The Conduct of Lord Moonie, Lord Snape, Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor of Blackburn - Privileges Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 154-159)

Lord Snape

10 MARCH 2009

  Q154  Chairman: Lord Snape, first of all, can I thank you for coming this afternoon and giving us your time. I just want to begin by explaining to you the purpose of the Sub-Committee's inquiry. As you are aware, it is to investigate a complaint made by Baroness Royall which is based on the allegations printed by the Sunday Times newspaper of 25 January and supported by the evidence recorded in transcripts, which you have, provided by the Sunday Times and Hansard. What we want to do this afternoon is to establish the facts before coming to our conclusions based on our interpretation of the Code of Conduct. We will be reporting to the Committee of Privileges where you have a right of appeal. Also, I want to emphasise that the Sub-Committee's purpose is really to establish whether there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct and we are not considering the behaviour of the Sunday Times newspaper. This session is being held in private but a full transcript is being taken and you will have the opportunity to see the transcript and correct it at a later stage. It may be referred to or published at the discretion of the Sub-Committee and the Committee of Privileges. As it is on record, when we refer to the evidence and references, I think it will be helpful if you can refer to the page numbers and so on so it is all very clear. Before I start, is there anything that you want to clarify about the procedure?

Lord Snape: No, my Lord Chairman. Can I just say, I am suffering from a slight eye infection at the present time for which I am taking some drops. When I look down at the page my eyes water so if I am a bit hesitant in responding it is for those reasons and none other.

  Q155  Chairman: We understand that. Before we start our questioning would you like to make a statement or say anything by way of introduction?

  Lord Snape: I have listened, my Lord Chairman, to your opening comments. Whilst I do not want to start by accusing the Sunday Times of anything—I am here to defend my own conduct—I hope I might be allowed to refer to the differences between the transcript of the Sunday Times and the one provided by Hansard to illustrate the problem I have with the newspaper right from the start. But, other than that, I would be delighted to answer questions your Committee has.

  Q156  Chairman: We will be happily working to the Hansard transcripts if you would be comfortable with that?

  Lord Snape: I would be more than comfortable with it but I hope I will be allowed to point out some of the discrepancies.

  Q157  Chairman: Absolutely.

  Lord Snape: Thank you.

  Q158  Lord Irvine of Lairg: Lord Snape, just so you know the route of travel, I would like to start with Michael Gillard's conversation with you on the telephone on Friday 23 January, so if you could have that by you, and then what I would like to do, if you are content with that, is to move into the Hansard transcript and it is the Hansard transcript that I will be referring to essentially throughout.

  Lord Snape: I have got the early calls from Michael Gillard.

  Q159  Lord Irvine of Lairg: It is the call that he made, and if you look at the transcript, which is the Hansard transcript, it is headed up CD2 transcript and it starts off at page 13 of 29.

  Lord Snape: I see.

  Lord Irvine of Lairg: It starts at page 13 of 29 but I want to take you—

  Lord Cope of Berkeley: The whole call starts at page 12 of 29.

  Lord Irvine of Lairg: That is right but—

  Lord Cope of Berkeley: You are drawing our attention to?

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