Letter to the Clerk of the Committee on
Standards and Privileges from Thompsons, Solicitors
We are instructed on behalf of the Leicester East
Constituency Labour Party.
We have been consulted in relation to your request
that Councillor Piara Singh Clair gives evidence to the Committee
tomorrow, Tuesday 13 February at 11 am.
We have had sight of your letter of 7 February to
Councillor Singh Clair, in which you indicate that his attendance
would not be required if he was to provide certain information
We attach to this letter a sworn statement made by
Councillor Singh Clair, which relates to the information you have
We set out below Councillor Singh Clair's replies to those requests:
(i) you asked for confirmation from Leicester
East Constituency Labour Party's bank that Mr B S Attwal's cheque
for £1,000 was paid into the CLP's account on 8 January 1993.
As you will know, Councillor Singh Clair was not
the Treasurer at the time, but he has nonetheless carried out
investigations. A letter dated 5 February 2001 from the CLP's
bank is attached to this letter. As you will see, the bank has
written to Councillor Singh Clair saying that the information
requested is not available as the records are only kept for six
(ii) You asked for confirmation that contributions
from Mrs Usha Mittal, Mr Charles Riachi, Mr R Verma, Lord Paul
and Mr R Mathrani towards Mr Keith Vaz's election campaign expenses
were not paid into the CLP's account (or, alternatively, for details
of the accounts into which those contributions were paid).
Councillor Singh Clair has repeatedly stressed that
he was not the Treasurer at the time. The Labour Party nationally
has issued a statement on this matter and a copy is attached.
As you will see, there is no evidence of any missing money and
the relevant individual donations are fully accounted for.
(iii) You asked how many bank accounts the CLP
holds and, if there is more than one, what the purpose is for
We believe that the Labour Party's statement referred
to above deals properly with this matter in confirming that the
donations at issue are properly accounted for. We do, in any event,
respectfully submit that general questions relating to the structure
of a CLP's finances are not within the remit of the investigation.
We believe that the above information answers your
enquiries for the purpose of this investigation such that Councillor
Singh Clair's attendance is not now called for. If Councillor
Singh Clair were to give evidence, the above represents the totality
of what he would say to the Committee and we can see little purpose
to be served by requiring his attendance.
In any event, we are informed that Councillor Singh
Clair has a full-time job as a manufacturing technician at Walkers
Crisps. Bearing in mind the amount of time which he has had to
take as absent from his job because of his Councillor's duties,
it would not be possible for him to obtain further time off at
such short notice to attend at the Committee.
As you will see, we have set out above the information
which Councillor Singh Clair would have provided to the Committee
orally and we would be grateful for your confirmation that, in
the circumstances, his attendance is no longer required.
We look forward to hearing from you as a matter of
12 February 2001
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