Letter to Mr Colin Hall, Chairman, Leicester
East Constituency Labour Party, from the Clerk of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges
Following a complaint from Mr Mustafa Kamal,
the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has passed a copy
of your letter to Mr Kamal of 8 May to the Committee on Standards
and Privileges for its consideration.
The Committee has instructed me to say that
it takes a serious view of the situation disclosed by your letter.
The House regards any evidence given to the
Commissioner for the purposes of her inquiries into complaints
against Members of Parliament as proceedings in Parliament which
are fully protected by Parliamentary privilege. Any attempt to
put pressure on a witness in connection with his evidence would
be a contempt of the House.
In the Committee's view, your threat to take
legal action against a witness in respect of his evidence to the
Commissioner is prima facie a serious contempt of the House.
The Committee has seen a copy of your letter
e-mailed to the Commissioner on 18 May, which it regards as insufficient.
The Committee has instructed me to ask you to provide a full written
explanation of your actions, which should reach me not later than
Wednesday 31 May.
The Committee wishes to know:
by what means you obtained a copy
of Mr Kamal's letter of 17 April to the Commissioner;
in what circumstances your letter
of 8 May to Mr Kamal came to be written; and
whether you are aware of any other
approaches to witnesses in connection with evidence given to the
The Committee will require you to appear before
it in person on Tuesday 6 June at 10.30am in Committee Room 13
in the House of Commons.
The Committee will act in every instance of
improper behaviour towards a witness.
23 May 2000