Patricia Hewitt defended the roles played by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and her husband Jack Dromey - who is also a Labour frontbencher - who were both prominent figures in the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty).
"When Jack Dromey, as NCCL chairman in 1976, vigorously opposed PIE at the NCCL AGM, he did so with the full support of the executive committee and myself as general secretary," she said.
"Harriet did not join the NCCL staff until 1978. She was one of two legal officers, neither of whom was a member of the executive committee."
More top news
At least 23 have written letters to Sir Graham Brady, but only he knows how near the total is to the 48 which would trigger a ballot.
The Brazilian-born boss was arrested by prosecutors in Tokyo.
A funeral has been held for 13-year-old boxer Anucha Tasako, who died of a brain hemorrhage after a Muay Thai fight.