Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 138

Letter to Mr Jaffer A Kapasi OBE DL MKD from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  I was concerned to receive a telephone call from Mr Mark Stephens yesterday evening and thought I should write to you to make sure there was no misunderstanding.

  You will recall that I wrote to you on 14 March 2000 for your help on an enquiry I am engaged upon. You kindly replied on 21 March. I telephoned you on 24 March to tell you that I held evidence which appeared to be at variance with your account. I explained the investigation process and how the Standards and Privileges Committee proceeded. You said you wished to reflect on the matter and would either confirm your letter of 21 March or provide me with a new response. You wrote to me on 28 March to confirm your earlier letter.

  I wrote to you on 12 April to provide you with the evidence I had received from Leicester City Council and asked for your account of these events. Because I had received no reply I telephoned you on 4 May and you said your reply was in the post. You replied on 3 May but provided no account. I wrote to you on 5 May in response to your letter of 3 May. On 15 May I wrote to you again because I had received no reply and because I had also seen an article in the Sunday Times which said you made comments to them on these matters which they had taped. I said I now felt I must discuss matters with you, invited you to meet me, suggested three dates and said my office would reimburse your travel expenses. I enclosed a note on the investigation process for your information.

  We spoke on the telephone on 17 May and you said you would come to see me on 25 May but could not give me the time until your lawyer told you when she would be free. You said you expected it to be late afternoon and I agreed to keep my diary free.

  On Monday 22 May, as my office had not received a time from you, they telephoned you. You said you were still unable to confirm the time but were coming to see me on 25 May. On 23 May I received a letter from Amber Melville-Brown at Finers Stephens Innocent which said "For the sake of clarity, we wish to inform you that our client will not be able to attend any proposed meeting".

  I was so surprised by this letter that I telephoned you on 24 May and you said your solicitor Ms Melville-Brown had misinterpreted your instructions and that the letter should have said you were unable to meet me on 25 May as your solicitor was unavailable. We discussed alternative dates. You proposed a meeting during the week of 5 June, we consulted diaries and agreed on 7 June, subject to the availability of your solicitor. You telephoned my office latter that date and confirmed to my PA that you would definitely be coming to see me. You needed to confirm 7 June with your lawyers, but if that was inconvenient they would arrange another date.

  Mr Stephens spoke to me on the telephone on 24 May and said he would be away until 12 June, but that he would contact me again before 14 June to tell me either that he was advising you against seeing me, or to arrange a date for the meeting.

  May I repeat that I invite you to see me as soon as possible. I am unable to conclude this enquiry without seeing you. May I remind you of the relevant paragraphs 11-14 on the investigation process. I look forward to hearing from you confirming you will be meeting me and to hear from you suggest convenient dates.

  May I thank you again for your help on this matter.

25 May 2000

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