Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 460 - 464)



Mr Bottomley

  460. Can I ask the witness roughly the same question a different way round which he might be able to answer more easily. When he was speaking to you about the request for campaign payments, which we have established are not linked to giving planning permission, did you sense that he was under any pressure to say anything that was not what he had experienced?
  (Sir Peter Soulsby) No. As I say, I worked very closely with him over the years, particularly at the time when the mosque was being attacked by arsonists. I think he is quite well disposed towards me as a result of that, and whenever I have been to their events he has always treated me as a friend, and I think he was talking as a friend.

  461. There was nothing he could have gained by saying this to you?
  (Sir Peter Soulsby) Nothing at all.

  462. So far as you are aware, when he was speaking to journalists, there was no particular pressure on him to say anything?
  (Sir Peter Soulsby) Only the sort of pressure we all come under when journalists try to get us to answer questions.


  463. Did you mention Hamilton to the town clerk? This is a bit uncertain. I wanted confirmation from you.
  (Sir Peter Soulsby) I think I did. I will just look and see what the letter said, if you will bear with me. Yes. Although I did not actually mention Hamilton, the town clerk would immediately know that that was the issue I was talking about, because I referred to three religious groups seeking to purchase land at a discount price from the council. That had been such an issue, and indeed, a bi-election had been fought about it, that the town clerk would immediately know I was talking about Hamilton.

  464. There would have been no question about that?
  (Sir Peter Soulsby) Not at all, no.

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