Bercow and Vaz Personal / Private Conflicts of Interest

After a further FOI Request to the House of Commons [1], which they have helpfully and promptly answered, I summarise and add some of the important information first but it is best to check the full answer below or on the WDTK site [1a]

1) Keith Vaz MP -The Commissioner began her inquiry in September 2016 into an alleged breach of paragraphs 10 and 16 of the Code of Conduct for Members by Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, and immediately suspended this, pending the outcome of an assessment by the police. The Commissioner resumed her inquiry on 19 December 2016, after the police
announced that they had completed their inquiries.

The Commissioner’s inquiries are conducted in private, the outcome of her inquiry and all of the evidence relevant to any findings she makes will be published in due course.

2) Mr Vaz declarations include

“Mr Vaz declared that he was a non-practising barrister
and that his wife was a practising solicitor and a part-time judge.”

” Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year

  • House in Leicester, which is used as my constituency office: (i).
  • Flat in London: (i) and (ii).
  • House in Leicester: (i) and (ii) (Updated 28 June 2016)

[This was probably updated due to the buying of a flat in cash – Riddle of the £400k cash ‘loan’ that let shamed Keith Vaz buy a luxury ‘sex flat’: Labour MP insists he’ll repay the sum once his late mother’s house is sold – much to the surprise of the tenants who are living there [6] HT @craftymuvva][Does anyone have a link to good article on all Vazs sleaze from the past?]

Miscellaneous

    • I own two season tickets for Leicester City Football Club. However, I am invited from time to time into the directors’ box to watch matches. The annual value of this benefit is below registrable value. (Updated 1 December 2014 and 2 June 2015)
    • Barrister (not practising)”

Vaz has therefore not declared that he has any personal / private conflict as required under Section 10 nor any thing that might cause “significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally, as under . Section 16 part V

It is not clear to me whether Vaz is being investigated under Section 10 and 16 for

  • his shenanigans as Jim the washing machine salesman, and drug and prostitution claims, whilst on the Home Affairs Select Committee  or
  • claims that he is involved in child sexual abuse  as indicated by the Sun and Guide Fawkes, and perhaps being investigated by the police for this, and being on the Justice Committee

The FOI makes clear that anyone may complain to the Commissioners on issues to do with the Code

“Anyone can make an allegation of misconduct, whether a member of the public or an MP. The Commissioner may not accept for inquiry an allegation received from an organisation, from an anonymous source, or made on behalf of another person. (The Commissioner may accept an allegation made through an interpreter if one is required.) Before she can begin a formal inquiry, the Commissioner must have the name, postal address and signature of the person making the allegation.”

So if you wish to complain about Vaz it is in your hands.

Contact details for the Commissioner’s office

Address: Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

General Enquiries: 020 7219 3738
Email: standardscommissioner@parliament.uk
Website: www.parliament.uk/pcs

www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/contact-us/

The allegations against Vaz are that the Sun [4] printed were of child sexual abuse with boys. Guido Fawkes published that the MP was Keith Vaz [5]

sunvaz

According to the Sun the MP

  • had  lads “delivered” to his room at a hotel near a police station
  • abused boys at a hospital’s mental health unit
  • left one so terrified he fears for his life if he ever speaks out
  • showed an “unhealthy” interest in the two young sons of a local councillor
  • displayed a liking for “young ragamuffins”,
  • was seen as untouchable by police because of his revered
    position.

See this post for more information  2017 Jan 9 Cathy Fox Blog Bercow refuses to release Vaz information [3]

Have the police investigated this? Are they going to take action or have they dropped the investigation?

serveimage

Bercow

As for one of Vaz’s gatekeepers Bercow, the FOI answer makes clear that there was no specific duty to declare any conflicts on interest when signing the FOI exemption certificate [3]

berocw-vaz-2

However the the duty still applies that under section 10 of the code to “resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest”

“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.”

Clearly Bercow has not done this. He did not recuse himself from the decision. Nor did he recuse himself from the following decision.

Also according to Order Order 2016 Sept 4 Order Order Bercow knew Vaz was under Investigation [5].

It must have been the duty of Bercow to inform Vaz, and perhaps the  Justice Committee, the Commissioner and the Labour Party nominating him that Vaz had a conflict of interest that should be resolved immediately in favour of the public.

