Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report


Attachment 1

Letter to David Price, Solicitors & Advocates from Ms Eileen Eggington QPM

MARIA FERNANDES

I am in receipt of your letter dated 22nd November 2001. Your letter purports to be a letter before action, yet does not specify the cause of action which your client has in mind. Her claims are nebulous and smack of a "fishing expedition".

If, as appears to be the case, your client is contemplating an action for breach of confidence, I should like to point out the following:

1.  I have never had any relationship with your client which gives rise to a duty of confidence;

2.  The only material which could be argued to be confidential to your client and which I have ever had in my possession was passed by me to the appropriate public bodies, i.e.: the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Head of the Security & Anti-Corruption Unit, Home Office, Immigration Department;

3.  In particular, it was not passed by me to the Mail on Sunday;

4.  I have never given your client any reason to believe that I would pass such material to anyone else, and I can confirm (without giving any undertaking) that it is my settled intention not to do so;

5.  I would add that at all times I have acted properly and in good faith.

I do not believe that you can have any evidence to contradict the above, and I therefore invite you to withdraw your claims and to desist from this correspondence.

For the reasons stated, it will come as no surprise to you that I decline to give the undertakings and other relief which your client seeks. She must surely be aware that her threat to apply the court is misconceived and inappropriate. Any such application will be completely unjustified and will be firmly resisted.

6 December 2001


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 8 February 2002