesterday.

4th November 2014

To:
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
House of Commons,
London,
SW1A0AA

Dear Commissioner,

Keith Vaz MP
Child Abuse Inquiry: Undeclared interests

I write to ask that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards formally considers whether there has been a breach of Parliamentary Rules by Keith Vaz MP.

I ask that my letter of 1st November 2014 to Mr. Vaz be considered as a part of this letter.

My Concerns

Keith Vaz MP is currently Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Since 7th July 2014 the Committee has taken evidence relating to child abuse and/or the UK Child Abuse Inquiry on three occasions, respectively from Mark Sedwill (Permanent Secretary at the Home Office), Theresa May (Home Secretary) and Fiona Woolf (then Chair of the UK Child Abuse Inquiry).

It is my opinion that Mr. Vaz had personal interests with respect to child abuse and/or the Child Abuse Inquiry which he ought to have declared.

Those perceived interests are listed in my letter of 1st November.

In my view those perceived personal interests should have been declared at each of the three evidence sessions referred to earlier in this letter.

To the best of my knowledge Mr. Vaz did not declare the perceived personal interests.

Action Requested
I ask that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in the first instance acknowledge receipt of this letter and confirm that my letter of 1st November and consequent email interaction with Gwen Harrison will be subsumed into this Complaint regarding Mr. Vaz.

I also ask that the Parliamentary Commisioner for Standards formally considers

  1. Whether I am correct that Mr. Vaz did not declare the three interests referred to in my letter of 1st November. (Mr Vaz did declare an interest relating to the Law Society in the Fiona Woolf evidence session.)
  2. Whether Mr. Vaz had a duty to declare the perceived interests in order to comply with Parliamentary rules as they apply to Select Committees.
  3. Whether Mr. Vaz’s failure to declare the perceived interests was deliberate given that the three issues were drawn to his attention in July through social media.
For the avoidance of doubt my signature on this letter should be treated as applying to this letter and to the letter of 1st November 2014. I understand that it is a requirement of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that the parts of a Complaint be signed before she will consider the matter at issue.
Distribution
Mr. Vaz’s perceived undeclared interests are, in my view, a matter for significant public concern.
Accordingly this document is a public document.
I will place a copy of this letter on my UK Child Abuse Inquiry blog:
Of course, Mr. Vaz should be afforded the opportunity to identify any errors of fact in this letter or the letter of 1st November and should be afforded the opportunity to provide a credible explanation for the perceived failure to declare interests should he feel able to do so.
I would be grateful If you would acknowledge receipt of this letter and in that acknowledgement give me an indication as to the likely timescale regarding a decision as to whether or not this matter will be formally investigated.
I have provided the relevant information of which I am aware, but if you require clarification on any point please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you
Yours sincerely


(Dr) Andrew Watt
Enc: Letter of 1st November 2014 to Keith Vaz MP


The letter of complaint has been acknowledgeed.

In view of the absence of the Commissioner from the office it will be next week before there is any substantive progreess on my letter of complaint.




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