Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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 by today.

We attach to this letter a sworn statement made by Councillor Singh Clair, which relates to the information you have requested.[5] 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 years.

(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.[6] 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 each.

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 urgency.

12 February 2001

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