Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Keith Vaz MP
Thank you for your letter of 15th November 2001 following
148 When we met after the Mail on Sunday article
was published you asked for a "paragraph" on my response.
Pauline Williams then saw you. You have not shown me a copy of
the statement she has made. You told me that you have no documentation
in your possession that you would like to put to me.
149 I am providing you with Pauline's file on
your assurance that you regard the consent form that you drafted
as sufficient. I prefer the one I sent you as it will cover all
eventualities, however you said to me that Pauline was aware that
information she gave you may be published and indeed co-operated
with its publication in the Mail on Sunday.
150 I have no "disputes" as you suggest.
As you will see from the file Pauline has thanked me several times
for my help see especially the first three documents marked A,
B and C. I have helped her with the following matters:
* * *
151 There are I am afraid a number of inaccuracies
in your narrative marked "C". You accept that the first
statement in paragraph one in inaccurate. As you now accept no
such claim is made in Mrs Gresty's statement. My wife was invited
in her own right. Husbands and wives in separate jobs get invited
to the same thing. I am quite certain that both you and first
Geoffrey and then Michael would have been invited to the same
events but in different capacities.
152 In "C" para 2 you have already
answered the question about who booked the venue see para 124.
153 In "C" para 3 Pauline has given
you dates when she worked in the office I can confirm the end
date, but as she came in frequently with personal problems (see
her file) it is difficult to give you a precise start date. I
would see Pauline at my surgery at appointments she booked for
154 As I was Chairing the conference (see para
130) I would certainly have spoken to as many people involved
in the event and motivated them to do a good job. I would obviously
have wanted the day to be a success. I am not sure what point
is being made here.
155 The information that I have is that Pauline
asked to be involved in the conference at a Lionel Richie concert.
I have been informed that her task for the day was to sit on the
late registration desk. This involved the collecting and filing
of cheques and recording the names of people who paid on the day.
I understand that she said that she really enjoyed the experience.
Pauline could not have performed this task while working in my
Leicester Office as for the 4 hours she was there each day she
was constantly on the telephone booking appointments (see "A"
156 Pauline was able to make a number of useful
contacts in my office. Those who volunteer in the offices of MPs
usually go off and find other (paid) jobs. I have always wanted
people who work for me in whatever capacity to feel that they
have improved their skills. Pauline certainly has (see her letter
from here marked "A" in the file and her profile in
the Mail on Sunday).
157 I understand that the list you mentioned
was prepared by her. Everyone would be encouraged to have their
own contact list as the number of people they deal with is large
and the turnover constant. I understand that Pauline's duties
included ringing people up to ask what they did when she did not
speak to the individuals she would get this information from others.
Mr Pathan's mobile number would be listed as that is how he would
be contacted. As you have gathered from your meeting Mr Pathan
is a Muslim and most Muslims use the name Mohammed. He was not
the "director of events" for me. I understand that some
of the "titles" used did not represent the reality of
158 You kindly provided me with certain extracts
which I have already commented on. You keep saying that the information
you sent me is from the BT Website. It is not! I already told
you paragraphs 76,126, 127, that this statement is inaccurate
and I offered you an explanation. Further it is clear from what
you have sent me that the words "70a" have been written
in by hand though you do not say who has done so. 192.com is a
separate company which gathers information from a variety of sources.
Even if it is inaccurate it is not altered until someone writes
in to correct it which has now happened. This inaccuracy has persisted
over the years. The extract from the website you sent me is dated
28th March 2001. I know of no connection between either myself
or any organisation and this property that is remotely connected
to this date. Incidently the same website lists you as owning
four properties in four different parts of the country or they
could be four different Elizabeth Filkins!
159 Thank you for sending me the extract from
the Register of Staff. This of course relates to the dates of
issue of a pass and the date returned not necessarily the dates
that a person uses the pass.
160 As to your proposed timetable, 5 working
days is insufficient to deal with any new matters.
161 Although of course I accept that by now according
to the Ninth Report you have sent me notice of any discrepancies
between me and witnesses I just do not want a repetition of the
Peter Soulsby scenario where you interviewed him in March 2000
and then gave me his full statement in December 2000 and allowed
me only 10 days over Christmas to go through a huge number of
pieces of information dating back over a decade. If you could
possibly bring this forward to late November or the first days
of December this would be very helpful to Mr Bindman and myself.
162 I take it that you do not wish for any further
comments from me concerning the Frances Gibb story in "The
Times" about my relationship with your husband. My recollection
of our conversation is somewhat different from yours about this
I look forward to receiving your draft memorandum.
18 November 2001