APPENDIX 13 (continued)
Tribunal proceedings and employment related
Despite Mrs Gresty's protestations that she was not
in dispute with Ms Fernandes, the correspondence shows quite clearly
that the aim, in the event of not securing a financial deal, was
to take Ms Fernandes to the Employment Tribunal.
On the 12 November 2001, Mrs Filkin asked
Mrs Gresty if she was involved in proceedings against Ms Fernandes.
Mrs Gresty denied that she was, and in a letter dated 13 November,
she responds to Mrs Filkin as follows: "I wish to state that
this is untrue and has never been the case." Of course,
technically, on the 12 November 2001, she was correct that there
were no current proceedings, but quite clearly from correspondence
from Mrs Gresty's solicitors, Bulfin and Co., we can be left in
no doubt whatsoever as to what the true position was. In a letter
dated the 11 July 2001, from Bulfin and Co. (who, incidentally,
describe themselves as employment law solicitors), they state:
"... We can also see from the correspondence
that our client's claims are not admitted by you, and we do not
doubt that if this matter was brought before a Tribunal by way
of a constructive dismissal claim, the case would be strenuously
defended ...We are aware of your high profile within the Law
Society and that of your husband and would have thought that
you would prefer to deal with this matter in a discreet way rather
than publicly in the Employment Tribunal." (My emphasis)
On the 19 July, Bulfin and Co., writing on behalf
of Mrs Gresty, state:
"...The fact is that our client considers that
her current position gives rise to a prospective constructive
dismissal claim. Hearings in the Employment Tribunal as you are
no doubt aware are open to the public and the names of the parties
are contained in lists published by the Employment Tribunal. We
appreciate that your husband has no connection with your firm,
nevertheless the name of your firm and the fact that you have
a high profile within the Law Society may attract media interest."
In the same letter Mrs Gresty's solicitor offers
her client's silence in exchange for payment.
In the letter of 1 August 2000, Mrs Gresty's solicitors
"... There are currently no medical reports
available although there will be in due course. If you feel that
you have to make a speedy decision in this matter without sight
of medical reports this is a matter for you. The reasonableness
of your actions will be judged by the Employment Tribunal."
This tone in the correspondence from Mrs Gresty's
solicitors is echoed in the letters below (all in the Annexes)all
of which relate to Mrs Gresty's legal claim against Ms Fernandes.
The law provides that Mrs Gresty was entitled to proceed with
her claim to the Employment Tribunal until the end of Februarywhich,
incidentally, is when Mr Gresty first wrote to Mrs Filkin. They
are reproduced in the Annexes, as follows:
28 July 2001
7 August 2001
20 October 2000
28 June 2001
5 July 2000
3 January 2001
2 February 2001
Indeed, the letter from Mrs Gresty to Mrs Filkin,
dated 16 November 2001, contains contradictions in paragraphs
one and four:
"At the onset of my illness, legal action against
Ms Fernandes was one of many options that was considered, but
on strong legal and medical advice was not proceeded with and
she was informed." This is of course not the case. Ms Eggington
continued to state that she would be contacting ACAS."
She goes on:
"... had an action for unfair dismissal been
commenced the legal deadline for such action was February 2001
(when Mr Gresty first contacted Mrs Filkin) and I am concerned
that Ms Fernandes may have given you the impression that an action
had commenced or is still outstanding ... It is unthinkable and
inconceivable that Ms Fernandes can produce any evidence confirming
the instigation of legal proceedings against her for unfair dismissal.
It is clear that Mrs Gresty is under the false impression
that Ms Femandes had mentioned these employment related issues.
She had not. I had, as Mrs. Gresty had told me about them herself.
Nevertheless, this statement is contradicted by the
correspondence from her solicitors as shown above. Indeed, Ms
Eggington' s letter to Ms Fernandes of 21 December 2000 is an
unveiled attempt to threaten legal action "... I have been
given the ACAS number if I need to pursue the matter, and I do
hope that for Rita's sake, this will not be necessary."
Yet, Ms Egginton, plainly contradicting herself,
tells Mrs Filkin on 12 November 2000 that there were not going
to be any legal proceedings.
Mrs Gresty's employment in Ms Fernandes' office
Further contradictions in evidence emerge when Mr
Gresty, who, while maintaining that Mrs Matin has worked in the
same office as Mrs Gresty, complains at the same time of, inter
alia, his wife's loneliness in the office.
