Vaz & Bercow – open letter to PSC

Pre-amble – Vaz’s behaviour is a potential threat to National Security, he cannot control his own sexual behaviour & prioritises this over the public interest. Bercow Is utilising his power as Speaker of the house to suppress open, objective & honest debate about the matter. It  is in the public interest to know if our MPs are compromising themselves and potentially national security! Any member of the public can write to the Parliamentary standards committee to launch their concern, complaint or allegation, the email address is below, the rest is up to you. An open copy of my letter to the parliamentary standards commissioner is below. Feel free!

Email: standardscommissioner@parliament.uk

Dear Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

I write to express my concern regarding the conduct of Keith Vaz MP and John Bercow MP, whose recent actions I consider to constitute a failure to act in accordance with the code of conduct for MP’s, specifically a failure to represent the public interest.

Mr. Keith Vaz MP

I refer to the Rules of Conduct V, section 16. “Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally”.

It is my understanding that Mr. Vaz failed to declare his personal indulgences with prostitutes as a potential conflict of interest to either the HASC or subsequent role on the Justice Committee. I consider this omission relevant and to constitute misconduct on the part of Mr. Vaz. It is a failure to adhere to the rules of conduct and general principles of the code.

Conflict of interest; Mr Vaz clearly uses prostitutes and is happy to support the cost and use of illicit drugs by prostitutes whilst purchasing their services. Mr. Vaz’s activities have been broadcast across the country and internationally, with millions of people viewing what appeared to be a practiced pattern of behavior, including the use of code in texts, the assumed identity of a washing machine salesman and the use of ‘Grindr’ to locate others who maybe willing to join the ‘party’. These are not the behaviours of a novice, his confidence in the situation is indicative of somebody who is well practiced in the art of facilitating such exchanges.

Whilst Mr. Vaz appears to have continued support and sympathy of various members of parliament, this presents to myself, albeit just a member of the public, as a very serious matter, which could arguably cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons and the UK generally. The wider support apparently received by Mr Vaz from members of Parliament, portrays a level of approval to his activities, this leads one to question the integrity and standards of members generally?

Mr. Vaz appears to have accepted that his ‘party’ with prostitutes presented a conflict of interest to the HASC and he resigned from his role as chair to this committee. May I suggest that Mr. Vaz’s behaviour also presents a conflict of interest to the Justice Committee, the failure of Mr. Vaz, to declare his use of prostitutes and support for their drug use is a serious concern, this presents a conflict of interest to a prominent position on a committee. Mr. Vaz’s omission falls well below the standards of openness, honesty, integrity, accountability and selflessness that the code commits to, it seriously undermines public confidence. MP’s who use prostitutes and support their illicit drug use to facilitate sex, are susceptible to blackmail and this can, in turn, undermine National Security. At a time when news reports of terror attacks, grooming and affiliations are an almost daily occurrence, the public require, possibly more than ever before, confidence in the integrity of Parliament. Such confidence is not facilitated by MP’s enjoying the company of prostitutes, whilst apparently affording a lesser priority to their parliamentary and public responsibilities.

Mr. Vaz, far from demonstrating selflessness and accountability, simply moves on to the next committee, with a list of 203 supporting MP’s. As a voting member of the public, this is not the conduct or standards I wish to see demonstrated by Parliament.

Parliament will be aware of the comments made by Mr. Vaz when he resigned from the HASC; “The integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable.” I request that Mr. Vaz is indeed held accountable and that action is taken to ensure he no longer damages the reputation and integrity of Parliament. The failure to represent the public interest appears clear, Mr. Vaz’s actions potentially compromise National Security, he has favoured the indulgence of his personal whims over the public interest, which leads on to my concerns regarding MP John Bercow.

Mr. John Bercow MP

I refer to the Rules of Conduct V, section 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.”

It is my understanding that challenges have been made in parliament regarding Keith Vaz’s behavior and his appointment to the Justice committee. Wider discussions were blocked in the house of parliament by the speaker; Mr. Bercow. It has been widely reported in the news that MP Mr. Andrew Bridgen challenged Mr. Vaz regarding his use of prostitutes and requested investigation for a potential misconduct in public office, Mr. Vaz made a counter-complaint regarding damage to his reputation, indicating his behavior was ‘a personal matter’ and outside the scope of PSC. Mr. Vaz presents a highly contradictory view, accepting his behavior presents a problem to the reputation of parliamentary committee’s, whilst simultaneously accusing MP’s who challenge him for ‘damaging his reputation’. The implications of Mr. Vaz’s behaviour to the reputation of parliament and to the wider British public appear to have taken a back-seat. Mr. Bercow, as speaker, repeatedly asked Bridgen to ‘desist’ from speaking about this matter and controlled the sphere of discussion. May I suggest that this refusal to explore the implications of Mr. Vaz’s behavior was a failure to resolve conflict between personal and public interest. Mr. Bercow has failed to consider the interest of the British public by restricting the proper and legitimate concerns raised by Mr. Bridgen.

A freedom of information request asking for the correspondence between Mr. Bercow and Mr. Bridgen to be made available, was declined by Mr. Bercow in Dec 2016. It is in the public interest to know of MP’s potentially abusing their position and authority and to formulate an understanding of the implication, a failure to do so undermines democracy and is not consistent with the principles of objectivity, openness, honesty and accountability. I therefore request that Mr. Bercow is investigated by the PSC for failing, repeatedly, to consider the public interest in his own conduct and decisions, regarding open and transparent discourse on the activities of his fellow MP Mr. Vaz.

Many kind regards

Response from commissioner;

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Standards Commissioner <standardscommissioner@parliament.uk
Date: 7 February 2017 at 11:24:45 GMT
Subject: Our reference PCS542/3 Private & confidential

Dear Ms

Thank you for your email. You raise three separate but related issues.

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is currently undertaking an inquiry into alleged breaches of the rules of conduct by Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP. This information is posted on the Commissioner’s webpages: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/complaints-and-investigations/allegations-under-investigation-by-the-commissioner/. As I am sure you would appreciate, it is not appropriate for us to comment while an investigation is in progress. When the Commissioner has completed her work and, when Parliament has had the opportunity to consider any report she may publish, the Commissioner’s decision will be made public and the reasons for her decision and all the evidence on which she has relied will be put into the public domain. (It will be posted on the Parliament website.)

The Commissioner has no power to remove an MP from a Select Committee while an inquiry is in progress. Members of Select Committees are elected by the House of Commons. (If at the end of an inquiry, the Commissioner finds a serious breach of the rules, she may refer a Memorandum to the Select Committee on Standards. Only the Committee may recommend sanctions for a serious breach of the rules and, depending on the nature of the recommended sanction, it may also require the approval of the House of Commons as a whole.)

Rt Hon John Bercow MP
The Commissioner has no remit to consider the words used by MPs during parliamentary proceedings; this includes the words used by the Speaker when ruling on matters of order within the Chamber. I think this means the Commissioner would not be able to investigate a complaint along the lines you have described, if you were to submit a formal complaint by post.

Freedom of Information
There is a procedure for challenging a refusal to provide information requested under a Freedom of Information request. Ultimately, decisions on disclosure may be considered by the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has no role in that process.

I am sorry that this will not be the response you were hoping for but I hope I have explained the position clearly.

Yours sincerely
Gwen Harrison
Complaints Manager

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
T: 0207 219 8431 E: harrisongj@parliament.uk
Text Relay: 18001 207 219 8431