Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex viii10

Letter to the then Registrar of Members' Interests from Mr Keith Bennett

I am writing on behalf of Keith Vaz MP. I am his Agent. I have had the briefest of conversations with Mr Vaz, who, as you know, has been advised by his doctors to rest, following his illness last month.

In our conversation, Mr Vaz asked me to write and thank you for your letter of March 28th concerning his possible visit during Easter. This visit did not take place, but Mr Vaz is grateful for the advice which you have given him and will follow it.

You will recall that Mr Vaz came to see you about donations made by Lord Paul, the Chairman of Caparo plc. You kindly gave Mr Vaz a set of Registers going back to December 1992. As Mr Vaz told you, Lord Paul has informed Mr Vaz that the Committee had written to him in February 2001, asking him to set out any donations made to Mr Vaz by Lord Paul. Mr Vaz has not seen this letter and it did not appear in the Report.

However, may I confirm the advice that you gave and seek any further comments or advice you may have. A donation was made in 1992 to the Labour Party for the 1992 election campaign. This was for £500.Your advice was that this was not registrable. Two donations were made some time in 1993 and 1994 which were used for the purchase of computer equipment and telephone equipment attached to the computer. These appear in the Register published in January 1995 and are listed as "computer equipment donated by the Caparo group". (Apparently there was no register in 1993 although there was one in 1994.) There are two further donations which appear in the January and October 1997 Registers. Mr Vaz spoke to you about the use of Lord Paul's name whereas, in fact, the donations were from his company, but he believes you did not regard this as an important point.

Mr Vaz would also like to make it clear that Lord Paul is a personal friend and the godfather of his son. Along with Lord Paul's other family and personal friends, Mr Vaz and his family generally attend the annual social gathering hosted by Lord Paul and his family in memory of his late daughter at the Ambika Paul Children's Zoo in Regents Park. Please let me know if you think this has any relevance. I would like to know whether you are content with the above or whether there is anything further you would wish him to do. I have Mr Vaz's authority to action anything you advise. I can be contacted on *** or ***.

With best wishes.

20 April 2001

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