On 8 June, Mr Gresty wrote to Ms Fernandes as follows:
"... The volume of work she is required to do
in an environment where she had no other contact with people for
many hours on end. Because of her renowned conscientiousness...
she worked hours far in excess of what is generally accepted for
such post. . . frequently without a break and lacking companionship.
. . Rita will recover her strength and confidence with the help
of her friends. I know that she places you, Keith, and your family,
in that third category, as do I."
On the 14 June 2001, legal proceedings are referred
to again when Mr Gresty writes:
"... I can make no comment of its main contents
until I have taken independent legal and medical advice regarding
the points you have made."
In a letter from Ms Fernandes to Ms Eggington, she
agreed to all the requests that had been made to her. Following
this, Ms Eggington wrote to Ms Fernandes. Unfortunately, the
copy that Mrs Filkin was given does not contain the crucial insight
into Mrs Gresty's health as the postscript has been obliterated.
Whether this was by Mrs Filkin or Ms Eggington we do not know.
The letter of the 20 January was the basis for contacting the
police, and an alarm was set up at our home because of a threat
by Mrs Gresty to remove our children.
Mrs Gresty's motivesan issue raised by
On the 12 November 2001, Mrs Gresty wrote to Mrs
Filkin. She made it clear that it was only because of what she
read in the newspapers that she felt she should tell the truth.
However, the Committee is asked to bear in mind the
1. According to Ms Eggington, Mrs Gresty did
not read any newspapers as she had been in hospital for
six months (statement of 19 October).
2. With regard to the Mail on Sunday article
of the 3 June, if Mrs Gresty was not the source and Ms Eggington
denies being the source, who, then, was the source? However, as
the Committee will note, Ms Eggington points the finger at Mrs
Filkin and Mr Andrew Pearce from the Home Office in her letter
to Ms Fernandes' solicitor.
3. It would be pertinent to find out what newspaper
article Mrs Gresty had read concerning Ms Fernandes which propelled
her into contacting Mrs Filkin for the first time.
4. It is necessary to examine the reasons why
Mrs Gresty chose not to disclose anything about her yearlong
dispute with Ms Fernandes over compensation, and only did so when
there was no other alternative because of the correspondence released
with this response.
5. It is necessary to examine the reasons why
Mrs Gresty chose not to mention to Mrs Filkin that she had been
approached by Max Clifford, the publicist, a year ago.
In the letter to Mrs Filkin, Ms Eggington discloses
for the first time the history of employmentrelated disagreements
with Ms Fernandes. She says:
"At our meeting ... both Mr and Mrs Gresty confirmed
that they had not commenced legal proceedings. I am enclosing
copies of correspondence between Maria Fernandes and me which
will illustrate why she has no good reason to believe that Mr
and Mrs Gresty had any intention of taking their case to an Employment
However, the truth is plainly evident in the letter
from employment solicitors, Bulfin and Co., written on behalf
of Mrs Gresty, (see above) and which refers to legal redress:
"... the reasonableness of your actions will
be judged by the Employment Tribunal." (1 August 2000)
Ms Eggington claims that on 13 December 2000 she
spoke to Ms Fernandes and told her very clearly that there was
no question of litigation against her because the Grestys could
not afford to pay a lawyer. However, Ms Eggington actually says,
"I have been given the ACAS helpline number if I need to
pursue the matter. I do hope for Rita's sake this will not be
necessary." Yet, the letter from Bulfin and Co. contains
real threats to go to court.
On 8 November 2001, two phone calls were made to
Mrs Filkin, respectively from Mrs Gresty and from Mr Gresty. On
that day, Ms Eggington adds:
"... It was not easy to take statements from
Mrs Gresty (whom she previously described as an 'excellent witness',
see statement on 11 June 2001). She has been suffering from severe
depression since May 2000 * * *. Many, though not all, of her
problems stem from her employment as PA with Maria Fernandes,
and it was as a result of my spending hours with her in an unofficial
role that she spoke about the things that I brought to her attention."
Ms Eggington makes clear in her statement of 26 March
2001 (Annex il6) that these matters relate to my wife, and not
me. Her 7page statement relates exclusively to Ms Fernandes'
legal practice and her clients, without any implied or direct
attempt to involve me. A transcript (running to 6 pages) dated
11 October (Annex il9), seen by me for the first time on
30 November 2001, makes it patently clear that this matter is
not directed at me:
Mrs Gresty: "... It was Mrs Vaz, not Mr Vaz."
