LETTER:Attempts to discredit Scott

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From Mr Menzies Campbell

Sir: Lord Justice Scott's report goes to members of the cabinet this week and will be published on 15 February. It promises to be one of the most penetrating analyses of the shadowy workings of Whitehall, and is predicted to lead to severe embarrassment for the Government and certain cabinet ministers.

In the period between now and publication, serious government efforts will be mounted to discredit, in advance, the conclusions of the report. Indeed, this has already started with the publication of knowing articles by certain "trusties", selective leaking of parts of the report and the briefing of journalists thought to be well-disposed to the Government.

What Lord Justice Scott has to say after more than three years of investigation will raise issues that go right to the very heart of the present government's integrity. Anyone in the Government who thinks that the results of this inquiry can be brushed away, or

that they should be, is mistaken.

When the inquiry was established, in the form which the Government chose, it was generally recognised that the issue had been kicked into touch. The ball is coming back in to play. The participants should stick to the rules of the game. The much damaged reputation of Parliament can only be diminished even further in the eyes of the public if they do not.

Yours sincerely,

Menzies Campbell

MP for Fife North East (Lib Dem)

House of Commons

London, SW1

The writer is Liberal Democrat foreign affairs and defence spokesman.