Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex ii79

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Keith Vaz MP

Thank you for your letter of 19th October 2001which I received today. Thank you also for your assurance that you wish to conclude your report "as soon as possible".

99. I am putting together the information you requested. So that I can give you full and accurate answers I would be glad if you could send me the following information:

100. A copy of letters that Peter Soulsby is alleged to have written concerning employment at the Law Centre.

101. The written consent of Liz Williams that so I may send you her file.

102. A copy of the Register of Member's Staff.

103. A copy of any information concerning Wilberry that you have so that I may comment on it.

104. I have written to GMH to obtain the information you require as I do not have it on file. However I asked [your PA] in your absence (I called to speak to you yesterday afternoon but you were not in the office) to send me my correspondence with [the former] Registrar on this point.

105. I am sorry to press you again about your relationship with the press. You said in your letter of 11th October 2001:

"No one acts on my behalf other than staff at this office"

However in your letter of 19th October 2001 you now say:

"At my request the journalists Chris Hastings and Rajeev Syal of the Sunday Telegraph have provided me with information"

Last Saturday both these people contacted my Agent and my solicitor to ask them questions about the inquiry. It seems that they have taken your request for assistance as giving them certain protection. In the last inquiry you invited the Committee to take evidence from them. They were witnesses under your definition. The blurring of responsibilities between yourself and journalists is at the least confusing and at best grossly unfair. It also puts me to expense.

106. Could I therefore have your written confirmation that you have not asked these journalists or any others to gather information and that you will take a very serious view (as you have done in the past) if witnesses contact each other. I would be most grateful for this.

I look forward to hearing from you.

22 October 2001

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