Finally, in an Attendance note, 2 February 2001,
made just a few days before contact with Mrs Filkin, the then
current employment issue is summarised by Ms Fernandes:
1. Ms Eggington says Vyan is upset because I
had not contacted Rita Gresty (after they had told Ms Fernandes
not to contact them but to go through a solicitor). I advised
that I did not want to tip her over and that was why I had not
2. Discussed a compromise agreement and contact
3. Explained I did care about Rita and got on
with her and hoped that she would be in contact for many years.
4. Eileen accepted that there were many factors
that were the cause of the illness.
5. Agreed that I would get some sort of compromise
agreement. I did explain that I thought she might not have the
capacity to sign. Eggington said that she might be able to get
a signature when Rita was lucid.
Mrs Matin's passport
The issue of Mrs Matin's passport has been framed
as part of the complaint. This is a puzzle. Mrs Gresty says in
her interview of the 11 October:
"I got the impression that it was a very touchy
subject and it was better that Keith dealt with the passport in
RG: "She felt it was helpful that it was being
dealt with by Mr Vaz."
Ms Jane Coker, on behalf of Mrs Matin, confirms that
the passport was "not sent to Keith's office." I am
still not aware of what point is being made about the passport.
The practice of whether an MP keeps a constituent's passport varies.
I do not hold passports in my Leicester Office because of the
fear that they may get lost. They are always retained by the person
seeking advice. In any event, Mrs Matin wished to stay with her
husband who was seriously ill with cancer. She had no wish to
leave the country.
My noninvolvement in Ms Fernandes' legal
Rita Gresty, who is the principal witness in these
matters, emphatically denies any assertion that I was involved
in my wife's practice. This crucial fact is ignored by Mrs Filkin.
In her interview on the 11 October, Mrs Gresty confirmed
again that I had nothing to do with Ms Fernandes' practice.
EF: Were you doing that on behalf of Mrs Vaz and
her legal practice or Mr Vaz only?
RG: On behalf of Mrs Vaz only.
However what is odd about this interview is that
the tape stops several times. It is quite obvious from the flow
of the interview that there is a conversation between Mrs Gresty,
Ms Eggington and Mrs Filkin and then the tape recording resumes.
I will want to study the taperecording of the
In the interview with Mrs Filkin on 11 October 2001,
when pressed by Mrs Filkin:
EF: Could I start off by asking you whether you
have got any evidence of Mr Vaz's involvement in obtaining the
passports for anyone connected with the Hindujas or their business?
Rita Gresty: It was Mrs Vaz, not Mr Vaz.
Finally, Mrs Gresty's credibilty is dealt a further
blow. Ms Eggington says:
"The complaint was based upon evidence obtained
by me from Mrs Gresty." However, Mrs Gresty is supposed to
be "seriously ill" in hospital, and we have been told
that she does not read the newspapers, and did not know about
Mrs Gresty clearly states that she had nothing to
do with the company.
In Annex il5A, 25 June 2001, she says:
"I have been asked about Mapesbury company
records. I do not remember seeing any Mapesbury records at either
In Annex v7:
Mrs Gresty did not know why she attended the meeting
at Coleridge House. She confirmed however that neither Keith Vaz
was nor Maria Fernandes was present. There is no suggestion by
Mrs Gresty that this was a Mapesbury meeting.
In an earlier statement, Ms Eggington says:
"Mapesbury PR (no such company) was in existence
in August 1998 (get info from companies house), Maria Fernandes,
wife of Keith Vaz, owned it but it had no staff. Rita was aware
that Hanif Patahn (wrong spelling) was a director and the only
person involved in the business. Rita did not handle any accounts
or correspondence but believes that Maria employed a Chinese accountant.
She (Mrs Gresty) read in the newspapers (not identified) three
weeks ago that Hanif had resigned as a director."
Apart from the inaccuracy of the above names of the
company and the director, this statement clearly contradicts Ms
Eggington's submissions that Mrs Gresty had spent the last six
months in Northwick Park not reading the newspapers.
The contradictions of evidence reach significant
new heights in dealing with Mary Matin's alleged position as a
nanny. In her statement in June, Rita Gresty says:
"... Mary immediately started working for
the Vazes, travelling daily to ***."
She claims this took place in 1995. This is quite
wrong on a simple matter of fact: we moved to *** in 1996, and
in that year Mrs Matin was living in a refuge in Leicester.
