Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


Thank you for your recent letter which I received on 30 April in response to mine of 22 April about my request for help in identifying the location of Ms Smith's overnight stays in London and Redditch since her appointment as Home Secretary.

I was grateful to receive your advice. In the light of what you say, I will need to consider whether my request is so central to my inquiry that I must refer this matter to the Committee on Standards and Privileges for it to consider whether to exercise its power to ask you for your papers and records in relation to this matter. But, before, considering this further, it would be very helpful if you could give me some further guidance on what you say in the penultimate paragraph of your letter. You refer there to not being able to release the information I have requested on the basis of considerations at this time, but should the position change, you would be content to reconsider that view. Could you let me know what changed conditions you consider would be necessary in order for you to reconsider your view? Could you also let me know what reassurances from me might help to meet your security/privacy concerns, given that I am asking only for annualized returns and assuming that the appropriate level of consent is provided by the data subject.

You asked about the confidentiality of our correspondence. I dealt with this point in the penultimate paragraph of my letter to the Commissioner of 22 April. In effect, our correspondence is in confidence at this stage. I may need to report to the Committee if I were to decide that I needed them to consider whether to call upon you for papers and information, otherwise, I would, as I explained in my previous letter, expect to show our correspondence to the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP and to include it, with any suitable redactions, in the evidence I would submit to the Committee on Standards and Privileges in any memorandum I prepared for that Committee, which the Committee would expect to publish with its report. It is open to you to ask me not to submit all the evidence to the Committee and to ask the Committee not to publish the evidence I show them.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you would like to discuss this further, please let me know.

7 May 2009

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