The full text of Baroness Warsi's letter to David Cameron

 

"Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you concerning allegations that arrangements for a visit I made to Pakistan shortly after I became a Minister may have resulted in the appearance of a conflict of interest and a breach of the Ministerial Code.

This visit in question occurred within weeks of my appointment to the Cabinet, and after a visit to Pakistan by William Hague, after which he spoke of the appetite within Pakistan for me to visit at an early stage. You will be aware that both the Foreign Secretary and the British High Commission felt that a visit could capitalise on the interest and goodwill that my appointment had generated and would be advantageous for our countries' relationship. The visit was indeed successful and had a positive impact on the perception of the United Kingdom within Pakistan.

The British High Commission in Pakistan and my private office agreed to arrange two outreach events with communities in Mirpur and Bewal, towns from which many members of the British Pakistani community originate and the latter being the town nearest to the village from which my father migrated fifty years ago.

Unlike most High Commission activity, the events were outside the main city regions and targeted at large numbers of ordinary resident communities. It was agreed that this format would have the most positive media and community impact in fulfilling the visit's objectives. A number of members of the British Pakistani diaspora therefore assisted the British High Commission in the organisation and delivery of these events. All decisions about the two events lay ultimately with the High Commission and the members of the Pakistani diaspora merely provided advice and support.

One of those who assisted the High Commission in this way was Mr Abid Hussain. Mr Hussain is a community activist who has worked with senior politicians of all parties both in Pakistan and in the UK.

Abid Hussain is my husband's second-cousin. This relationship is widely known and my private office and the British High Commission were aware of this.

However, I did not recognise, at the point that this visit was arranged, a need to disclose to my officials and the High Commission that Abid Hussain and I have a common business interest as minority shareholders in a small food company. It is important to note that my own interest in the company has always been fully declared and disclosed to Cabinet Office.

I sincerely regret that I did not consider the significance of this relationship with Mr Hussain when the arrangements for the visit were being made. In retrospect, I accept that I should have made officials aware of the business relationship between Mr Hussain and myself, and for this I am sorry. I regret that this failure may have caused embarrassment to the Government.

In mitigation, I would point out the following:

:: All decisions about the two events lay ultimately with the High Commission and the members of the Pakistani diaspora merely provided advice and support.

:: This was not a trade-related visit, and Mr Hussain did not gain any financial or business advantage from his involvement in voluntarily assisting the High Commission with the event.

:: Mr Hussain was not part of the official delegation;

:: No aspect of his visit or travel was funded by the British Government;

:: No arrangements were made by my office or the British High Commission for him to meet leading politicians;

:: There was no personal financial benefit to either myself or any company with which I was connected as a consequence of the visit to Pakistan or Mr Hussain's involvement with it.

:: The company concerned has never had any suppliers, customers or any other financial interest in Pakistan; it does not trade in Pakistan.

:: In the interests of transparency, I want to put in record that in February 2011, Abid Hussain was present at an event for the launch the Office for Overseas Pakistanis and British Nationals. This works with police forces across the UK and British consular services on issues such as forced marriage and kidnapping. The event was organised by the British High Commission and both I and the High Commissioner spoke at it. Mr Hussain was in Pakistan as part of a separate cross-party parliamentary delegation which included Richard Harrington MP, Andrew Griffiths MP, Lord Nazir Ahmed and others, and my office had no involvement in his attendance at the event.

:: As a final point, the visit of July 2010 was organised within a few weeks of my appointment. It was at a time when my office accommodation and staffing were still being settled and I was finding my feet within Government. However, I have at all times disclosed my own personal financial interests in full on the register of Ministerial interests.

On a personal note, David, I am sincerely sorry for these difficulties.

If there are any further questions, I am of course happy to co-operate and assist in any way you feel appropriate.

Best wishes,

Sayeeda"

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions