File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
Mr Vaz rang in a highly agitated state. He asked
me what my role was in a criminal proceeding. I said I had no
role in any criminal proceeding as far as I knew. He said why
was I instructing the police to interview his mother. I said I
was not instructing the police to interview anybody.
He said he had just received a phone call from the
police asking where his mother was because they wished to interview
her in relation to the telephone call she had received and that
the police believed they were being asked to interview her by
Mr Vaz said his mother was very ill indeed and could
not possibly be interviewed by the police and that it was dreadful
that I was asking them to do so. I said that I was not asking
the police to do anything. I said that I had asked the police
to give me their account of the event which Mr Vaz had reported
to me and which Mr Vaz had told me he had reported to the police.
I reminded Mr Vaz that he had given me the name of the police
officer who was dealing with the matter at my request. Mr Vaz
said there was obviously a misunderstanding and he will tell the
police immediately that I was not instructing them to interview
Mrs Vaz senior. I said that if the police were in any way unclear
about what I needed they were welcome to speak to me but I would
request Mr Vaz not to pass on messages from this conversation
to the police. I said I would much prefer that they spoke to me
directly. I said if there was any misunderstanding, which I doubt,
they were welcome to speak to me.
Mr Vaz rehearsed several times that this matter might
well go to court and therefore it was quite wrong of me to interfere
in any way. I said that if anybody was taken to court I should
be informed but as far as I knew that was not the position at
the moment. As far as I knew the police were inquiring into his
report that his mother had been harassed. I said I was interested
in the information since he had made an allegation about one of
the complainants on the case that I was looking into. Mr Vaz repeated
several times during the phonecall that Miss Eggington was only
providing second hand information which she had taken from somebody
who was seriously ill and who was in hospital and who had a mental
health problem. He did agree that Miss Eggington had told me about
Mrs Gresty's mental health but stressed that she had not done
so initially. As Mr Vaz put it "until four months after it
had appeared in the press".
I said that all I was doing by asking the police
for their account of the events and the results of their inquiries
was to seek to support or otherwise what had been reported to
me about a complainant. That I had started as always with an open
mind, and an assumption that the police record would support what
Mr Vaz had said about his report to them.
Mr Vaz said that Mrs Gresty had already harassed
his family and threatened to take his children away. He said that
the Harrow Police knew all about this. That he had to have an
alarm fitted in his house because of phonecalls and that he was
very concerned for his family. I said I was aware of this from
the letters that he had written to me.
During the conversation he also said that the police
surmised that it was Mrs Gresty who phoned his mother. I was surprised
by this. I asked him when the police had suggested this and who
had suggested it. Mr Vaz said that when he had reported the phonecall
on 5 October 2001 the police had told him that they were not going
to follow it up. He said that on 6 October 2001 the police said
that they did not want to speak to his mother.
During the course of the conversation Mr Vaz said
that he thought that the action I had taken by instructing the
police to interview his very sick mother and thereby interfere
in criminal proceedings was quite wrong. He said I had no role
in this whatsoever and that he would be reporting me to the Speaker.
I said at several points during the conversation
that I thought we ought to conclude the conversation as I felt
we had both said what we could on the matter. Mr Vaz said he would
be ringing the police immediately. I asked him what he would be
saying to the police. He said all he would say is that he had
spoken to me. I said that that was fine by me but that if he believed
there was any misunderstanding whatsoever he should ask the police
to phone me themselves.