Bercow has not done this and he in turn should be reported to the commissioner for not sorting his own Section 10 Code public private conflict of interest, in which he appears to have decided to keep quiet to protect his friend Vaz.

bercow

FOI Questions and Answers

1)  Has any investigation by House of Commons or any disciplinary action
been started, stopped or is ongoing into Vaz’s potentially criminal
activities, Vaz’s conflict of interest in joining the Justice committee
and remaining on it?

Some information is held by the House of Commons.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards deals with the
application of the Code of Conduct and related Rules that apply to Members
of Parliament. The Commissioner can investigate allegations that a named
Member has breached the rules of conduct set out in paragraph 10-16 of the
Code of Conduct for Members. The Commissioner cannot decide whether a
Member of Parliament has broken the law and therefore any investigation
relating to criminal activity would be a matter for the police.

The Commissioner has begun an inquiry into an alleged breach of paragraphs
10 and 16 of the Code of Conduct for Members by Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP. This
information can be found on the Parliament website here:
[1]http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-o…

The Commissioner began her inquiry in September 2016 and immediately
suspended this, pending the outcome of an assessment by the police. The
Commissioner resumed her inquiry on 19 December 2016, after the police
announced that they had completed their inquiries.

Please note, the Commissioner publicly states on the parliamentary
webpages that she is investigating the conduct of a named Member and the
area of the rules on which her inquiry is focused. However, the
Commissioner does not provide any further details than this and therefore
we are unable to provide details of how her inquiry does or does not
relate to the media stories about Mr Vaz, nor can we comment on whether
the inquiry concerns alleged conflicts of interest relevant to the Justice
Committee. The outcome of her inquiry and all the evidence relevant to it
will be published on the Parliament website at the end of the process.

2)  Has Keith Vaz declared any interests or conflicts of interest in
joining the Justice committee? If so what are they?

This information is held by the House of Commons.

On 8 November 2016, at the first Justice Committee meeting which he
attended after being appointed to the Committee by the House, Mr Vaz
declared his interests as recorded in the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests. Also, Mr Vaz declared that he was a non-practising barrister
and that his wife was a practising solicitor and a part-time judge. The
record of his declaration is published in the Justice Committee’s formal
minutes here:

[2]http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commo…

3)  Has John Bercow registered any conflict of interest in signing a
certificate refusing a FOI request using the parliamentary privilege
exemption, on issues that he has already taken decisions on and also about
his friend Keith Vaz? This also appears to be a public and personal
interest conflict.

This information is not held by the House of Commons.

The Speaker of the House of Commons is not required to register any
conflict of interest in signing a certificate which exempt the release of
information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

4)  Which are the authorities which supervise Section 10 if the Code of
Conduct?

This information is held by the House of Commons.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards may investigate alleged
breaches of the rules of conduct, found in paragraphs 10-16 of the Code of
Conduct for Members. The Code is available on the Parliament website:
[3]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa…

Further information on the work of the Commissioners can be found on the
parliamentary webpages here:
[4]http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-o…

Additionally, the following Commissioners Information Note may be of
interest to you. This contains information to assist those involved in an
inquiry conducted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and is
available here:
[5]http://www.parliament.uk/documents/pcfs/…

Lastly, chapter 4 of the “Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of
Members” also provides details on the work of the Commissioner which can
be found here:
[6]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa…

5)  Please send me the written information as to whether or not
proceedings against Vaz and Bercow have taken place and what was the
result?

Some information is held by the House of Commons.

The Commissioner’s inquiry into the allegations against Mr Vaz is ongoing,
as described in our answer to question 1 of your request. The
Commissioner’s work is carried out under a Standing Order of the House (No
150) and is protected by parliamentary privilege until her work is
completed and Parliament has had the opportunity to consider any report
which may be published. Therefore the information you have requested is
exempt from disclosure under section 34(1) of the FOIA (parliamentary
privilege). The exemption applies in order to avoid an infringement of the
privileges of the House of Commons. This is an absolute exemption and the
public interest test does not apply.

It may help you to know that, whilst the Commissioner’s inquiries are
conducted in private, the outcome of her inquiry and all of the evidence
relevant to any findings she makes will be published in due course. Please
note, we do not know when her inquiry will be completed and therefore
cannot provide an expected date for publication.

