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

Annex 9

Letter to Mr Keith Vaz MP

from Mr David Hencke, Westminster Correspondent, The Guardian

You are aware that The Guardian is investigating the reasons for the decision by the House of Commons Commission not to reappoint Elizabeth Filkin as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Could you confirm your knowledge of a campaign, which some would describe as a whispering campaign, to ensure that Mrs Filkin was not reappointed.

We would welcome your response to such an understanding and would be grateful if you could respond by 6 pm this evening.

My apologies for the tight timescale within which a response is required.

23 November 2001

(Handwritten note by Mr Vaz: "This was received by me at 10 pm")

Letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

from Mr Keith Vaz MP

I enclose a copy of a letter that I have sent to the Guardian following David Hencke's article today.

I informed Mrs Filkin last week that Mr Hencke had contacted me and the questions that he put to me about Michael Honey. She said that she was grateful that I had informed her.

Mrs Filkin has informed me that her draft report would be sent to me in the near future. She is proposing to give me 5 days only to comment on it. I do not know its length or contents and I may have to write to you again about timescale.

26 November 2001

Letter to the Editor, The Guardian,

from Mr Keith Vaz MP

David Hencke (Guardian 26th November 2001) has got his facts wrong. The only person who has mentioned the words "whispering campaign" to me is Mr Hencke himself.

He refers to two issues. The first is my relationship with Michael Honey, Mrs Filkin's husband and the second is Mrs Filkin's relationship with one of the key witnesses in the inquiry Peter Soulsby. Both these issues were raised not in a "whispering campaign" but in newspaper articles last year and this year in which I had no involvement. Quite properly my solicitor Geoffrey Bindman informed the Committee of these facts. This was last year in 2000 not in the spring of this year as Mr Hencke incorrectly claims. In their report the Committee did not consider any issues of conflict of interest by Mrs Filkin.

26 November 2001

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