File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
MEETING WITH MR PAUL DOUBLE, 26 JUNE 2002
Mr Double (Deputy City Remembrancer) came to see me in response to my letter of 5 June.
He told me that there was no contemporaneous note of the meeting on 24 October 2000. The focus of the meeting had been on the amendments the City had prepared to try to meet Mr McDonnell's concerns about their Bill and he had not thought it necessary to take a note of the discussions as he had been expecting to hear subsequently Mr McDonnell's considered response to those amendments.
As regards the questions listed in my letter, Mr Double said that:
(1) the purpose of the meeting had been to explore the proposed amendments with Mr McDonnell, which it was hoped would enable a compromise with him. Present at the meeting had been Lord Brooke, Mr McDonnell, Ms Judith Mayhew and himself. Ms Mayhew had opened and he (Mr Double) had followed with an explanation of the amendments. He remembered Mr McDonnell urging him 'get on with it' and thought it clear at the time that the amendments would not satisfy him.
(2)-(4) Mr Double recalled Lord Brooke raising the question of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. This had happened in a discussion aside between Lord Brooke and Mr McDonnell. Mr Double could not recall the precise exchange between the two menhis focus had been on the amendmentsbut he was aware from his body language that Mr McDonnell had registered the exchange. However, Mr McDonnell had not reacted at any point as if he had taken exception to the exchange.
Mr Double said that the wider discussion about the amendments had continued following the exchange and Mr McDonnell had asked about consultation on them. He had said that he was grateful for the meeting and would come back within 48 hours with his view on the amendments, although he had not in fact done so.
In response to questions, Mr Double said that he did recall one particular bit of the exchange between Lord Brookes and Mr McDonnell, in which Mr McDonnell had said that he was not interested in going on the Select Committee and Lord Brookes had said something on the lines of 'I shall nevertheless keep trying for you on the Committee'.
Mr Double had not had any forewarning that the matter of the Committee would be raised. He had wondered why it had been raised but it had not been a central feature of the meeting so he had not dwelt on it. Lord Brooke had not made any explicit reference to the Committee in the context of the Bill.
Mr Double added that Lord Brooke had always behaved honorably in his dealings with him.
5 July 2002 PM