Mitchell given mild rebuke over questions
Wednesday 12 February 1997
The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, which examines disciplinary complaints, last night agreed a report into an allegation that Mr Mitchell exerted improper influence when he served as a Government whip on the old Commons Committee on Members' Interests.
It had been claimed that Mr Mitchell - like Mr Willetts - had attempted to subvert an inquiry into an allegation that his fellow Tory MP Neil Hamilton had accepted cash for asking parliamentary questions. Last night's report is thought to have concluded that Mr Mitchell behaved "inappropriately".
But the strongest criticism was said to have been diverted, and directed at Richard Ryder, the former Government Chief Whip, for allowing Mr Mitchell, one of his team, to be placed on the Members' Interests Committee in the first place.
Mr Ryder, who is standing down from Parliament at the election, was said last night to be unconcerned by the criticism. One friend said, quite rightly, that it was not Mr Ryder who had placed Mr Mitchell on the committee - but the Commons itself.
Mr Mitchell is thought to have "saved" himself from severe censure by taking a more apologetic tone than Mr Willetts when he was questioned - on oath - in a public hearing on 20 January.
He told the Standards and Privileges Committee that "with hindsight" it would be better if government whips did not sit on committees which have a quasi-judicial role. Mr Mitchell acknowledged that there had been a potential conflict of interest between his job as a whip and his membership of the Members' Interests Committee.
Appointed to the committee in June 1994, Mr Mitchell said in evidence that he had not appreciated that it sat in a quasi-judicial capacity; making judgement on colleagues' conduct.
The report, which is expected to be published tomorrow, is thought to endorse that view.
But it was also said to accept that there was no evidence of a whips' office conspiracy to rig the Hamilton investigation.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...