Ms Eggington tells us that the information submitted
was "hearsay", but obtained from conversation with Mrs
Matin. However, the accuracy of such submissions is yet further
compromised by Ms Eggington's later revelations, by way of statement,
that Mary could not speak to her in English.
This was contradicted further by 11 October statement:
EF: So she came to them recruited as a nanny,
not because they were going to help her sort out her divorce or
immigration status? That came afterwards?
Mrs Gresty: I think that came afterwards, yes.
She states that in August 1998 Mrs Matin was on the
scene as a nanny and living with Mr Matin, although just above
this she says that Mrs Matin started working in 1995 . Neither
of the dates is accurate. We already had suitable domestic arrangements
in place, and the register shows that we had a livein nanny
with us called Anna Fernandes.
Ms Eggington states that Mrs Gresty had said that
"Mrs Matin had been forced to marry Mr Matin." However,
on 11 October, Rita Gresty herself says: "... she felt that
it was helpful that it was being dealt with by Mr Vaz."
Rita Gresty was also convinced that "Mary was
in danger of being deported as an illegal immigrant." This
is contradicted by the facts. Jane Coker has stated as a matter
of law that "She is not and has never been an illegal
"Rita believes that Mary loved her husband and
that theirs was a true marriage", but this is immediately
contradicted in the same statement by her belief that "Mary
was rescued and taken to live with Abdul Matin, known as
Matin, above the Bina restaurant."
"On one occasion she answered a phone call for
Maria Fernandes Vaz. Rita tried to get Maria to take the call
but she said words to the effect "I do not want anything
to do with it". (This is fully consistent with Ms Fernandes'
statement that she was not involved in these matters.) But Rita,
relying solely on her own convictions and without any factual
basis, made a statement to the police that Maria employed Mary,
a statement that has been contradicted by both her and her husband
in letters to Ms Fernandes.
Rita, above all, is well aware that we have livein
nannies of our own. Rita herself confirms that the family had
livein au pairs on a regular basis:
"Maria employed livein au pairs on a regular
basis. Rita used to arrange this through a nanny agency in Stanmore
which specialises in au pairs from Eastern Europe (she thinks
most came from the Czech Republic). Maria liked to take the more
mature women in their early 20s."
None of these selfevidently contradictory
and unsubstantiated claims was put to Mrs Gresty when the Commissioner
met her. Indeed, she was puzzlingly regarded
as a 'key witness' whose credibility was accepted by the Commissioner
as being 'persuasive'. Mrs Filkin did not even refer to her document,
nor was she asked to confirm the contents of any statement made.
Neither is there any evidence to suggest that Mary was working
"as a domestic servant". Furthermore, of the numerous
letters sent to Maria, not one of them mentions Mary actually
working in the office, and indeed it was not even mentioned in
the complaint. It is quite obviously an afterthought, as no evidence
was offered to substantiate the first complaint.
And one has to ask the question as to what the Eggington/Gresty/Bina
restaurant 'soap opera' has got to do with me.
Mr Vvan Gresty
Mr and Mrs Gresty confirmed that they were frequent
visitors to the Bina restaurant. In a letter of 19 November 2001
from Mr Gresty, he said:
"My wife and I were entertained to dinner at
the restaurant where Mary's husband works in High Street, Stanmore
(not correct, it was Northwood) and struck up a long conversation
with her how come she acted as hostess." This is clearly
at odds with Ms Eggington's statement that she spoke no English.
Mr Vyan Gresty is regarded by Mrs Filkin as a persuasive
witness and someone who supports his wife's evidence. In his letter
to Mrs Filkin on the 8 November 2001 he says:
"I am convinced that throughout this harrowing
time for us as a family, my wife has displayed total honesty,
integrity and extreme physical and mental bravery in disclosing
facts as she knew them."
He failed, however, to tell Mrs Filkin about:
1. the threat to Maria of industrial proceedings
from his wife's employment solicitors;
2. the contact from Max Clifford;
3. his personal request to Mr Vaz for help to
sort out his family's financial problem with Barclays Bank;
4. the constant requests for personal references
from Ms Fernandes and the payment of monies.
Mr Gresty claims to have first met me 20 years ago
when working for the London Borough of Haringey. I would have
been 24 at the time and living in Richmond, Surrey. I have never
met him before and only visited Haringey after becoming an MP.
