Examination of Witness (Questions 100-119)|
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2002
100. So you have no idea how it was raised,
where it went and who it was paid to?
(Mr Vaz) It is not my function to be involved in these
matters. I chairs lots of Asian community events. Some I put in
the Register because I think I am more prominent in those organisations
than others, and therefore, in those circumstances, I cannot be
in any way responsible for monitoring.
Chairman: Any there more questions on
the Asian Business Network? Can we proceed to the property aspects
and the complaint about an alleged failure to declare property
interests. I think we just need a straight answer.
101. You did say, Mr Vaz, in response to the
Clerk's question that you confirm that you provided the Commissioner
with all the information concerning property matters. Can I just
take you to the schedule in her memorandum, at page 104, paragraph
(Mr Vaz) The difficulty I have is that I do not have
the final memorandum. If you give me the reference in the draft.
Is it the same in the draft?
102. I think it is probably the same. It is
the schedule. You have, no doubt, looked at this. Could you confirm
to the Committee whether you have had, since you became a Member,
any financial interest in any property which is not shown on that
table and which should be registered?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, I mentioned in one of the paragraphs
that before I went to Leicester I sold my house in London and
there may have been an overlap, it may have been after I became
an MP. Apart from that, no. There are mistakes in this schedule.
Mrs Filkin, prefers to believe The Sunday Telegraph rather
103. I think it is a fairly direct question,
(Mr Vaz) Yes.
104. The answer is you can confirm that you
had no financial interests in any property which is not shown
on that table.
(Mr Vaz) Apart from the property that I sold in London.
105. Can I ask you about your response to questions
about this. In particular, if you have still got that open, at
486, that is just an example where (and you acknowledge this in
your memorandum to us) you did not always answer these questions
about property as you could have. At page 57 of your memorandum
you seek to explain that.
(Mr Vaz) Yes. Well, yes, I believe that we have answered
all the questions properly. As we said in our response, the reason
why we stopped answering further questions was because Mrs Filkin
had gone well beyond complaints into matters that had nothing
to do with complaints that had been made about me, and we wanted
the matter taken to the Committee. There was no question of not
giving information to the Committee or not providing whatever
other information was necessary.
106. In terms of property interests, that is
a fairly straightforward matter. Some of these other matters are
quite complicated, I agree, but in terms of property interests
that you had, could you not have simply said, in a straightforward
way, "Look, those are properties which were registered or
should have been registered"?
(Mr Vaz) No, because we had reached a stage after
ten months of this, where we just could not go on. Every single
time we replied to a question of Mrs Filkin she would ask another
ten questions. It just could not go on. We had to have some relevance
to the questions that were being put forward. No complaint has
ever been made about properties and no complaint has ever been
made about Mapesbury. We just needed to have it crystallised,
because that is what the complaints procedure saysthere
must be a complaint in writing. We just feltwhen asked
to do so I went to the Registrar, I discussed all my property
matters with him on three occasions, I discussed it with the Committee
on the last occasion and I said I would register anything that
I needed to register. We had just reached a stage, after ten months
and 560 questions, that we just could not carry on. There was
no purpose. If there was a complaint and Mrs Filkin had said "I
want to know about these properties because I think you are hiding
something, or blah, blah, blah" we would then have obviously
dealt with it. It just could not go on. Just in terms of this
table, there are lots of mistakes.
Chairman: I think we are moving away
from point of Mr Cranston's question, which is about the accuracy.
I think we have now resolved that. Are there any more questions
107. I think Mr Vaz is trying to make a point
that the table is inaccurate. Can he check that the inaccuracies,
as far as he is aware, are fully dealt with in his response?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, except I have just found, having gone
through my archives, the completion statement on 70a Teignmouth
Road which confirms everything that I have said. I will let the
Committee have the bill which the solicitor sent me. It is just
that Mrs Filkin, in her statement, keeps saying that I owned a
flat in Teignmouth Road until 1999, and I keep saying to her that
I did not. The Sunday Telegraph keeps saying to her that
she did (sic) but it really should be taken off the top
bit. I know she has put it down as a footnote, but it is not a
footnote, it is very important; I did not own this property in
November 1999. All these people on the right-hand sideit
is quite clear they live in different flats. It says "Flat
1, Flat 2, Flat 3, Flat 4". They should not really be included
in this memorandum at all.
