Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Leveson and Watson

Last month I wrote to Tom Watson MP, following the publication of a "story" in the Reading Chronicle which made me aware that he had submitted evidence to the Leveson Inquiry which referred to me by name, and which was untrue.  I sent the letter by registered mail.  I have not received a reply.  The text is below:

Tom Watson MP
House of Commons
London W1A 0AA

Dear Tom Watson

Leveson Inquiry

I refer to the evidence uploaded to the Leveson Inquiry website on 22 May 2012, and specifically to the part of that evidence submitted to you by Martin Salter and which referred to me by name (see below).

"After a turbulent relationship with her local party my neighbouring MP Jane Griffiths was eventually deselected on 22nd February 2004.  The following Sunday she gave an angry interview to the Mail on Sunday and tried to smear me and others in a series of wholly false and ridiculous allegations.  My solicitors Bindmans managed to have my name removed..."

I have written to the Inquiry (copy enclosed) formally requesting that this part of that evidence be removed from the transcript of the Inquiry, for the reasons that it is both untrue in its reference to myself and irrelevant to the Inquiry. Its irrelevance is in fact confirmed by its author, Martin Salter, in a comment he submitted to a story about the giving of that evidence published in the Reading Chronicle (copy enclosed). In fact it was on having my attention drawn to the Reading Chronicle story that I first became aware of the existence of this evidence submitted to the Inquiry by yourself.

I am formally requesting you to remove the part of the materials submitted to you by Martin Salter which refer to me from your evidence to the Inquiry. I hope you will agree to do this, so that I need not consider any further action.

At no time was I approached by any of the parties or informed that my name was going to be submitted in evidence to the Inquiry. This appears to me to be at the very least discourteous, if not actually in bad faith, the more so as we are former colleagues in the House, but the usual courtesies should surely apply to everyone if they are to be meaningful.

Finally, the Reading Chronicle story quotes Martin Salter as saying that you had approached former MPs for evidence of phone hacking or any other criminal or wrongful behaviour on the part of News International employees. I was not so approached, nor were a number of other former MPs with whom I am in touch. I should be grateful for the names of those you approached, as I think we could have a useful conversation on certain matters. If the names are not to be supplied, an indication of how many former MPs you approached would also be helpful.

I can be contacted as above, and look forward to hearing from you.

Jane Griffiths

At the time of writing this post that evidence submitted by Tom Watson MP has not been withdrawn, and I have received no communication from him.  I have now made my own submission to the inquiry, which had not originally been my intention.  It is factual. 

I now have to consider my position and any future action.

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