Rita says she was involved in liaisons with other
organisations, such as the ABN and Mapesbury. Yet in all the correspondence
with Ms Fernandes, no mention is ever made of this, and in fact
Mrs Gresty's statement denies any involvement in Mapesbury.
With regard to the piano playing event, Mrs Vaz has
never been a main speaker at any recital of Mr Gresty's. Mr Gresty
played once when Ms Fernandes spoke and that was at her mother's
funeral. (Card attached)
With regard to her own financial difficulty: the
letter of 9 June 2000 released by Ms Eggington, states that
Gresty had financial difficulties. In his letter of 8 October
2001, he confirms that Mary made food for them and took it
home as they were frequent guests at her husband's restaurant.
On the 20 January Ms Eggington wrote:
" ... Vyan has been on the verge of a nervous
breakdown for several weeks. This is why I am acting on their
behalf because Vyan cannot think rationally and they have no money
to pay for legal advice."
Rita Gresty's mental illness:
Mrs Filkin has made an allegation that I have mentioned
Mrs Gresty's illness in order to discredit her. This is nonsense.
It was important that Mrs Filkin was aware that it was as a result
of Mrs Gresty's illness and her threats to remove my children,
that I took action through the police to protect them. I have
not mentioned her illness at length but Ms Eggington and Mr Gresty
have openly done so, as is evident from correspondence. Mrs Gresty's
solicitors have themselves sought to make it an issue.
It is hard to conceive how the mental illness, capacity
and state of mind, of a key witness in an investigation
of a complaint, can be other than a relevant factor. In fact,
it is respectfully submitted that as soon as Mrs Filkin became
aware of a history of mental illness, she should have insisted,
in the interests of all parties, on contacting the relevant doctors
and specialist doctors to ensure that further questioning and
contact was appropriate and sustainable.
In any case, Mrs Gresty's illness has been openly
referred to by her friends. Ms Eggington's letter of the 19 October
states: "I told her that Rita was very ill during the year
but was now getting better."
Again, Ms Eggington refers to it in Annex il4, dated
"Rita went sick with severe anxiety and depression
caused largely by increasing pressures at work. For the past six
months she has spent much of her time as an inpatient in
the Mental Health Unit at Northwick Park hospital with reactive
Yet again, Ms Eggington refers to Mrs Gresty's illness
in her letter of 11 June:
"Rita Gresty has been receiving psychiatric
care as an inpatient since July 2000. (In fact this is not
true. It was well before this.) * * *. She remains in a seriously
Mrs Filkin responds to Ms Eggington on 27 September
2001 (Annex il8):
"I hope that Mrs Gresty is recovering her health."
Mrs Filkin writes to me directly to ask for details
of Mrs Gresty's ill health in her letter of 16 July 2001 (Annex
i22), in which she says:
"...Mrs Egginton informed me of Mrs Gresty's
illhealth...I need your response including details about
any matter which you believe to be relevant such as industrial
tribunal proceedings or ill health..."
In spite of the request, it would have been entirely
inappropriate for me, in the circumstances, or otherwise, to give
details, let alone competently comment on Mrs Gresty's ill health.
All the information I have comes from Mrs Gresty and the police.
In addition, Ms Eggington, in a letter dated 19 October 2001,
states: "... I told Barney Monahan (Ms Fernandes' solicitor)
that Mrs Gresty was seriously ill in hospital and was not aware
of the article." (You will be aware, nevertheless, that in
spite of being 'seriously ill in hospital', Mrs Gresty
had already dictated two detailed statements to Ms Eggington which
formed the basis of the article.)
Mr Gresty on 8 November 2001 comments on Mrs Gresty's
health, saying: "she was doing very well indeed but this
was a body blow."
In a letter from Ms Eggington to Ms Fernandes, dated
20 January 2001 (just three weeks before the first call to Mrs
Filkin), she states:
"Rita's condition deteriorated rapidly in the
weeks after she endeavoured to talk to you. Her call to your home
was made from the Mental Health Unit at Northwick Park and she
became extremely agitated when you were not there to receive her
call. Since 9 January she has been detained in a secure unit and
the children have been advised not to see her. They are suffering
Mr Gresty says on 14 June 2000:
"Rita is evidently too unwell to appreciate
the implications of your letter."
Mrs Gresty's solicitors write on 11 July 2000:
"... We are instructed that our client became
ill earlier this year. Our client commenced a period of sick leave
and has been unable to return to work since."
