Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 280-299)



  280. What concerns me is that in the letter we have been discussing, from Detective Superintendent Gargan, he says explicitly—and this is a letter dated the 10th—"To date, we have not received a reply from her and, given her current health problem, I am not minded to sanction any additional contact with her." He goes on to say later "the victim has chosen not to co-operate with the investigation". It would appear it is not clear at that point whether he is referring to you or to your mother,[19] but clearly the police have not given an indication in this letter that they anticipate help from your mother at some further stage in the inquiry, which gives me concern that there is at least a lack of information flowing between the two parties.

  (Mr Vaz) That is right. I think part of the problem is the police are getting their information from Mrs Filkin, and the issue is this. My mother has been ill. It is not that she has not wanted to co-operate. She has been very willing to. I am sure she would be delighted to co-operate if she was in full health and not subject to what she has been through. If I can just explain, when she came off her morphine four weeks ago—people will know people who are on morphine—she was saying that all the doctors in the hospital were trying to kill her. Given somebody who has had that kind of treatment when they have been near death, the last thing that you want to do to someone, when they actually think the people who are in hospital looking after them are trying to kill them, is to turn round and say, "Now tell us about Mrs Eggington's call on 4 October."

  281. I fully understand that. I am simply concerned that the police do not seem to have got the message, judging by this letter.
  (Mr Vaz) No, they have not. I have just seen it, but thank you for telling me about it, because of course this is completely untrue. There has never been any non-co-operation by the victim. I have said that I cannot authorise things, because I do not think I am entitled to do so.

  282. So the area of non-authorisation is the inquiry into the billings for that number, is that right?
  (Mr Vaz) Not the billing, incoming calls.

  283. You do not believe you have authority in that respect, but you have got authority to change the number?
  (Mr Vaz) I did not ask for authority. I changed it. The number had been at that house for many years. It was a Labour Party number that was well publicised.

  Chairman: Mr Dismore, then finally Mr McNamara.

Mr Dismore

  284. Just a quick question. You said that when you are in Leicester you live in the same address, is that right?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes.

  285. Is it possible that the call that your mother took could have been intended for you rather than for your mother, or do you get the impression that it was a conversation between your mother and Miss Eggington?
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know. The only thing that she has said is what I have passed on, very sketchy information which I gave to the police and asked their advice. I mean, that number is a number that she took over from the Labour Party. The Labour Party office was there, so it was the same number. I do not know whether they said, "Hello, Mrs Vaz, this is Mrs Eggington." The words were "Eggington" and "Filkin".

  286. You do not know whether your mother had a conversation or not?
  (Mr Vaz) No, I do not, and I would not, I have not, asked her since.

Mr McNamara

  287. Can I clear up two points. When Mr Bottomley was asking you about the circumstances of your conversation with your mother, how did the issue arise? Did your mother mention it to you? You are saying she was very ill at the time. Why would this be at the forefront of her mind, to mention it to you? How did the conversation arise?
  (Mr Vaz) Well how do conversations arise? She said she had received a call. I did not say, "Did you receive a call?" That is what she said.

  288. She said, "I have received a call", and you said, "Yes, mum."?
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know whether I said, "Yes, mum."

  289. Or whatever term of affection you have for your mother in those very dangerous and difficult circumstances. Then she said what? How did she put it to you that she had received this call?
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know. It would be wrong to just say, but the gist of the conversation was, a conversation took place, Eggington and Filkin—those names—were used in the conversation.

  290. But you cannot tell the Committee how the conversation went?
  (Mr Vaz) She does not know who Eggington is.

  291. No, I have grasped that point, but you cannot say how the conversation arose?
  (Mr Vaz) Just in general. We were waiting for an ambulance. We were waiting for things to happen and therefore, you know—

  292. No, I do not know. I am trying to understand the circumstances.
  (Mr Vaz) No, I cannot remember. It is not something I remember.

  Mr McNamara: It must have been a very trying and difficult situation for you.

  Chairman: One last question.

