Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners,
Thank you for your letter of 26 June which I
received yesterday on my return from abroad. Since then we have
spoken on the telephone and I have been able to obtain the further
instructions of my client.
As to the proposed meeting on Monday 3 July
at your office, Mr Vaz will be available from 11.30am until 1.15pm
and I hope that these times will still be convenient for you.
As to the purpose of the meeting, you have indicated
that you wish to check some matters of fact with my client and
to put to him any accounts which you have received from others
which appear to be at variance with his. In our telephone conversation
you agreed to put these matters in writing and obviously it would
be desirable for me to receive this as soon as possible so that
Mr Vaz will have an opportunity of considering this further material
before the meeting. May I repeat what I said in our telephone
conversation and in my recent letters: the matters to be put to
Mr Vaz should be evidence and should not include anything else.
Up to now no evidence has been disclosed which in my submission
meets the minimum standard of credibility which even calls for
a response from my client.
In response to my request in our telephone conversation
that you identify what you regard as evidence you said that you
had not reached the stage of assessing the evidence and were merely
wishing to clarify matters before you did so. I hope this fairly
expresses what you told me. This raises the question whether you
have yet got to the stage described in paragraph 8 of "The
Investigation Process" where you put to the Member evidence
which is at variance with what the Member has said and which you
feel might have weight. Does this mean there will be a further
occasion when, after assessing the evidence, you will wish to
put it to my client? If so, this contradicts the statement in
your letter that your intention is that the meeting on Monday
will be the last occasion on which you need to discuss the complaint
Finally, my client is concerned at your request
to tape any answers he may give at the meeting. You were good
enough to say that you would be willing to stop the tape at any
time for discussion off the record but my client is concerned
that he would apparently be the first Member to have a conversation
with you taped. He feels that anything he says at the meeting
could be recorded in a note which, if necessary, could be agreed.
As you know, he has been wholly co-operative throughout this lengthy
investigation and will continue to co-operate in every possible
way but on this particular point he is not persuaded that there
is any justification for your departing from your usual practice.
I look forward to hearing from you with the
matters I have raised in this letter before we meet on Monday.
29 June 2000