Examination of Witness (Questions 220-239)|
TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2002
220. I regret the fact that Mr Vaz did not have
this. I was not meaning to spring something on him which he did
not have. You will notice that in the letter sent to Ms Filkin
Detective Superintendent Nick Gargan states a number of issues:
first, that the allegations which you have made have subtly changed,
and that "Chief Inspector Smith understood himself to be
investigating a complaint of malicious telephone calls and harassment.
" It then goes on to say that "Mr Vaz has since said
that it was never his intention to make a formal complaint of
any crime, his contact with the Police was intended to be an informal
request for advice."
So Chief Inspector Smith had misunderstood the nature of the telephone
conversation with you?
(Mr Vaz) I have no idea. I did exactly
what I have said I did, which was after the event took place I
informed the police and asked for their advice, and that is the
advice they gave. Again, you need to look at the pattern of what
happened after that.
221. Can I continue my line of questioning,
Mr Vaz, just to establish the situation. When you spoke to Ms
Filkin you said that there was a criminal investigation being
undertaken and that it was wrong of her to intervene, which would
tend to support Chief Inspector Smith's original supposition of
what you were complaining about.
(Mr Vaz) No. I spoke to Mrs Filkin after I had spoken
to Chief Inspector Smith who paged me. Chief Inspector Smith,
when he paged me, did not tell me that Mrs Filkin had asked him
to pursue this. He did not tell me that. I said, "Why has
your attitude changed now, in November, as a result of what has
happened?" I said, "Have you received a call from Elizabeth
Filkin?" and he said, "Yes." I said, "Well
are you doing this because Elizabeth Filkin has asked you to do
this?" and he saidHe went silent, and I said, "As
far as I'm concerned, you must do what you must do for any other
ordinary citizen; you must not do more or less for me because
I'm a Member of Parliament. I am passing on the information to
you, and there is nothing more I can say until my mother can be
222. Mr Gargan said, in the second paragraph
on page 2, "I am satisfied that no malicious calls were made."
(Mr Vaz) He does, on the basis of what he has investigated,
which is he has looked through the phone records of Mrs Eggington
and Mrs Gresty. They have not provided us with any more information,
223. He says, "we have been provided with
information by independent third parties."
(Mr Vaz) Well I do not know what he means, I am afraid.
224. I see. He then goes on in his letter to
look at other possible courses of action that might be taken by
the police. At the end of page 3, the penultimate paragraph, he
says, "I am now satisfied that we have explored all realistic
lines of enquiry and no useful purpose would be served by extending
the Police investigation. This decision has been influenced by
my belief that no calls, of the sort described by Mr. Vaz, took
place, and that the Parliamentary Committee on Standards and Privileges
is, in the circumstances, better placed than the Leicestershire
Constabulary to deal with any residual issues." So no calls
of the sort described by Mr Vaz took placeafter careful
(Mr Vaz) I do not know what their investigation was.
I had made it clear what I did which is that I telephoned the
police immediately after this was passed on to meand that
remains the positionand nothing happened as a result of
that. I asked if they could trace the calls and they said they
could not trace the calls. Mrs Filkin then intervened and that
225. It also says on page 3, again the penultimate
paragraph: "We cannot rule out a tactical motivation for
Mr Vaz's contact with the Leicestershire Constabulary
in this matterbut the evidence does not support further
investigation of any attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Indeed, even if we were to produce evidence that Mr Vaz was intending
to undermine or de-stabilise witnesses, they would be witnesses
before the Parliamentary Committee on Standards and Privileges
rather than a court of law", and that is the issue we are
looking at now, whether your action by telephoning the police
(for which they can find no evidence of the earlier calls) was
aimed at undermining the credibility or destabilising witnesses
coming before this Committee or giving evidence to this Committee
or Ms Filkin. What do you say to that?
(Mr Vaz) That is wrong. I have not sought
to destabilise anybody. I ask you to look at the pattern of contact
that Mrs Eggington has had with other witnesses and I ask the
Committee why, given that evidence that she has put before it,
it is not asking her why she has not contacted witnesses. I have
made it very clear why I took the action I did. I did not ask
for a massive investigation into this. I asked for advice as to
how to deal with it. My mother went from her house into an ambulance
and has been in a hospital for three weeks
226. We understand that, Mr Vaz.
(Mr Vaz) That is not to say she is not co-operating.
227. I am not saying that for one moment
and the police have said in that letter that they are not going
to pursue any matters with your mother.
(Mr Vaz) It would be unfair to say that.