And again on 20 July 2000 Mrs Gresty's solicitors
write once again concerning her illness:
"We are instructed that she is in fact admitted
as a day patient at Northwick Park hospital at which she is receiving
a psychiatric assessment."
Yet again, on the 27 July, Mrs Gresty's solicitors
"We are writing to let you know that our client
has been admitted to hospital as an in patient."
Mrs Rita Gresty herself writes on the 16 November
"This is a difficult letter to write but none
the less suggested by my psychologist."
3 June 2001, The Mail on Sunday, prints:
"... She quit her job with Mrs Vaz suffering
from depression. * * *."
Mrs Filkin's attitude to Mrs Gresty's illness is
in stark contrast to her views about Mr XY. When I mentioned Mr
XY to her she said that he was "completely mad"
and was "mentally ill", and she proceeded to
prepare a note for me and others about the matter. She appeared
to be saying that because Mr XY was mentally ill, he should not
be believed. In raising his mental illness (of which I have no
proof) she did not feel that she was trying to discredit him.
Mr Peene's complaint
(vi) "That Mr
Vaz had improperly sought information from a constituent, Mr G
H Peene, about a criminal antifraud investigation Mr Peene
was engaged in on behalf of the Intervention Branch Executive
Agency relating to a company with which Mr Vaz had a connection
and that Mr Vaz had failed to declare a relevant interest in the
company during communications with a civil servant."
Who is the complainant:
Graham Peene, a constituent with whom I have been dealing over
his claims of corruption in the DTI and in the Metropolitan Police.
Press involvement: None
Nature of the complaint:
I am mystified by this complaint. I supplied the Commissioner
with the complete file relating to my dealings with Mr Peene,
but she said it was not relevant. She asked me a number of questions
which I answered.
Evidence: None to support
the complaint. Mr Peene came to my surgery on 17 April 1999. I
enclose the surgery list where his name emerges as a result of
my routine request to see him as correspondence had arrived for
him to see. He claims that at the meeting I asked him about a
matter concerning the Intervention Board. There is no mention
of this in his correspondence with me, either before or after
the meeting. He claims that I had an interest in a company called
*** (which I have not). He claims that as the director of this
company was once a director of a charity in Leicester called Skill
Share Africa, there was a link between the two organisations.
This is not a sensible deduction. He says he produced a report
for the Intervention Board but did not in fact produce this document.
He now apparently tells the Commissioner that he is in dispute
with the Intervention Board.
Filkin's analysis: Mrs
Filkin rings the Intervention Board to ask if Mr Peene complained
to them and then exceptionally does not follow this up with a
letter. She focuses instead on an incidental point that I make
that he was not a civil servant when he saw me. This point has
to be studied in context, and Mrs Filkin yet again quotes me out
of context. His status is immaterial to the basis of the complaint.
But, by way of contextual reference, Mr Peene was not a civil
servant at the DTI at the time of making his complaint against
that department when he came to see me as his MP.
I could not be expected to know of the status of
the individual working for the Intervention Board, as I had not
heard of the Intervention Board. Frankly, such a person could
have been a civil servant or a police officer or neither. The
Intervention Board was not a subject that Mr Peene raised with
me, as can be seen in the documentation contained within his constituency
case file. I have not heard of the Intervention Board, and would
not know what it did. I would happily have written to the Board
but Mrs Filkin ordered me not to.
My Response: I have been
diligently helping Mr Peene with his cases, and attach the file
which is selfexplanatory. Mr Peene has persistently complained
to a number of agencies about corruption, including the DTI solicitors,
the Attorney General, and the Metropolitan Police. He has written
to others about his complaints concerning these various agencies,
including the Prime Minister.
It was only when I received the draft memorandum
from Mrs Filkin that I became aware of the basis of the complaint
made by Mr Peene to the Commissionerthat I was supposed
to have had some connection with *** Limited, a company of which
I have not heard before this complaint was made. Please see par
588 where the suggestion is made that I was a director with a
Mr *** (referred to by Mr Peene, in his earlier correspondence,
as a Mr ***) for a Leicesterbased charity called Skill Share
Africa. I enclose their newsletter, and I have now obtained a
letter from the charitable company (renamed Skill Share International)
about my connections with the charity:
1. I was a director (nonremunerated) for
the period 11.09.199013. 07.1992
2. I had not attended any meetings.
3. There was no director by the name of *** during
the existence of Skill Share Africa. Mr *** was appointed as a
director of Skill Share on 30 May 1992. He is still a director
4. Mr *** has told the charity that he has no
recollection of meeting me. I have no recollection of meeting
For the complaint to succeed I would have had to
have had a relevant interest to declare in the company known as
***. I do not know of the company (except in the context of this
complaint being made). I have not visited this company, have not
seen the company, do not know what this company does, would not,
and have not asked a question about the company except if a constituent
asked me to do so.
