Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex i19

Transcription of an interview by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards with Mrs Rita Gresty, accompanied by Ms Eileen Eggington QPM, held on 11 October 2001

MS FILKIN: Thank you very much for coming to see me, Mrs Gresty, it is very good of you. What I would like to do, if I may, is just ask you one or two questions which I am not quite clear about. Could I start off by asking you whether you have got any evidence of Mr Vaz's involvement in the obtaining of the passports for anybody connected with the Hindujas or their business?

MRS GRESTY: It was Mrs Vaz, not Mr Vaz.

MS FILKIN: Yes, you made that clear in your statement, thank you. Just to be clear about that. You thought that one of those applications was for a Mrs SH. Can you recall anything more about that because it has been denied to me that any application was made in relation to Mrs SH. Can you remember the name? You said at the time you thought the name was that?

MRS GRESTY: I know that it definitely was Mrs SH and, as far as I can remember, S would have been her Christian name, her first name.

MS FILKIN: Can you recall how that might have been spelt?


MS FILKIN: Yes, thank you. Now that you have thought about those passport applications, have you recalled anything else in relation to them? Were you involved in any conversations about them or any telephone calls or anything of that nature?

MRS GRESTY: I can remember that they were taking a little bit longer than Mrs Vaz had wanted them to take so, as far as I can remember, she tried to speed them up a little bit. It is difficult for me to remember now.

MS FILKIN: Of course.

MRS GRESTY: I think they actually came through in the post around about the time she was getting worried about how long it was actually taking her. Because apparently Mrs *** had used another solicitor before she had actually asked Mrs Vaz to get the passport for her this time and Mrs Vaz wanted to make a good impression on the speed. So they came through and they were actually collected by a member of their office.

MS FILKIN: And were you involved in the payment for this? Did you raise the invoices?

MRS GRESTY: Yes I would have done, I raised all the invoices, yes.

MS FILKIN: So you can actually remember raising the invoices for those?

MRS GRESTY: Yes, I would have done.

MS FILKIN: For that work.


MS FILKIN: Thank you. The other question about passports that I would like to ask you about is that you made a remark in relation to the employment of Mrs Matin that you believed that her passport was held in Mr Vaz's office in Leicester. Can you tell me why you thought that was the case?

MRS GRESTY: Because I had the impression that it was a very touchy subject and it was better that Keith dealt with the passport up in Leicester because he would have had the means by which to see that the whole affair was carried through as speedily as possible.

MS FILKIN: And who told you that the passport was in the Leicester office?


MS FILKIN: Did Mrs Matin ever tell you that as well?

MRS GRESTY: Yes she did.

MS FILKIN: Did she think that was helpful or odd?

MRS GRESTY: She felt it was helpful that it was all being dealt with by Mr Vaz.

MS FILKIN: I see, thank you. One further point on passport applications I wonder if you could help me with. Do you know anything about passport applications for a Mr EM or a Mr JAl?

MRS GRESTY: Yes, I know about the passport applications for Mr EM and his family.

MS FILKIN: How were you involved in that?

MRS GRESTY: I helped deal with the whole of the family's passport applications.

MS FILKIN: Were you doing that on behalf of Mrs Vaz and her legal practice or with Mr Vaz or both?

MRS GRESTY: Yes, on behalf of Mrs Vaz only.

MS FILKIN: And what about Mr Alvarez?

MRS GRESTY: That was not to do with his passport application, as far as I remember, but it was assistance and advice provided to him.

MS FILKIN: Have you got anything else you would like to say to me while you are here about any concerns you had about any of that work while you were engaged in it?


MS FILKIN: Do you know how Mrs Matin first contacted Mr and Mrs Vaz? Do you know how she got to be helping in their house or with their children?

MRS GRESTY: It was through a mutual friend.

MS FILKIN: A mutual friend of theirs?


MS FILKIN: Do you know the name of that person?

MRS GRESTY: Yes, but I cannot remember at the moment.

MS FILKIN: I can see it was some time ago. If you do recall who it was perhaps you would drop me a note and tell me who it was.

MRS GRESTY: Yes, I will. It was A.

MS FILKIN: Thank you very much.


MS FILKIN: Thank you. Could I ask you whether there is anything else you would like to say to me this afternoon. You have had time to reflect on all these matters and you have been very helpful, but I wonder if there is anything else you want to tell me?

MRS GRESTY: I do not think so, no.

MS FILKIN: If you do after we have finished please will you drop me a note or telephone me. What I shall do is send you a copy of this recording that we have made of your answers so that you can check them to make sure that they are exactly correct and exactly as you would like them to be recorded. Thank you very much for coming.

MRS GRESTY: Thank you.


MS FILKIN: We are now going to record an addition to the interview that we have just carried out. I wonder, Mrs Gresty, if you could just give me some information about what you know from Mrs Matin of what had happened to her before she came into the household of Mr and Mrs Vaz.

MRS GRESTY: I was actually given this information by Maria Vaz. Mary came over from Bangladesh in order to marry a man that she went ahead and married. Unfortunately, unbeknown to her, * * * eventually she managed to contact one of her brothers who came to rescue her, as it were, but then she was in the situation whereby she was no longer married or she wanted, I guess, to divorce her husband, and I am not sure whether she was at that stage an illegal immigrant because she was no longer married to the man (I guess she probably was) and this was where the mutual friend came into play. He mentioned to Maria and Keith that he knew Mary who would be able to be a nanny for them and that is how they ­­­

MS FILKIN: So she came to them recruited as a nanny, not because they were going to help her sort out her divorce or her immigration status? That all came afterwards?

MRS GRESTY: I think that came afterwards, yes.

MS FILKIN: I see. Thank you.  

Signed as correct —   Mrs Rita S Gresty

Date: 17.10.2001

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