Examination of Witnesses (Questions 154-159)|
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 anythingI am here
to defend my own conductI 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
Lord Snape: I would be more than comfortable
with it but I hope I will be allowed to point out some of the
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