Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 152

Letter to Finers Stephens Innocent, Solicitors, from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  Thank you for your letter of 26 June and statement from Mr Kapasi. I am very sorry to hear of your bereavement and offer you my condolences. I quite understand the delay in these circumstances.

  As I informed Mr Kapasi this morning during our telephone conversation, my sole purpose in inviting him to see me is to offer him the opportunity to comment on information which I have obtained which appears to be at variance with his account and which he has now confirmed in his statement. Before I take a view on the information with which I have been provided, I feel it fair to offer Mr Kapasi a meeting with me to discuss this material.

  You raise in your letter to me, and to the Chairman, concerns about whether I have had past "dealings" with Sir Peter Soulsby. I have not. It is on the public record that I am a member of the Audit Commission, as is Sir Peter Soulsby, and I have met him in that capacity only.

  The facts which relate to this enquiry are as follows. When I interviewed another witnesses to this enquiry she informed me that she believed that Sir Peter Soulsby had information on matters which might relate to this enquiry. I invited Sir Peter to see me and interviewed him (I have a taped record). He answered my questions and informed me, at the time, of his long-time political differences with Mr Vaz, so that I could assess his evidence in proper context. Sir Peter Soulsby has made no complaints against Mr Vaz or Mr Kapasi. In answer to my questions Sir Peter told me of a conversation he had had with Mr Kapasi and informed me of the record he had made at the time (1994). Leicester City Council provided me with a copy of that record. I informed Mr Kapasi of these events to allow him to comment. I also asked him to give me information about the conversation reported in the Sunday Times which the Sunday Times said they had taped. The Sunday Times have now provided me, at my request, with a copy of the transcript.

  May I repeat that I am most willing to see Mr Kapasi, otherwise I shall conclude my report presenting the evidence I have obtained to the Standards and Privileges Committee. Mr Kapasi is aware that the Committee may decide to publish evidence which has been provided to me.

27 June 2000

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