Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex IV14

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Ms Eileen Eggington QPM

Further to my letter and statement dated 19th October 2001.

You will wish to be aware that on 7th November I received a second letter from David Price Solicitors on behalf of Maria Fernandes. I attach a copy of this letter and my brief reply. I also attach a two page statement by me relating to this matter.

I am very concerned that, since making complaints to you about Mr Vaz, I have not only been the subject of false allegations by him, but now find myself being threatened with legal action by his wife Maria Fernandes. I have no fear they will succeed in their attempt to discredit me, but I do believe that they are interfering in the democratic process by trying to silence me through implied intimidation.

You are aware, from our first meeting, that I have been motivated in laying my complaints purely from a sense of public duty. I have received no financial or other reward from any source. Indeed, my efforts have cost me dearly in terms of time and emotional energy. It was not easy to take statements from Mrs Gresty. She has been suffering from severe depression since May 2000 * * *. Many, though not all, of her problems stemmed from her employment as PA with Maria Fernandes, and it was as a result of my spending hours with her in an unofficial counselling role that she spoke about the things that I brought to your attention.

I spent some time tussling with my conscience, and talking to her husband Mr Vyan Gresty, before I suggested that Rita Gresty might wish to make a statement to assist your enquiry. I did not induce her. Indeed, she seemed better after making each statement, having 'got matters off her chest'. She knew that the statements she made were solely for your enquiry. I might add that, from my professional judgement, her mind and memory were not impaired by her depressed state.

We now face the disadvantage that, because of rules of 'disclosure', Mr Vaz has seen the statements made by Mrs Gresty. This has been the most difficult aspect that she has had to face. The current veiled threats against me are making me feel anxious and left me wondering whether I should have left my public duty conscience behind when I retired from the Police Service two years ago.

8 November 2001

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