Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee

from Mr Geoffrey Bindman

Thank you for your letter of 14 December.

I now enclose 12 copies of the Preliminary Response of Mr Vaz to the Commissioner's draft memorandum and I confirm that a further response will be submitted early in January.

I can certainly let you have this document in due course electronically should you require it.

In my letter to the Chairman of 13 December I draw attention to Mr Vaz's concern that documents should be kept completely confidential until the Committee has completed its detailed consideration.

In this connection, I draw attention to the article from the Sunday Times of yesterday which is included in the enclosed Appendix[1] to the Preliminary Response. The article contains a quotation from the Commissioner.

In its last report the Committee in paragraph 73 expressed its concern at the action of the press and deplored the leaking of evidence and speculation about the Commissioner's conclusions. It is obviously of the greatest importance to Mr Vaz that every possible step should be taken to prevent leaks and he requests that the Committee now initiate an enquiry into how the Sunday Times obtained information about the draft memorandum.

Mr Vaz is also concerned, as I indicated in my letter of 13 December about the possible bias that may occur if the Commissioner believes that he is a leading "whisperer" as suggested by the Guardian. It is plainly important that the Commissioner should make it clear at this stage whether or not she regards Mr Vaz as one of those engaged in a whispering campaign against her. If she does believe that, then surely the whole basis of her purporting to conduct an impartial investigation in relation to Mr Vaz is undermined.

I should be grateful if the Committee will give consideration to these matters at its meeting tomorrow.

17 December 2001

1   See Annexes to Appendix 3. Back

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