Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee on Standards and Privileges from Sir Peter Soulsby


As I promised, I am responding further to three of the issues raised by Members of the Committee.

1.  Mr Williams questioned me about my differences with Mr Vaz about what constitutes 'proper behaviour in public life' (Q406). In this context I responded to Q407 by referring to "a number of occasions when Keith's behaviour towards the Council and Council officers has caused me considerable concern and, on some occasions, considerable embarrassment".

The first such incident that I recall was as long ago as 1991 when Mr Vaz went to extra-ordinary lengths to have a particular Council flat tenant (who asserted that he is a friend of Mr Vaz) reinstated after eviction. This eventually resulted in the embarrassment of an adverse District Audit Report for the Council, a copy of which I enclose.[2] I also enclose a summary of the City Council files on this case.[3] This summary was made by Councillor Ned Newitt, the then Chair of the Housing Committee, when he and I became aware of what had been happening.

Although, as the Auditor points out, his remit did not permit him to comment on the behaviour of an MP, the extent of Mr Vaz's involvement is clear from the report. The then Acting Director, Jed Lucas, complained that he was told that his continued employment by the Council was at risk should the tenant not be reinstated.

Other reports of inappropriate pressure from Mr Vaz came, amongst others, from Don Grant the former Director of Resources and from the current Director of Arts and Leisure, Mick Gallagher. Mr Gallagher has spoken to me of what I considered inappropriate pressure from Mr Vaz on behalf of a project, the Manager of which is seen as a close associate of Mr Vaz.

2.  In response to Mr Bottomley (Q439) I referred to the long standing concerns which some Labour Party Members have expressed about the operation of the finances of Leicester East CLP. This dates back at least to 1991 and I am enclosing the statement for the 'auditors' of the accounts for that year and of the views of the Treasurer from that period expressed in an interview with Ian Murray of the Times in 1994.

Pat Stuttard, one of those 'auditors', is amongst those who can confirm that the lack of transparency and absence of proper financial reports remains a matter of continuing concern today. Should the Committee be minded to seek further information on the operation of the finances of Leicester East CLP, Mrs Stuttard and her husband Roy (who I believe are the representatives of the Co-operative Party on the Constituency Labour Party Committee and its Executive) would, in my opinion, be reliable and independent witnesses.

3.  Also in response to Mr Bottomley (Q441-443), I referred to a letter signed by prominent members of the Asian community asking Mr Vaz not to interfere in the affairs of the Council. I note that you now have a copy of the letter. I have only found one cutting that directly relates to this. It is from the Leicester Mercury in May 1994.[4] There was also a significant amount of coverage in the British Asian press but I'm afraid that I don't have those cuttings.

I hope that this material is of assistance to the Committee and will, of course, be pleased to provide any further information or respond to any further questions if the Committee were to feel that it might be helpful.

14 February 2001

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