Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence

40.  Letter to the Commissioner from Councillor Laurie Braham, 25 October 2003

Thank you for your letter of the 20th October 2003, the contents of which I have carefully perused and given much consideration.

While being extremely surprised, and not a little annoyed, that a telephone conversation between myself and a BBC reporter should have been electronically recorded, and no advisement given, I feel, that as I had absolutely nothing to fear, emanating from my replies, I should take the matter no further.

Apart from the fact that the reporter appears to have had a different agenda from that of the main thrust of her questioning, which later became apparent, I can find no fault in the accuracy of the typed transcript of the conversation between myself and the reporter. However, I must protest that with her agenda in mind, how could I possibly be expected to know what goes on in IDS's office or what his arrangements of staffing are? Had she come right out and told me what she was after, I would have told her of an occasion when I, IDS and Betsy were at a local, social function, I asked Iain about the possibility of meeting him at an imminent political event. It was Betsy who reminded him that he would be elsewhere on that date. I was also aware (colleagues having in the past told me) that Betsy had answered the phone when they had telephoned Iain's Office.

I trust that the foregoing has been both informative and helpful, but as you say in your letter, the period about which you are seeking information, is some time ago. The occasion which I mentioned earlier, that is, when I enquired about meeting Iain at a local political gathering, took place at the Christmas Bazaar, which would have been early in December 2002.

25 October 2003

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