Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 154

Letter to Finers Stephens Innocent, Solicitors, from the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

  Thank you for your letter of 26 June about Mr Jaffer Kapasi.

  You raised the question of the Commissioner's dealings with Sir Peter Soulsby. The Commissioner has told me that her only connection with Sir Peter Soulsby is through membership of the Audit Commission, to which she was appointed last year. Sir Peter made no approach to the Commissioner—she approached him after being informed that he might have relevant information—and has been entirely open about his disagreements with Mr Vaz. No question of improper influence arises.

  The Commissioner is well aware that Mr Kapasi is neither the source nor the subject of any complaint, and his own conduct is not under investigation. The Commissioner wishes to see him because there is some evidence which might suggest that statements he has made on other occasions are inconsistent with statements he has made to her, and in order to be fair to him, she wishes to give him an opportunity to deal with this other evidence. But in order to be fair to the Member who is the subject of the complaint the Commissioner needs to make her report to the Standards and Privileges Committee without any further delay.

  The Commissioner would like to see Mr Kapasi very soon, and she is prepared to go to Leicester to see him if it is not possible for him to come to London. If he will not commit himself to a meeting in the very near future, the Commissioner will have to reach her own conclusions on the basis of the evidence she has assembled about where the truth lies, and she will submit her report to the Standards and Privileges Committee.

  Mr Kapasi should be aware of the possibility that, once it has received the Commissioner's report, the Committee may decide that he should appear before it.

27 June 2000

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