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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
In full: Police letter on loans
The Metropolitan Police has given MPs more details of its inquiry into complaints about secret Labour loans. Here is the full text of Deputy Assistant Commission John Yates' letter to Tony Wright, chairman of the Commons public administration committee.

RE: Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925

I refer to our telephone conversation of Friday evening concerning the above. For the record, in that conversation I registered my concerns in relation to the proposed public affairs select committee meeting commencing on Tuesday 28th March 2006.

I indicated to you that many of the individuals that you wished to hear evidence from may be the very people that could be central to our criminal inquiry, either as witnesses or suspects.

My concerns were that your scrutiny could be viewed as an abuse of process in terms of fairness in any future potential criminal trial. I have consulted closely with senior lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service about this matter.

They share my concerns and are happy for them to be articulated in this letter.

I do, of course, recognise that our enquiries are at a very early stage and that charges are not imminent.

I therefore concede that these matters cannot be considered sub-judice at this stage. I also recognise the authority of Parliament to consider and scrutinise these matters under Article 9 of the 1689 Bill of Rights.

I would however ask you to take into account the recommendations contained in the report by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege dated 9th April 1999 (HC 214 1998/1999).

In this report, the Joint Committee concluded that "corruption, a serious and insidious offence, could only be dealt with effectively by using the police and the courts. Prosecution through the courts is the only credible remedy and the only credible deterrent for any briber".

Whilst it may be too early for us to widen our investigation into the arena of corruption, I certainly have not ruled this out.

I would argue, therefore, that the principle articulated in the Joint Committee report remains a valid one for you to consider.

I am more than happy to assist you personally on these matters and would be content, if necessary, to provide a briefing around the structure and terms of reference of my investigation to the committee if you thought this would be helpful.

I would be very grateful if you could inform me, at your earliest convenience, whether and to what extent you intend to continue with your inquiry.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there are any other matters that require clarification.

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