Letter to the Clerk of the Committee
from Mr Geoffrey Bindman
Thank you for your letter of 14 December.
I now enclose 12 copies of the Preliminary Response
of Mr Vaz to the Commissioner's draft memorandum and I confirm
that a further response will be submitted early in January.
I can certainly let you have this document in due
course electronically should you require it.
In my letter to the Chairman of 13 December I draw
attention to Mr Vaz's concern that documents should be kept completely
confidential until the Committee has completed its detailed consideration.
In this connection, I draw attention to the article
from the Sunday Times of yesterday which is included in the enclosed
Appendix to the Preliminary
Response. The article contains a quotation from the Commissioner.
In its last report the Committee in paragraph 73
expressed its concern at the action of the press and deplored
the leaking of evidence and speculation about the Commissioner's
conclusions. It is obviously of the greatest importance to Mr
Vaz that every possible step should be taken to prevent leaks
and he requests that the Committee now initiate an enquiry into
how the Sunday Times obtained information about the draft memorandum.
Mr Vaz is also concerned, as I indicated in my letter
of 13 December about the possible bias that may occur if the Commissioner
believes that he is a leading "whisperer" as suggested
by the Guardian. It is plainly important that the Commissioner
should make it clear at this stage whether or not she regards
Mr Vaz as one of those engaged in a whispering campaign against
her. If she does believe that, then surely the whole basis of
her purporting to conduct an impartial investigation in relation
to Mr Vaz is undermined.
I should be grateful if the Committee will give consideration
to these matters at its meeting tomorrow.
17 December 2001
1 See Annexes to Appendix 3. Back