Letter to the Clerk of the Committee on
Standards and Privileges from Sir Peter Soulsby
As I promised, I am responding further to three of
the issues raised by Members of the Committee.
1. Mr Williams questioned me about my differences
with Mr Vaz about what constitutes 'proper behaviour in public
life' (Q406). In this context I responded to Q407 by referring
to "a number of occasions when Keith's behaviour towards
the Council and Council officers has caused me considerable concern
and, on some occasions, considerable embarrassment".
The first such incident that I recall was as long
ago as 1991 when Mr Vaz went to extra-ordinary lengths to have
a particular Council flat tenant (who asserted that he is a friend
of Mr Vaz) reinstated after eviction. This eventually resulted
in the embarrassment of an adverse District Audit Report for the
Council, a copy of which I enclose.
I also enclose a summary of the City Council files on this case.
This summary was made by Councillor Ned Newitt, the then Chair
of the Housing Committee, when he and I became aware of what had
Although, as the Auditor points out, his remit did
not permit him to comment on the behaviour of an MP, the extent
of Mr Vaz's involvement is clear from the report. The then Acting
Director, Jed Lucas, complained that he was told that his continued
employment by the Council was at risk should the tenant not be
Other reports of inappropriate pressure from Mr Vaz
came, amongst others, from Don Grant the former Director of Resources
and from the current Director of Arts and Leisure, Mick Gallagher.
Mr Gallagher has spoken to me of what I considered inappropriate
pressure from Mr Vaz on behalf of a project, the Manager of which
is seen as a close associate of Mr Vaz.
2. In response to Mr Bottomley (Q439) I referred
to the long standing concerns which some Labour Party Members
have expressed about the operation of the finances of Leicester
East CLP. This dates back at least to 1991 and I am enclosing
the statement for the 'auditors' of the accounts for that year
and of the views of the Treasurer from that period expressed in
an interview with Ian Murray of the Times in 1994.
Pat Stuttard, one of those 'auditors', is amongst
those who can confirm that the lack of transparency and absence
of proper financial reports remains a matter of continuing concern
today. Should the Committee be minded to seek further information
on the operation of the finances of Leicester East CLP, Mrs Stuttard
and her husband Roy (who I believe are the representatives of
the Co-operative Party on the Constituency Labour Party Committee
and its Executive) would, in my opinion, be reliable and independent
3. Also in response to Mr Bottomley (Q441-443),
I referred to a letter signed by prominent members of the Asian
community asking Mr Vaz not to interfere in the affairs of the
Council. I note that you now have a copy of the letter. I have
only found one cutting that directly relates to this. It is from
the Leicester Mercury in May 1994.
There was also a significant amount of coverage in the British
Asian press but I'm afraid that I don't have those cuttings.
I hope that this material is of assistance to the
Committee and will, of course, be pleased to provide any further
information or respond to any further questions if the Committee
were to feel that it might be helpful.
14 February 2001
2 Not printed. Back