108. When you did own 70a Teignmouth Road, you
only owned the ground-floor flat?
(Mr Vaz) The garden flat, yes. There is a different
109. My London flat is very similar. In that
context, did the garden flat have a flat number?
(Mr Vaz) It was called the garden flat.
110. There was no "Flat 1" or "Flat
2", because my garden flat is known as Flat 1.
(Mr Vaz) No. All our mail was going to Crystal Rose,
who is a woman on television. We changed the address, we called
it 70a. There is a different entrance and everything.
111. So all these other ones, they are 70, not
(Mr Vaz) Yes, that is right. I have only ever owned
one flat in the building. It is confusing. My flat was variously
known as Flat 1 The Garden Floor and The Garden Flat. We gave
our address as 70a The Garden Flat. It had a side entrance;
the main entrance has Flats 1, 2 and 3.
112. So 70a is the garden flat and Flat 1, Flat
2, etc, are number 70, not number 70a.
(Mr Vaz) Which is a completely different entrance.
16 November 1999 needs to be taken off and the new date put on
there, rather than it being put there.
Ross Cranston: What is the new date?
Chairman: Can you give it to the Committee
after the meeting? Anything else on property? Can we move on to
the complaints relating to Mrs Matin.
Mr Dismore: Mr Vaz has passed it over
to me, the bill is dated 10 April 1997.
Chairman: We will hand that to the Commissioner.
Can we move on to the complaint relating to the alleged employment
of an illegal immigrant.
113. Perhaps I could pick that one up. Did you
ever hold Mrs Matin's passport at any time?
(Mr Vaz) No.
114. Not even to post on to the Immigration
(Mr Vaz) My practice, just to explain thisand
I am not sure why this has become so important, though I understand
why you are askingis I do not take passports off people
because in the past we have lost passports in our office, so they
always retain their passport. When they make an application to
the Home Office I do the covering letter and I give it to the
constituent and I say "You add your passport and you pay
for the recorded delivery", under cover of a letter from
me. The applicant always holds the passport. That is how I always
115. And the Home Office did not return the
passport to you to pass on to her? They do sometimes do that.
(Mr Vaz) No.
116. In what language did you talk to Mrs Matin?
(Mr Vaz) I would either have a translator or I would
use her husband because he speaks very good English. He is now
dead but he spoke very good English. Mrs Matin's knowledge of
English has not remained static, it has improved over the years.
117. So when Mrs Matin is helping about the
(Mr Vaz) She is not helping about the house.
118. Okay, perhaps you could tell us what help
she did give to your family.
(Mr Vaz) She did not give any help to my family. This
comes from Mrs Gresty, an ex-employee of my wife, who has tremendous
animus against my wife, and this was put to us by the Mail
on Sunday. The only people we could possibly know who are
Asians are billionaires or domestic servants; there is nothing
in between, we are not allowed to have friends. This is a woman
who is not a billionaireand therefore another table is
wrong as far as Mrs Filkin is concerned, she has put Mrs Ahmed
in with the billionaires, with the Hindujas, and she has nothing
to do with billionairesand she is someonewe like
her, she is a friend, she has gone through hell. ***and
I am only saying this to the Committee in the hope you will accept
the statement made by Jane Coker, who is the solicitor for Mrs
Matin, and that this should not be published because it is personal
information about her
I did not arrange her marriage
I do not routinely go around arranging people's marriages
but I attend lots of Asian functions and lots of Asian marriages.
She did not help us around the house, she was not a servant. We
do not employ servants, we employ au pairs. These were arranged
by Mrs Gresty.
119. How did she come to end up in London?
(Mr Vaz) It is a decision she made. There are some
members of her family in Manchester and the Bengali community
is quite prominent in London, though probably more in the East
End rather than in Northwood. How she ended up in Northwood, I
have no idea. I know if you read Mrs Eggington's statement and
go through the list of Indian restaurants in Northwood, you would
think this was the centre of the Bengali community, but actually
there are very few there.