Mr McNamara

  293. My last question is, you said that your mother would not have known about Eggington.
  (Mr Vaz) No.

  294. But you said in earlier answers that the words "Eggington" and "Filkin" were known throughout your family.
  (Mr Vaz) No, I think that what I said was that the word "Filkin" is known throughout my family, and the word "Gresty" would be known, because Rita Gresty has contacted my mother in the past and has contacted my home, as has been admitted by Mrs Eggington. So all these people would be known, but Mrs Eggington would not have been. I do not know who made this call. I have just put to the police "What should I do now that this has happened?" I did not ask for any action to be taken. I asked for a trace list. This was not possible. It is only later that the assumption was made.


  295. Are there any more questions that anyone wants to put?
  (Mr Vaz) Could I just take advice for a second? (The witness consulted with Mr Bindman) I was just reiterating the points that I made, to summarise, so that you are clear.

  296. Can we go on to the last point which is the allegations of misleading or seeking to obstruct the Committee and the Commissioner. What is your response to the suggestion that some of the information you have given the Commissioner has been inaccurate or incomplete? Do you feel that you really have co-operated over the past nine months with the Commissioner as fully as you might have been able to do?
  (Mr Vaz) Before I answer that can I just say that Mr Bindman has given me advice to summarise what I have said about it, since I have not seen these papers before. This is the information that I had received. This is the information that I passed on to the police, seeking their advice. I took no further action other than to follow the advice of the police, and this has all been done because of what my mother has told me.

  297. Thank you. Can we now go on to the question that I have just put to you about the general accusation that you have not been as forthcoming as you might have been, and that is why this inquiry has taken so long and generated such an enormous amount of paper?
  (Mr Vaz) All Mrs Filkin's inquiries generate an enormous amount of paper.

  298. That is not actually the case.

  299. When she is considering me. The reason is, if you look at the way in which the complaints are put forward, as was the case on the last occasion, people have come forward and made accusations. If you look at the complaints that are before you, the Hinduja complaint was very clear and straightforward; it was Andrew Lansley saying that I had received money from the Vaswani visit. That was the original complaint. That is what the Sunday Times published. It went on from there into a general inquiry into everything I have ever done with the Hindujas, which I was happy to co-operate with, and I did co-operate with. The Mapesbury complaint—there has actually never been a complaint about Mapesbury. No one has written in with a complaint about Mapesbury. This is Mrs Filkin looking at my file and looking at the advice given by Sir Gordon Downey and deciding to investigate it. The reason why nothing has been found is that there has been nothing untoward. If you look at the third complaint, which is the complaint about the law centre, this was before the Committee last year. This was a statement made by Peter Soulsby on 14 March, which the Committee considered and decided was not a complaint, so that did not generate much. The property complaint comes from the BBC on the eve of the general election campaign, where they made certain allegations, they went into the property question, but again no complaint has been made about the property, because all I have been told is that information has been put forward. On the Gresty complaint, Mrs Gresty's complaint about Mrs Matin surfaced only in June. Originally she was raising matters about the Hindujas. The Peene complaint arrived in January when the last inquiry was still ongoing, but did not come to the Committee until after the last inquiry was over. The directorship complaint—no complaint has been made about my directorship, but it has been pursued. The donation to Lord Paul—I went to see the Registrar about that. There was no circumstance in which I have not provided information to Mrs Filkin when she has asked me to do so. You asked me a question, Chairman. I have co-operated absolutely fully. The reason why I have instructed Geoffrey Bindman is not so that he can write to the Committee on my behalf, because you asked me not to allow him to do so. I have instructed him to make sure that I give Mrs Filkin all the information that she needs, because from 7 February last year this has been ongoing. I too would like to bring an end to this, but as I pointed out to you when I met you, Sir George, you cannot bring an end to an inquiry of this Committee. The simple reason is, so long as somebody makes an allegation of misleading, it has to be investigated. So I have not misled her. I have provided accurate information. If she would like to give me one example, through you, or if the Committee would like to give me any example, of me not providing accurate information, I would be happy to do so.

19   The police referred to my mother as the victim. Back

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