Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex ii85A

File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

15 NOVEMBER 2001

Lengthy telephone discussion mainly concerned about the consent form from Mrs Williams. Mr Vaz says he gets on well with Mrs Williams but she has been a constituent who has approached him as a constituent and has also worked as a volunteer in his office. Therefore he wishes to be absolutely clear that she is giving her consent to material being made available to me. I said that I felt that my consent form of which he had a copy, dealt with this matter. It was his judgement what he thought was relevant and he should let me have anything which he thought was relevant to the questions that I had asked. I explained that if he gives material to me it is protected by Parliamentary privilege.

At intervals he referred to a case that had been taken against Mr Jack Straw who had released some information in the employment file of a person. I tried to indicate that I thought the two things were different. However Mr Vaz is very anxious about this. He asked me whether I was sending his newly drafted form about which he said he had consulted solicitors to Mrs Williams. I said I was not. I felt the form that she had signed was adequate for my purposes. I said he was now welcome to provide me with any information he wished to deal with the matters which Mrs Williams had raised. He then asked persistently whether Mrs Williams had provided me with any documents which she had taken from her file. I did not have the files to hand so I was unable to answer that question but I have said to him repeatedly that I have put to him all the questions which require his answers.

He said he would send me the whole file. That it would be a copy and therefore I did not need to return it to him and that I could use in it whatever I thought was relevant. I stressed that I did need his answers to my questions about matters Mrs Williams had relayed to me. I explained that it was not of concern to me what she may or may not have said to the newspapers. I said that was I was concerned about was what she had said to me.

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