Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
2 NOVEMBER 2009
Q200 Chairman: Because of course
there was a video taken which has been repeated on a number of
occasions since then. You do not know whether it was a video or
a report of the fact a search had been undertaken?
Mr Sinclair: I do not know.
Chairman: Michael Howard?
Q201 Mr Howard: You were present,
Mr Sinclair, at the meeting of 2 December?
Mr Sinclair: I was.
Q202 Mr Howard: I do not know if
you have had the opportunity of reading the former Speaker's statement
but you have heard the evidence he has given this afternoon. Can
you confirm, as he says at the end of paragraph 27 of his statement,
that at that meeting he was told that the Serjeant had asked the
Clerk on a "what if" basis whether she had the authority
to consent to bring the police into a Member's office and the
Clerk had informed her that she had that authority?
Mr Sinclair: I think that was
part of the discussion.
Q203 Chairman: Can you also confirm
that the expressions by the Clerk about Chief Superintendent Bateman,
which are reproduced at paragraph 29
Mr Sinclair: I do not remember
the term "bamboozled" but I do remember that there seemed
to be a feeling that perhaps Superintendent Bateman had not kept
the Serjeant fully in the picture about what this meant and there
was some concern about the confidentiality of the counter-terrorist
police investigating this case.
Sir Alan Beith: That is rephrasing it.
Q204 Chairman: That is a different
gloss, if you like, on what took place. A concern is one thing
but the language which Lord Martin used was very specific and
that is why I put it to him that the Clerk intervened to say that
Chief Superintendent Bateman had bamboozled the Serjeant and tricked
her into keeping the matter from her immediate superiors. Do you
remember that language?
Mr Sinclair: I think there was
an expression that he had not dealt with her straightly, he had
not really fully informed her of what the position was but I do
not remember the term "bamboozled" being used.
Q205 Ann Coffey: Do you remember
the term "tricked"?
Mr Sinclair: I do not remember.
Q206 Sir Alan Beith: Whether it was
Mr Sinclair: I do not remember
whether it was used or not.
Q207 Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Whatever
words were used, were you left with the impression that the suggestion
was that the Chief Superintendent had deliberately not informed
the Serjeant that she had the option to decline the search?
Mr Sinclair: It appeared to be
Q208 Mr Blunkett: Could I just go
back to the point I was making with Lord Martin. You recall the
phone call, Mr Sinclair, that you had to make when Lord Martin
was at his brother's house?
Mr Sinclair: Yes.
Q209 Mr Blunkett: And the difficulty
of getting him. You had found out by then that a search warrant
had not been obtained and it was your unfortunate duty to tell
him. Is that right?
Mr Sinclair: That is generally
correct, Sir. I told him that there was a consent form and this
letter that I have spoken about earlier but no warrant and he
was surprised by that and determined that he should see these
pieces of paper. Of course at that time I had not seen them myself.
Q210 Chairman: Were these pieces
of paper faxed to him at home? Is that right?
Mr Sinclair: They were.
Q211 Chairman: Was that by Mr Barratt?
Mr Barratt: Yes, that was me.
Later that evening I faxed them to Glasgow.
Q212 Chairman: Mr Barratt, did you
have any other connection with these events that we are discussing?
Mr Barratt: Not at all. I was
told by the Speaker's Secretary between half five and six o'clock
on that Thursday evening what was happening and that I should
be around to speak to Mr Speaker in due course over the evening.
Q213 Ms Hewitt: Mr Sinclair, when
the Clerk said to you that it appeared that the Serjeant had given
consent but should not have done so, did he say to you, "Of
course there should have been a search warrant," or make
any other reference to a search warrant and did he mention Sir
William McKay's memorandum which dealt with exactly this kind
of situation but of course was several years old?
Mr Sinclair: He made it clear
to that me there was not a search warrant. He thought that the
Serjeant had made a mistake and he did not make any mention of
Sir William McKay's memorandum.
Q214 Chairman: Did you know of Sir
William McKay's memorandum at that time?
Mr Sinclair: I did not and in
fact I searched subsequently through my office's records and it
is not held in the Speaker's office.
Mr Blunkett: That is quite interesting.
Chairman: That is a very interesting
piece of information.
Q215 Ms Hewitt: But it might have
been held in the Clerk's office as distinct from the Speaker's
Mr Sinclair: That is true. It
was from that office it had originated in the first place.
Chairman: Gentlemen, I do not think we
need to detain you any longer. Thank you very much for your attendance
and for your evidence.