Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 240-259)



  240. You cannot or you will not?
  (Mr Vaz) I cannot.

  241. If you could, would you?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, if I could, if it meant not having to spend lots and lots of time discussing something that I do not think is relevant to the points that are being made. I did my duty which was when this was told to me, I reported it to the police and I asked for their advice. As they have very clearly said in their letter, there is no complaint that has been made. Everything that they have done has been because Mrs Filkin intervened, everything, and that is precisely what I did not want—to be treated in a different position because I was a Member of Parliament to any other member of the public because if that happened what it would look as if was that I was using my position in order to get at witnesses, and I was not prepared to do that.

  242. Can you be clear to the Committee how and when your mother told you that she had received a call from Mrs Eggington?
  (Mr Vaz) When I went to Leicester when she was about to be taken to the Infirmary.

  243. So you went to her home?
  (Mr Vaz) I live in her home when I am in Leicester.

  244. You were not present when she had the call?
  (Mr Vaz) No, I was in London.

  245. So someone presumably informed you and gave you information so you returned, understandably, to your mother, and did she tell you about the call in the house?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes. While we were waiting for the doctor and the ambulance the words "Eggington" and "Filkin" were mentioned in the conversation—Eggington and Filkin.

  246. And can you recall how your mother knew Eggington and Filkin?
  (Mr Vaz) She does not know Eggington, she certainly knows Filkin.

  247. Had she known about Eggington?
  (Mr Vaz) No, she had no idea. She would know the word "Gresty" but that was not mentioned.

  248. And did she say there had been a telephone call?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes.

  249. Can you tell us how you recall her putting it to you?
  (Mr Vaz) No. Exactly as I have said—At that moment, the first thing you are doing is you are trying to get a doctor to certify that she should be taken to a hospital and she then stopped breathing and that is why she has been on a ventilator for three and a half weeks. It is not a lack of co-operation. The last thing in the world that I want to happen now is for her to be put in a position where she would have to answer any questions about people that she has never met. She clearly knows who Mrs Filkin is because the word Filkin is used occasionally in our household but Mrs Eggington's name is not used. She does not know Mrs Eggington. I do not know Mrs Eggington, I have never met her and I have never had a conversation with Mrs Eggington.

  250. So if it turns out that there was not an incoming call from someone called Mrs Eggington or someone purporting to be Mrs Eggington, your mother would not have known her name?
  (Mr Vaz) No. She knows Mrs Filkin's name, that is the whole point about this. That is the information that was passed on to the police. They have been asked to go in a direction and, frankly, I am astonished.

  Chairman: I am anxious to conclude, if I can, in one session even if it means going on beyond one o'clock but I am very anxious that colleagues should have the opportunity. I believe we can finish it in the next 20 minutes but we will see how we get on. Mr Foster?

Mr Foster

  251. Mr Vaz, following on from Mr Bottomley's questions about how you discovered about this alleged telephone call, you say your mother used the words "Filkin" and "Eggington". How did it come in context that it was a telephone call? Are you absolutely clear that it was a telephone call?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes. It was not a visit to the house because that would be the only alternative.

  252. I know she was very ill at the time but how did you establish it was Mrs Eggington and not Ms Filkin who was making the call?
  (Mr Vaz) I did not.

  253. Did you then have a further opportunity to discuss that or have you at any time since?
  (Mr Vaz) No[15].

  254. So the information that you gave to the police the following day—I assume it was the following day?
  (Mr Vaz) Whatever the police say when I rang the Chief Constable's office.

  255. Were you satisfied that it had been earlier that day when you spoke to your mother that the alleged call had been taken?
  (Mr Vaz) No because I did not cross-examine her on what was happening because she was having her breathing problems, she had stopped breathing, the ambulance came, she was put on oxygen, she remained on morphine and on a ventilator for three to four weeks, she came off, she relapsed, she went back, she has been in all the hospitals in Leicester, she was then taken by ambulance from London to Leicester. It is just not a suitable opportunity to have a discussion which would clearly worry her and add to the stress that she has been going through.

  256. I appreciate the stress that was subsequent but what I am trying to get to is the prime evidence on which you reported it to the police. Looking back on it, are you satisfied that she gave you sufficient information to be able to make that allegation to the police?
  (Mr Vaz) Again, the word "allegation" is used. I said to the police "What shall I do? This is what I believe she had said; what shall I do?" And their advice, which was good advice, was to monitor the calls (because we have had this in London with Eggington and Gresty) monitor the calls, change the number, which has been done so the number has been changed, and whatever the recommendations were I took them and nothing else happened until Mrs Filkin decided to intervene.

  257. So did you expect the police to take any action, having given you that advice?
  (Mr Vaz) No. I mean, I have not practised law for a long time, but the complainant clearly has got to be interviewed, and you have got to ask the complainant, "What action do you wish to take?" What the police did in Leicester is they contacted the police in Harrow who said to them, "Well it must be Mrs Gresty, it couldn't be Mrs Eggington, because Mrs Eggington is a former Chief Superintendent, so she would not do anything like that."[16]

  258. But the question really is, did you expect them to follow up; having given you advice about changing the number, monitoring calls and so on, did you expect any further action on the part of the police?
  (Mr Vaz) No, but I expected them at some stage to be able to speak to my mum and deal with whatever she had to say.

  259. So would it be fair to say that you had no expectation of them contacting Miss Eggington or anybody else?
  (Mr Vaz) No. I would not have minded if they had, because I actually asked, "Can you trace the calls?" and they said, "You've got to go through this great centre of call tracing in Swindon, and you've got to find out all this information", and there was no point in doing that.

15   Note by witness: I spoke to her and her consultant (21 January) after the meeting. Back

16   Note by witness: I was paraphrasing. I have no evidence that these actual words were used. Mr Smith's notes confirm contact was made and discussions took place about Mrs Gresty's condition. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 8 February 2002