228. What I am concerned about is your action
and the question of whether there was in fact ever any phone call
at all. That is the point at issue and it is a question of whether
you have made a statement, which the police can find no evidence
to support, either themselves or looking at the evidence of billings
or evidence from independent third parties.
(Mr Vaz) With respect, Mr McNamara, you do not know
what evidence they have looked at. When I put this to the police
on 5 October they were not prepared do anything when I asked what
action should be taken. The advice given by the Chief Inspector,
which is perfectly consistent with what I said, when I said "What
do I need to do? What advice do I need to give to my mother?"The
police have been involved last year with advising us in London
about Mrs Eggington and about Mrs Gresty. It is clear from the
letter from Mrs Eggington in January, which I put in the evidence,
that Mrs Gresty has telephoned our house on a number of occasions.
Nobody is seeking tosuddenly one ceases to be a victim
in all this. I did what I was obliged to do which is to pass on
that message and that is what I did. Nothing then happened until
Mrs Filkin decided that she wanted to protect her witness; her
witness was Mrs Eggington.
229. You are putting motives that we have yet
to look at of people we know nothing about but, nevertheless,
you accept that the police could find no evidence to support your
(Mr Vaz) No, because you have given me this letter
now on 10 January and you have talked about "independent
support". I am not interested in anything other than protecting
my mother from anyone ringing her up and that is why I rang.
230. With the greatest respect, nobody is seeking
to ring your mother.
(Mr Vaz) No, but that is what she said to me happened
on 4 October and since then she has not been well. The police
have had a letter from my sister to say that as soon as she is
fit and well she is very happy for them to see her.
That is the proper way it should be conducted. It should not be
conducted through third parties. To be perfectly honest, I think
the way in which it has been done has been wrong.
231. You have had a third party, the police,
conducting the investigation and they come up again and they say
there is no evidence of the calls which you say were made. No
evidence. It is there.
(Mr Vaz) That is a matter for them. I passed on the
information that I was given and I did not wish my mother to be
contacted any further.
232. Following that evidence you then made allegations
to Ms Filkin that she was interfering in a criminal matter.
(Mr Vaz) She was.
233. Not if you were merely seeking advice.
(Mr Vaz) With the greatest respect, this was weeks
afterwards on 19 November or thereabouts, Mrs FilkinI had
a call from the police to say that they wanted to interview my
mother. I said, "Fine, she is in Glenfield Hospital. If you
want to go and interview my mother go and interview her,"
and they said, "Can you have a conversation with her and
can you slip into the conversation the fact that we want to look
at her records?" I said, "No, I don't think I want to
do that. You have got to deal with her." Who will give evidence
at the end? That is what you have got to ask and the person who
will give evidence at the end is not me, it is my mother, and,
really, I do not want my mother embroiled in the Eggington/Gresty
scenario. We have had it as a family for the last year and a half
and we are not going to carry on having it.
234. With the greatest respect you have said
your mother will give evidence when she is fit.
(Mr Vaz) She will contact the police. She has got
to make that decision herself. It has got nothing to do with me.
She has got to make that decision herself.
235. What has got to do with you is the report
that has been made which has resulted in this extensive inquiry
by the police.
(Mr Vaz) No it has not. The police took no action
when I rang them. They were not interested in taking action because
they said as far as they were concerned I had accepted the advice
and Mrs Vaz was ill and, therefore, they would not deal with it.
It was only after Mrs Filkin rang them that they started to do
Chairman: There are a number of other
colleagues who want to ask questions, Mr Bottomley, Mr Foster,
Mr Cranston and then Mr Heath. Mr Bottomley first.
236. Are you in a position to authorise your
mother's incoming telephone data being seen?
(Mr Vaz) But I thought it had been.
237. Are you in a position to authorise that?
(Mr Vaz) No but I thought Mr McNamara said it had
238. Are you in a position to authorise it?
(Mr Vaz) No.
239. Because only your mother can?
(Mr Vaz) Yes, of course, and it is up to her to decide
what she wants to do.
10 Notes by witnesses: This is not what
he said in his letter to my mother of 10 December 2001. Back
I did not press them to take any action, none was taken. Back
Notes by witness: This statement is due to the fact that
they only had been given information by Ms Eggington and Mrs Filkin.
One had actually given them the confidential papers of
this inquiry. Back
But the police have said this. This is inaccurate. Back
Note by witness: Letter sent to the Committee dated 8
January 2002 before her letter of 10 January 2002. I had not seen
the contents by 15 January as my sister was dealing with this. Back