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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 10:27 GMT
Full text: Yates letter
Here is the full text of Acting Assistant Commissioner John Yates' letter to Tony Wright, chairman of the Commons Public Administration Committee.

Thank you for your letter of 7th November 2006. I have now had the opportunity to consult with the CPS on this matter and I am writing to provide you with some further information that I hope will go some way to meeting the needs of your Select Committee.

Before I go into any detail, I thought it appropriate to comment on some of the publicity surrounding this investigation in recent days.

Speculation about the outcome and progress of this inquiry is not something we welcome. It would seem perverse to suggest (as some commentators have) that it is the police inquiry team who are responsible for placing matters in the public domain.

I say this in view of the very significant time invested by us in persuading you and your Committee to do precisely the opposite, firmly believing, as we do, that this may undermine the investigation.

I have, however, conducted a further review of our own operational security. I am confident that this remains very tight. This is endorsed by the fact that the major developments in this inquiry are not in the public domain.

You can be assured that I will continue to monitor matters very closely.

You can also be assured that this case is being closely monitored at the most senior levels of this organisation. I will now turn to the further information required by your Committee.

I would emphasise that what may appear to be the lack of detail I am able to provide at this time is purely a consequence of the overriding need to keep confidential operational matters which may be the subject of future criminal proceedings.

I intend no discourtesy to either you or your Committee and, as I have indicated to you previously, I will be prepared to discuss all relevant details of the investigation when I am in a position to do so.

The inquiry continues to work within the parameters I outlined to you when I appeared before your Committee in May 2006.

That is we are focusing on the 2005 Working Peerages List and any offences in that period relating to the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuse) Act and PPERA 2000 Act.

This, you will recall, was in order to keep the inquiry in manageable proportions and is where the best and most recent evidence is likely to be found.

These parameters are also set in the interests of timeliness. There is clearly a great public interest in resolving these matters as soon as possible.

By keeping the parameters narrow and focusing on where the evidence, if it is available, is likely to be, we will then be best placed to report our findings to the CPS at the earliest opportunity.

None of the above prevents us from widening the scope of the inquiry should this be necessary or considering any offences under other legislation should these come to light.

We continue to liaise with the Electoral Commission in relation to the PPERA 2000 and that we have also received excellent cooperation from both the Cabinet Office and the House of Lords Appointments Commission in relation to our inquiries.

To date, my investigative team have conducted 90 interviews.

They can be broken down as follows - Labour Party: 35 interviews ; Conservative Party - 29 interviews , Liberal Democrats - 4 interviews , Non-Party - 22 interviews.

It is my view that considerable progress continues to be made.

The investigative team have and continue to adopt a thorough, methodical and impartial approach to the investigation.

This has resulted in the acquisition of significant and valuable material in relation to the development of the inquiry.

Due to the possibility of future criminal proceedings and the need for further inquiries to be undertaken, I do not believe it would be appropriate to comment further on the current status of the inquiry.

As I enter what I consider to be the final stages of the investigation, I understand fully the Committee's desire for a timescale.

Assuming the cooperation of the Parties and individuals involved, then I hope to be able to forward a file to the CPS in January 2007.

I would emphasise that this is dependant on a number of factors that are beyond my control. It will also be subject to any additional lines of investigation that may result from the inquiries I am about to undertake.

I would also emphasise that any submission to the CPS will then involve careful consideration by them of what are likely to be complex and sensitive legal issues.

There may then also be the need to undertake further inquiries as proposed by the CPS.

I remain available to you should you wish to discuss any issues regarding the investigation.

John Yates T/Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police Service.


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