The Commissioner is not currently investigating any allegations concerning
the conduct of Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

6)  Who are the appropriate individuals and titles to which public
complaints should be made to register a public private conflict of
interest of Vaz and Bercow.

This information is held by the House of Commons.

As detailed in our answer to question 4 of your request, the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards may investigate alleged breaches of the rules
of conduct, found in paragraphs 10-16 of the Code of Conduct for Members.
Further details of how to make a complaint are available on the
Commissioner’s web pages here:
[7]http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-o….

“The Commissioner may investigate alleged breaches of the Rules of Conduct set out in part V of the House of Commons Code of Conduct. The Commissioner may not investigate alleged breaches of other parts of the Code nor complaints about matters not covered by the Code and its associated rules.  Anyone can make an allegation of misconduct, whether a member of the public or an MP. The Commissioner may not accept for inquiry an allegation received from an organisation,from an anonymous source, or made on behalf of another person. (The Commissioner may accept an allegation made through an interpreter if one is required.)

Before she can begin a formal inquiry, the Commissioner must have the name, postal address and signature of the person making the allegation.”

7)  How many times in this Parliament by which I mean the last general
election has a certificate been signed by the Speaker to use parliamentary
privilege as exemption for a FOI request?

and

8)  How many times in the previous Parliament has a certificate been
signed by the speaker to use parliamentary privilege as exemption for a
FOI request? (ie between the last two general elections.)

This information is held by the House of Commons.

In accordance with the FOIA a signed certificate provides conclusive
evidence for exemptions under sections 34 and 36. For section 36, the
exemption applies in the reasonable opinion of the ‘qualified person’ who,
for the House of Commons, is the Speaker. In accordance with guidance from
the Information Commissioner’s Office, a formal paper is submitted to Mr
Speaker who then confirms his reasonable opinion on this exemption before
a response is issued to the requester. For section 34, we apply the
exemption when it is required for the purposes of avoiding an infringement
of the privileges of the House of Commons and conclusive evidence of this
is also a certificate signed by Mr Speaker.

Full lists of all section 34 and section 36 exemptions are provided in our
disclosures logs, available on the parliamentary web pages here:
[8]http://www.parliament.uk/site-informatio….
However please note that, in the cases of both exemptions, certificates
are usually only issued when it is necessary to provide conclusive
evidence, for example as the result of a complaint. Therefore the House of
Commons does not hold certificates for all the times these two exemptions
have been applied.

As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise
than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), your request is
refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set
out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute
exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Further information and detailed guidance on these exemptions can be found
in the ICO ‘Guide to Freedom of Information’ at:
[9]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui…

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]

 

Links

[1] 2017 Jan 9 FOI to House of Commons re Bercow and Vaz https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/public_personal_conflicts_of_int#outgoing-611474

[1a] 2017 Feb 1 Answer to FOI to House of Commons re Bercow and Vaz https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/public_personal_conflicts_of_int#incoming-930533

[3] 2017 Jan 9 Cathy Fox Blog Bercow refuses to release Vaz information https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/bercow-refuses-to-release-vaz-information/

[4] 2015 Jul 18 The Sun Cops told: Top Labour MP is paedo http://archive.is/qAK6u

[5] 2016 Sept 4 Order Order Bercow knew Vaz was under Investigation http://order-order.com/2016/09/04/244563/

[6] 2016 Sept 4 Mail Online Riddle of the £400k cash ‘loan’ that let shamed Keith Vaz buy a luxury ‘sex flat’: Labour MP insists he’ll repay the sum once his late mother’s house is sold – much to the surprise of the tenants who are living there http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3773595/Riddle-loan-let-shamed-Labour-MP-Keith-Vaz-pay-400k-cash-luxury-sex-flat.html

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Childrens home, East Midlands, Freedom of Information Request, Leicestershire, VIP CSA, VIPs MPs Lords etc, Westminster and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bercow and Vaz Personal / Private Conflicts of Interest

  1. boom! reblogged stunning work

  2. Pingback: Three Times Articles on Bercow and Vaz 11 Feb 2017 | cathy fox blog on child abuse

  3. Pingback: Petitions, Pinheads, Police and Vaz | cathy fox blog on child abuse

  4. Pingback: Keith Vaz, Charities, Friends etc (Updated) | goodnessandharmony

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