Mr Peene wrote to me following his case appointment
meeting with me when this conversation was supposed to have taken
place. He made no mention of the purported conversation in subsequent
conversations but thanked me for my help. Mr Peene himself gives
evidence against himself (please see Annex vi5) when he says:
"The Intervention Board deny any knowledge of the affair."
The Intervention Board
No one from the Intervention Board has contacted
me about this case. There is no confirmation in any way of my
involvement in any of these matters. In fact the note of the conversation
between Mrs Filkin and Mr Kent is not followed up by her.
I sent Mrs Filkin my entire case file relating to
Mr Peene, as she said that she had Mr Peene's implied consent
for me to do so. She said on the 27 September: "You kindly
allowed me to check your casework file. . . as far as I can see
the matters referred to in the case file papers do not relate
to the complaint that Mr Peene has raised with me on which I have
asked for your comments." However, she then says in her analysis
that I have not produced evidence to "support my account
of events prior to 17 April." I am quite frankly at a complete
loss to know what evidence she is expecting in relation to questions
that were never raised by me.
The Protection of Parliamentary Privilege
It is quite obvious, however, that because Mrs Filkin
allowed this unsubstantiated complaint to receive serious consideration,
Mr Peene has succeeded in ensuring that he has a platform, protected
by Parliamentary Privilege, on which to make highly defamatory
statements about a number of individuals and government departments.
I think that this is indeed a misuse of the process.
Extension of remit:
1. Mrs Filkin claims she does not want to be involved
in how MPs deal with casework. However, this case is an example
of how she is prepared to pursue a complaint on the basis of a
verbal statement by one constituent against an MP without any
supporting evidence. This is, potentially, a dangerous extension
of her remit. In common with many MPs, I do not record verbatim
everything that is said to me by a constituent at my surgeries
(please see surgery list attached). I record action to be taken
on a constituent's behalf in the presence of the constituent.
A perusal of the documentation on file, in particular, all the
followup letters to the visit, would reveal what Mr Peene
wanted me to do for him.
2. The new Register of Interests (26 November 2001)
lists Members with, collectively, hundreds of directorships and
connections with numerous other organisations and subsidiary organisations.
Unless the Committee rules on this, Members will need to be aware
if they have any connection of any kind, however tenuous, with
a company or organization of whatever kind, and any other person
connected with that organization is involved in any activity of
any kind which may attract a complaint, then any third party,
not necessarily connected to the company or organization, may
make a complaint about the Member who is so 'connected'.
(vii) "That Mr
Vaz had failed to register a remunerated directorship with a company,
General Mediterranean Holdings, or with subsidiaries of that company."
The complaint: That I
did not register directorships.
Who is the complainant:
Press involvement: The
Financial Times (29 January 2001), The Observer's publication
of articles immediately prior to the General Election and the
publication by the Observer on 23 December 2001 of the memorandum.
Nature of the complaint:
That I failed to register a directorship
Evidence: None to support
the complaint. The witnesses for this complaint only appear to
have been called in to see Mrs Filkin at the last minute. Mr Kennady,
(whom I have never met) who claims intimate knowledge of these
matters, left the company 10 years before, and is accompanied
by Martin Bright of The Observer who makes the most significant
point during the meeting, although it is of limited value and
provides no evidence. Mr Bright says in relation to these matters:
"We have found nothing improper."
Even Mrs Filkin appears to be a little fed up, asking
on two occasions: "What has this got to do with Mr Vaz?"
The second witness is Tom Sackville, the former Conservative
MP, who again has no personal knowledge of any of these matters
but contributes tales based on rumours and office gossip even
though he did not work in the office. In his evidence, Mr Martin
"The other person who has told us all sorts
of things which are unsubstantiated is a man called
Tom Sackville". Ironically, this is the same Mr Bright, who
wrote an article in The Observer on 23 December claiming that
Mr Sackville's comments had substance. He clearly did not think
so on the 24 October 2001, and of course his colleague,
Mr Barnett, denies any links with the allegations made at the
meeting, although his name is mentioned several times.
