Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report

Annex 2

Letter to Mr Bernard O'Sullivant, Dechert, Solicitors,

from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Thank you for your letter of 25 April 2001. As you are aware, I have been working to meet Mr. Robinson's request that I send my memorandum to the Standards and Privileges Committee in time for them to decide upon the complaint prior to an election being called. I have said throughout that this would require Mr. Robinson to make any further comments and provide corrections of fact in a limited time.

At our meeting on 13 April 2001 Mr. Robinson and you were alerted by me to the likely week in which he would have the opportunity to look at my draft memorandum. I informed you that I intended that the draft would be with Mr. Robinson this week if at all possible. You confirmed to my office on Monday, 23 April 2001 that you had set aside the whole of today to read it.

I will also send the Committee a copy of your letter so that they can decide when they meet on Tuesday 1st May whether to proceed that day with their own consideration of my memorandum or alternatively to give Mr. Robinson more time to comment on it. If the Committee decides to proceed it has, as you know, invited Mr. Robinson to appear before them on the afternoon of the 1st May 2001 to ensure that he has an opportunity to put any further information to them which he wishes. It goes without saying that the Committee will be willing to give very careful consideration to any other points he makes either in writing to me or when he appears before them.

I agree that Mr. Robinson had not seen the transcripts of my interviews with witnesses before 24 April but, since almost all the other documents to which I refer were ones supplied by you, I do not think it can be accurate to say there is a large volume of evidence which he has not seen. I must correct you on one point, you imply I have come to my conclusions. I have not. I will do so tomorrow only after having given Mr. Robinson the opportunity to provide comments and corrections to me by 9am.

I am required by the Committee to complete my memorandum and send it to them by the end of Thursday, 26 April and shall of course do so. I would therefore be grateful for any comments and corrections Mr. Robinson cares to make by 9am on Thursday 26 April 2001. Thereafter, if Mr. Robinson finds further corrections or has other comments, he should let me have them and I will make sure the Committee is fully aware of them. You will recall that I am also waiting for the documents which Mr. Robinson offered to me on 13th April and for his corrected transcript of that meeting. I would be grateful to receive them as well.

25 April 2001

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