Examination of witness (Questions 880
TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2001
880. No doubt Millbank will look forward to
another very generous donation.
(Mr Vaz) If you want to write from Swansea, I am sure
we can accommodate you.
Mr Williams: I do not want anything.
881. We are dealing with these sort of untraceable
payments and cheque stubs which say "K Vaz". Of course
of all MPs yours is the name most easily written on a cheque stub,
is it not? It just happens to be the shortest, so there could
have been payments to this or that charity and people wrote "K
Vaz" because it was easier to write.
(Mr Vaz) There is one called Vis and I sometimes get
his letters but he does not look anything like me. But thank you
for that point. (Mr Vaz took instructions)
882. Who decided the payment of £8,700
would be made to the National Labour Party?
(Mr Vaz) The party, the agent.
883. Not the officers?
(Mr Vaz) No, because the officers cease to exist.
The only functioning person at the time of an election, as far
as I can remember, and I have now fought five campaigns, is the
agent. The agent is in law responsible. He would have consulted
the treasurer of the Labour Party before making that decision.
884. The National Labour Party?
(Mr Vaz) No, the treasurer of the Labour Party would
have asked for the money.
885. The local Labour Party?
(Mr Vaz) Yes.
886. So these cheques were not paid
(Mr Vaz) Not Piara Singh Clair, who was not the treasurer.
887. So these payments were not paid into the
election account, but the decision to pass them on was made by
the election agent alone?
(Mr Vaz) No, because the name of the account does
not say "election". The way you settle your election
bills is at the end of the time. This is another thing the Telegraph
raised. You do not put donors in your election account, you settle
your bill, you send a cheque for what you spent, we spent exactly
what we were required to spend in the election. If the money arrived
before, there were other things the Leicester East Labour Party
wanted to do. If the money arrived afterwards, as some of it did,
it would be spent on other things because people say, "I
want to make a donation" and they do not send you a cheque,
so some of this arrived afterwards, so there was no way it could
have been spent on the election. If I can remember the election,
it was probably JuneI am sorry, I do not know the date
of the election.
888. 1 May.
(Mr Vaz) 1 Mayhow could I forget? Some of it
would have arrived afterwards.
889. If Mr Vaz finds on reflection he wants
to revise the answer it was his election agent alone, it might
be helpful to know that. Of the five people named in the register,
can Mr Vaz confirm that at least one of those payments was for
(Mr Vaz) Yes, but it would not have to be cleared
in the National Party's accounts.
890. I was not asking that question. Can we
know whether these cheques, assuming they were chequescan
we assume they were cheques?
(Mr Vaz) Yes.
891. Can we know who the payee was?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, because it was paid into two accounts,
the names of which are here. They are successor accounts.
892. And on the cheque itself, each cheque said
that particular account name?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, as far as I am aware. I do not know,
I cannot remember. I have a letter here from someone who has looked
at the accounts, I have not gone and looked at every single cheque.
893. Who was the treasurer in 1996?
(Mr Vaz) John Robinson.
894. Thank you very much for coming along. I
will need to have a look at that document.
(Mr Vaz) Mr Chairman, can I make one point, if I may,
about the Sunday Telegraph yet again?
(Mr Vaz) I am sorry to bore the Committee with this.
Yet again witnesses to an inquiry have been publishing their accounts
in the newspapers. I have written to the Attorney General and
asked him whether he would do something on this contempt process.
I understand if things are leaked out from the Committeewell,
I do not understand it but if it happens, it happensI do
not know where it is coming from but it is clear that the Sunday
Telegraph articles are coming from the two Sunday Telegraph
reporters. They are clearly benefiting from the publication of
confidential information that is held by this Committee and therefore
the Telegraph is benefiting, because no other newspaper
is getting its accounts in such detail as they are. The Sunday
Times are, Mr Bindman tells me, but not with this detail.
A number of people have already seen this report. If it goes on
much longer, you know, one wonders what is going to happen here.
It has been a year now and the issue of cost is important. It
is costing me personally an enormous amount of money. This is
not a reflection on Mr Bindman, I could not have got through this
without Mr Bindman because I have to do my other work. Mr Campbell-Savours
asks why, the reason is, we want to get it right. We do not want
to do things which are wrong. If we had a different process, it
could work but we do not have that process now. This (indicating
document) is to be shown to you, Chairman. I will wait outside.
896. And to the clerk?
(Mr Vaz) Is he a member of the Labour Party?
897. No, he is not.
(Mr Vaz) All right, we will show it to him. But nobody
else. I am not being deselected at the last moment. Do you want
to see this outside because I would like to take them away with
me, I do not want to be in a position where they are copied.
898. If you give it to me now, I will look at
it and return it to you.
(Mr Vaz) May I consult Mr Bindman outside?
Mr Campbell-Savours: Why don't we adjourn
for two minutes.
899. I think it can be handled straight away.
Can you handle it straight away without adjourning?
(Mr Vaz) No, I would just like to read through this.
Chairman: Two minutes then.