Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Eighth Report

Further letter to the Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, from the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

The Committee has asked me to thank you for your letter of 17 March about the premature disclosure of the Foreign Affairs Committee's report on Sierra Leone, and to ask you to respond in writing to the further questions set out in this letter.

It would be a great help to the Committee if your reply could be in the hands of the Clerk of the Committee by 5.00 pm on Monday 12 April. We appreciate that the timing of Easter may make that difficult to achieve; but in any event the Clerk of the Committee should have your reply not later than 5.00 pm on Thursday 15 April.

The Committee's further questions are as follows:

1.  At what time on what day was the draft report received by fax in your office?

2.  Who collected the fax from the fax machine?

3.  To whom did that person give the fax?

4.  Who gave the draft report, and when, to—

      (a)  John Grant?

      (b)  Andrew Hood?

      (c)  Kim Darroch?

      (d)  John Williams?

      (e)  Chris Sainty?

      (f)  you?

5.  When were you first made aware of the fact that the draft report had been faxed to you?

6.  What instructions did you then give about the handling of the draft report (including its handling within the Department)?

7.  When did you first see the draft report or become aware of its contents?

8.  Did the Permanent Under-Secretary see the draft report, or become aware of its contents, before John Williams showed it to him on 1 February? If so, who gave it him and when?

9.  Did you at any stage disclose the draft report to anyone else or in any way authorise further dissemination of it?

The Committee hopes that your answers to these questions will make it unnecessary for you to appear before it as a witness.

31 March 1999

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Prepared 30 June 1999