Letter to Mr Ernie Ross MP from the Chairman
of the Committee on Standards and Privileges
As you know, the matter of the premature disclosure
of the Foreign Affairs Committee's report on Sierra Leone stands
referred to the Committee on Standards and Privileges.
The Committee would be grateful if you could respond
in writing to the questions set out in this letter. The Committee
would also be grateful if you could ensure that your reply is
received by the Clerk of the Committee by 6.00 pm on Wednesday
17 March, and if you could include in it an assurance that you
have not discussed the questions or your answers with any Minister
or official in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Committee's questions are as follows:
1. For what purpose did you send Mr Cook a copy
of the draft report? What use did you expect him to make of it?
2. When, and for what purpose, did you disclose
the Committee's final conclusions to Mr Cook's political adviser?
3. Do you know who else saw the draft report,
or was made aware of the Committee's conclusions?
4. Did anyone ask you to disclose committee papers
to Mr Cook or anyone else? If so, who?
5. What contacts took place between you and Mr
Cook (and anyone else in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office whom
you believed to be aware of the contents of the draft report)
after you sent the draft to Mr Cook?
6. Did you ever discuss possible amendments to
the draft report with Mr Cook (or anyone else in the FCO)?
The Committee would also welcome any further relevant
information you may wish to give it.
10 March 1999