Examination of Witness (Questions 240-259)|
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2002
240. You cannot or you will not?
(Mr Vaz) I cannot.
241. If you could, would you?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, if I could, if it meant not having to
spend lots and lots of time discussing something that I do not
think is relevant to the points that are being made. I did my
duty which was when this was told to me, I reported it to the
police and I asked for their advice. As they have very clearly
said in their letter, there is no complaint that has been made.
Everything that they have done has been because Mrs Filkin intervened,
everything, and that is precisely what I did not wantto
be treated in a different position because I was a Member of Parliament
to any other member of the public because if that happened what
it would look as if was that I was using my position in order
to get at witnesses, and I was not prepared to do that.
242. Can you be clear to the Committee how and
when your mother told you that she had received a call from Mrs
(Mr Vaz) When I went to Leicester when she was about
to be taken to the Infirmary.
243. So you went to her home?
(Mr Vaz) I live in her home when I am in Leicester.
244. You were not present when she had the call?
(Mr Vaz) No, I was in London.
245. So someone presumably informed you and
gave you information so you returned, understandably, to your
mother, and did she tell you about the call in the house?
(Mr Vaz) Yes. While we were waiting for the doctor
and the ambulance the words "Eggington" and "Filkin"
were mentioned in the conversationEggington and Filkin.
246. And can you recall how your mother knew
Eggington and Filkin?
(Mr Vaz) She does not know Eggington, she certainly
247. Had she known about Eggington?
(Mr Vaz) No, she had no idea. She would know the word
"Gresty" but that was not mentioned.
248. And did she say there had been a telephone
(Mr Vaz) Yes.
249. Can you tell us how you recall her putting
it to you?
(Mr Vaz) No. Exactly as I have saidAt that
moment, the first thing you are doing is you are trying to get
a doctor to certify that she should be taken to a hospital and
she then stopped breathing and that is why she has been on a ventilator
for three and a half weeks. It is not a lack of co-operation.
The last thing in the world that I want to happen now is for her
to be put in a position where she would have to answer any questions
about people that she has never met. She clearly knows who Mrs
Filkin is because the word Filkin is used occasionally in our
household but Mrs Eggington's name is not used. She does not know
Mrs Eggington. I do not know Mrs Eggington, I have never met her
and I have never had a conversation with Mrs Eggington.
250. So if it turns out that there was not an
incoming call from someone called Mrs Eggington or someone purporting
to be Mrs Eggington, your mother would not have known her name?
(Mr Vaz) No. She knows Mrs Filkin's name, that is
the whole point about this. That is the information that was passed
on to the police. They have been asked to go in a direction and,
frankly, I am astonished.
Chairman: I am anxious to conclude, if
I can, in one session even if it means going on beyond one o'clock
but I am very anxious that colleagues should have the opportunity.
I believe we can finish it in the next 20 minutes but we will
see how we get on. Mr Foster?
251. Mr Vaz, following on from Mr Bottomley's
questions about how you discovered about this alleged telephone
call, you say your mother used the words "Filkin" and
"Eggington". How did it come in context that it was
a telephone call? Are you absolutely clear that it was a telephone
(Mr Vaz) Yes. It was not a visit to the house because
that would be the only alternative.
252. I know she was very ill at the time but
how did you establish it was Mrs Eggington and not Ms Filkin who
was making the call?
(Mr Vaz) I did not.
253. Did you then have a further opportunity
to discuss that or have you at any time since?
(Mr Vaz) No.
254. So the information that you gave to the
police the following dayI assume it was the following day?
(Mr Vaz) Whatever the police say when I rang the Chief
255. Were you satisfied that it had been earlier
that day when you spoke to your mother that the alleged call had
(Mr Vaz) No because I did not cross-examine her on
what was happening because she was having her breathing problems,
she had stopped breathing, the ambulance came, she was put on
oxygen, she remained on morphine and on a ventilator for three
to four weeks, she came off, she relapsed, she went back, she
has been in all the hospitals in Leicester, she was then taken
by ambulance from London to Leicester. It is just not a suitable
opportunity to have a discussion which would clearly worry her
and add to the stress that she has been going through.
256. I appreciate the stress that was subsequent
but what I am trying to get to is the prime evidence on which
you reported it to the police. Looking back on it, are you satisfied
that she gave you sufficient information to be able to make that
allegation to the police?
(Mr Vaz) Again, the word "allegation" is
used. I said to the police "What shall I do? This is what
I believe she had said; what shall I do?" And their advice,
which was good advice, was to monitor the calls (because we have
had this in London with Eggington and Gresty) monitor the calls,
change the number, which has been done so the number has been
changed, and whatever the recommendations were I took them and
nothing else happened until Mrs Filkin decided to intervene.
257. So did you expect the police to take any
action, having given you that advice?
(Mr Vaz) No. I mean, I have not practised law for
a long time, but the complainant clearly has got to be interviewed,
and you have got to ask the complainant, "What action do
you wish to take?" What the police did in Leicester is they
contacted the police in Harrow who said to them, "Well it
must be Mrs Gresty, it couldn't be Mrs Eggington, because Mrs
Eggington is a former Chief Superintendent, so she would not do
anything like that."
258. But the question really is, did you expect
them to follow up; having given you advice about changing the
number, monitoring calls and so on, did you expect any further
action on the part of the police?
(Mr Vaz) No, but I expected them at some stage to
be able to speak to my mum and deal with whatever she had to say.
259. So would it be fair to say that you had
no expectation of them contacting Miss Eggington or anybody else?
(Mr Vaz) No. I would not have minded if they had,
because I actually asked, "Can you trace the calls?"
and they said, "You've got to go through this great centre
of call tracing in Swindon, and you've got to find out all this
information", and there was no point in doing that.
15 Note by witness: I spoke to her and her
consultant (21 January) after the meeting. Back
Note by witness: I was paraphrasing. I have no evidence
that these actual words were used. Mr Smith's notes confirm contact
was made and discussions took place about Mrs Gresty's condition. Back