Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex IV21

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mrs Rita Gresty

I refer to our meeting yesterday, when I stressed my deep disquiet having received a letter from Ms Maria Fernandes' solicitor, David Price. The threat of legal action against me upset me greatly, and I was seriously considering withdrawing evidence and statements that I have made. You explained that I was protected by Parliamentary Privilege, and, whilst being very concerned at the obvious distress this had caused me, I am now persuaded of the necessity to confirm that my statements are true, to the best of my knowledge, and that I am willing for them to be placed on your file, for the record.

Whilst writing, during our meeting you indicated that Ms Fernandes has stated that I am taking her to an Industrial Tribunal in relation to the manner of my dismissal from her employment. I wish to state categorically that this is untrue, and has never been the case.

As I was seriously ill at the time, I empowered my husband and Miss Eileen Eggington to handle all matter related to my former employment by Ms Fernandes, including the collection of statutory sickness pay due to me, (unpaid for five months) and I know that Miss Eggington made it clear to Ms Fernandes in January 2001, that no such action was being contemplated. At that time, my potential appearance at any Industrial Tribunal was totally out of the question, as Ms Fernandes was aware.

At the onset of my illness, legal action against Ms Fernandes was one of the many options that was considered, but on strong legal and medical advice was not proceeded with, and she was informed. Had an action for unfair dismissal been commenced, the legal deadline for such action was February 2001, and I am disturbed that Ms Fernandes may have given you the impression that an action had either commenced, or is still outstanding. It is unthinkable and inconceivable that Ms Fernandes could produce any evidence confirming that instigation of legal action against her for unfair dismissal has ever started and is ongoing, and I trust that she will withdraw such an allegation (if she has made it) as a matter of urgency.

13 November 2001

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