'This is for your own convenience and security'

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The Independent Online
This is the text of the letter sent to Robin Cook and other members of the Shadow Cabinet by Ian Lang's office at the Department of Trade and Industry:

Dear Mr Cook,

The Prime Minister has agreed that you should have access to Sir Richard Scott's report in advance of publication. Arrangements have been made for you to read the report at the Department of Trade and Industry from 12.00 on Thursday 15th February. This letter sets out the arrangements, should you wish to do so.

A car will be available for you at the Members' entrance at 11.45 (details attached). If, alternatively, you wish to come in Mr Blair's car, please let me know.

The car will take you at 12.00 to 1 Victoria Street. You will be met in the car park there by an official from this Department. This official will escort you throughout your visit. This is for your own convenience and security.

You will be escorted to a room in the DTI Conference Suite, where you will be able to read the report. Lord Richard will be in an adjacent room. Your escort will be just outside your door. Please ask them if there is anything else you need.

In keeping with the assurances we have given to Sir Richard Scott, I must ask you not to reveal the contents of the report in advance of publication to any person who has not also had advance access to it. I would be grateful if you could sign the attached undertaking, which should be returned to me by 16.30 on Wednesday 14th February. This mirrors assurances Ministers and officials have been asked to give.

If messages need to be got to you while you are reading this report, they should be routed via the Office of the Manager of DTI Conference Suite (Annabel Verity 0171-215 6951). I am afraid it will not be possible for you to send messages out.

If you need to reply to a message, your escort will telephone it through for you. In keeping with your assurances I would be grateful if you would not use a mobile phone or any other form of communication (mobile phones will not in any case operate in the conference area).

Coffee and sandwiches will be provided.

You will not be able to take a copy of the report with you. When you have finished reading, please contact the escort outside your door, who will arrange for the report to be taken into secure keeping. They will then take you back to the car which will return you to the House.

I should be grateful if you would confirm that you will be taking up these arrangements and whether a Lords' spokesman will also be doing so. I attach a copy of the assurances for the Lords' spokesman to sign and return.

John Alty

Principal Private Secretary

This is the text of the reply from Mr Blair's office:

Dear Mr Alty,

Mr Blair has asked me to reply to your letter of 13 February. Mr Blair has no intention of coming to the DTI to read the Scott report under the extraordinary and insulting conditions you propose.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Powell

Office of the Leader of the Opposition