File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
Mr Vaz telephoned in response to my telephone call.
I had wished to clarify which documents he wanted from his registration
file and to assure him that I was aware of his 28 April letter
to the Registrar and would be referring to that in my report.
I conveyed this to Mr Vaz.
Mr Vaz then had a lengthy conversation with me in
which he repeated a number of times the same information. He said
he had written to me this morning and that he would go through
what he had written about. I said I had not received the letter
as yet but nevertheless he appeared most agitated and concerned
about some matters.
He continues to be under the impression that some
journalists are working for me to assemble information and he
says that a number of journalists have claimed that I have given
them information about him. He says he has a record of this and
from time to time said that he might well have to produce his
records in Court. I said to him that he could be assured that
no journalist was working on my behalf. I said I could not of
course prevent journalists from improperly claiming that they
have obtained information for me or that they were trying to obtain
information to assist me but that this was not accurate and that
he was welcome at any time to ring me to confirm this. I reminded
him that he had my home telephone number.
Mr Vaz referred back to the earlier inquiry when
he says that he rang my home on a Saturday evening and told me
what some journalists said they were going to publish. Mr Vaz
said that he had recalled that I had appeared concerned for him
but that when he read my report he believed that I had known about
this information at the time. I did not comment on this to Mr
Vaz. (I do of course know about information from a variety of
sources which I do not pass on to other people during an inquiry).
Mr Vaz became most agitated about the allegation
which had been taken up by Mr Robathan from the information which
Sir Peter Soulsby had provided to the last inquiry concerning
the date at which he had left the Law Centre's employment. He
said that Peter Soulsby should be asked to produce the letters
which he claimed that he had on file. I explained to Mr Vaz that
I had not thought this necessary as I had assumed that this was
information which Mr Vaz could produce himself and that I did
not want to go chasing information if I could obtain it directly
from the Member of Parliament himself.
I said to Mr Vaz that I would of course look carefully
at this suggestion in his letter and it might well be that I would
now follow up his request and write to Sir Peter Soulsby for any
information which he held about Mr Vaz's employment dates with
the Law Centre.
Mr Vaz said he was not going to provide me with any
information in response to Mrs Williams' information until he
had Mrs Williams' written consent to give me "her file".
I explained to Mr Vaz that I was not asking for anything relating
to Mrs Williams personally, I just wanted his comments on the
information Mrs Williams had given to me. He said he was unwilling
to do this without Mrs Williams' written consent as he might be
sued at any time in the future by her or by her husband if the
marriage broke down.
Mr Vaz said he didn't need to ask me about Laura
Coco as he has received that information.
Most of Mr Vaz's concern related to journalists contact
with him or with his solicitor, Mr Bindman. Mr Vaz says that he
has to pay Mr Bindman £*** per hour for any work that Mr
Bindman does for him and if journalists ring Mr Bindman and Mr
Bindman speaks to them he is required to pay Mr Bindman at £***
I suggested to Mr Vaz that he instruct Mr Bindman
not to reply to journalists. Mr Vaz said he could not do this
because otherwise there would be articles published about him
which were not true and he would have Court costs if they went
to Court. Mr Vaz went on to say that Mr Hastings and Mr Syal of
the Sunday Telegraph had said both to Mr Bindman and to his agent
last weekend that they were acting on my behalf and he said that
this was in line with the actions of Miss Eggington in telephoning
his sick mother.
Mr Vaz said he was told by Mr Syal and Mr Hastings
that they were acting on my behalf. I once again underlined to
him that nobody acts on my behalf and that he should check it
with me if anybody says that.
I also encouraged him to complain to me if these
journalists had indeed purported to act on my behalf and I said
that I would investigate it as vigorously as I had investigated
his complaint that Miss Eggington had purported to act on my behalf.
Mr Vaz believes that he is subject to a ever increasing circle
whereby journalists print a story, I write to them for the information
which supports what they have printed or they offer me their information
and then they write another article about my request for the information.
He said Betty Boothroyd's book shows that I give journalists information.
Mr Vaz also says he believes that they obtain this
information from me. Nothing that I could say appeared to reassure
him that this was inaccurate. Mr Vaz says he thinks these journalists
believe that they are protected because they are responding to
my request for assistance. I made it clear to Mr Vaz that I had
never asked for general assistance but I had asked for documents
or information to be provided to me when information is printed
in newspapers. I said I believe that it is helpful to Members
if I put such allegations to Members so that Members could reply
to them correctly and repudiate untrue information with the facts.
Mr Vaz stressed that he had answered all my questions
about a large number of matters and that he had done so even when
he was still ill. He acknowledged that I had made it clear that
I did not expect him to reply while he was ill but said that he
had tried to be helpful and begun replying before he was fully
better. He said he was very keen to get this matter concluded
and I confirmed that I was also extremely keen to get the matter
Mr Vaz said he had been informed that I had reported
to the Committee that he was delaying this inquiry. I said I had
reported to the Committee about the progress of the inquiry.
I had to conclude the conversation because I was
due at another meeting but invited Mr Vaz to telephone me again
if he wished to continue with the conversation. He said that he
did not because he had written to me and if got a reply to that
letter he would be able to finalise his replies to me very shortly.