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


Letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

from Mr Keith Vaz MP

I was astonished to get a call from The Sunday Times Political Editor last Saturday 22nd December to be told that he had been given a copy of Mrs Filkin's memorandum and conclusions. The article which was subsequently published contained clearly inaccurate and defamatory statements.

You will have been aware of Geoffrey Bindman's concern about the passing of the memorandum to the press and indeed the Committee's statement at the end of the last inquiry.

Last Wednesday I asked the Clerk if I could be given a copy of the conclusions so that I would focus on whatever issues were outstanding. He told me that he did not have the Committee's permission. It is extraordinary that newspapers have received a copy of the conclusions before the Member.

Mr Sandall told Mr Bindman that the Committee was "taking seriously the complaints about The Sunday Times". I welcomed this robust approach. Now that the Sunday Times has shown even greater contempt for the Committee and its procedures I would be grateful to know what action will be taken, not just against them but against the person or persons who gave them the memorandum.

Mr Sandall has indicated that Mrs Filkin has said I was not a "whisperer" against her. I would be glad if you could let me know when this conversation took place, and whether it was minuted. This is of course contradicts what Mrs Filkin has said to Mr Speaker. My name is in the material she produced in support of her allegations.

I remain happy to assist the Committee in any way I can.

I look forward to hearing from you.

25 December 2001

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