Mrs Filkin writes to a number of directors of a number
of related companies: Lord Lamont, Lord Steel, Baroness Falkender,
the former Conservative Minister, Gerald Malone, and others whom
I have never met in any capacity. Mrs Filkin listed the directors
of the company incorrectly (see letter of 31 October 2001 Annex
vii11). Mr Hussein explains in great detail that she has got it
wrong, and that the company had not been formed then. The company
secretary wrote back with details of when the brochure went to
print and the date. There was criticism that "... the matter
seem to be taking up a disproportionate amount of time ... we
hope that this information is finally dealt with."
Mr Malone, a former Conservative Minister is also
puzzled by some of Mrs Filkin's questions. He says:
"I do not understand this. The sentence is meaningless
or incomplete" (Annex vii7)
This was being pursued on Mr Bright's behalf because,
in his words, Mrs Filkin could:
"ask people questions that people do not have
to answer us about." (Page 44).
The agenda is clear.
My response: I explained
simply and clearly to the Commissioner that I accepted an offer
of a nonexecutive directorship on or about 13 April 1999.
I registered it. I resigned from the directorship one month later
on 17 May 1999 when I became a Minister. I informed the Registrar
of my resignation and he removed it from the register.
I did not ask him to do so. The chairman, company secretary and
company accountant have all confirmed these facts to Mrs Filkin.
In addition, she has sought to write to all the directors in turn,
who have merely confirmed those same facts.
Extension of Remit: If
a Member serves or has served as a director and a former employee
of that firm is in dispute with the company over any matter he
can provide information to support a complaint against an MP even
though that former employee knows nothing about the Member, or
the nature of his involvement in the company. Once again, it is
apparently acceptable, under the dual investigatory process of
Mrs Filkin and the press, simply to formulate an unsubstantiated
The donation from Lord Paul
(viii) "That Mr
Vaz had failed to register a donation to him of £3,000 by
Lord Paul (or by a company owned by Lord Paul) in 1993."
Complainant: Mr Andrew
Press support: Sunday
Telegraph, relying on a confidential letter to the Committee
from Lord Paul dated 9 February 2001, prior to the last
Date of alleged breach:
1993 (8 years ago)
Nature of the complaint:
That I had not registered this donation and that therefore I sought
to conceal my relationship in some way with Lord Paul.
Evidence: There is no
dispute about the evidence or my relationship with Lord Paul,
which has been open and transparent.
Filkin analysis: This
differs significantly from the advice given by the Registrar.
The Commissioner says that I should have put all the donations
in the name of the company, though as she admits there is no evidence
that I had any intention to mislead (see paragraph 697, when I
ascribed one to Lord Paul personally).
My Response: The total
of the two donations which was issued for electronic and computer
equipment was registered in 1995 from Lord Paul who is close friend
of my family and the Godfather of my son who is named after him.
It remains the case, as I said in my letter of 28 September, that
if there was an unreasonable delay in registering the first payment,
I cannot explain it after this length of time. However, registration
did take place in 1995.
Mrs Filkin dealt with a similar point in the last
inquiry. The Committee will recall that in those days the date
you actually registered was not put on the Register. I would respectfully
submit that late registration is not grounds for upholding a complaint.
Late registration has not to my knowledge been regarded as a breach.
In any event, when this matter was drawn to my attention I immediately
went to see the Registrar and received written advice. There was
no suggestion that I should register it otherwise than by doing
what I had already done.
Were the procedures of the Ninth Report followed?
Absolutely not. Lord Paul's letter was only sent to me on 30 November
2001, after I had been asked to respond on 28 September.
It is only reasonable that any evidence or information available
should be put to the Member for examination at the appropriate
time in the investigation process, for comment or to anticipate
the need for further or contrary evidence, thus avoiding the allegations
of inaccuracy or obfuscation.
The allegations of misleading
I now turn to the allegations that I "may
have intended" to mislead. The Committee must bear in
mind that these are potentially serious allegations. Mrs Filkin
has put forward no evidence to support them, and they seem like
an afterthought at the end of the inquiry. However, it is vital
that the Committee applies the highest standards of proof in considering
Complaints by Mr Robathan, Mr Lansley and Ms Eggington
which related to matters examined during the last inquiry implied
that Mr Vaz may have been less than frank with the Committee,
or with me, and thereby may have misled us.
This is a very vague, but nevertheless, damning accusation.
I have responded to the specific complaints and I do not know
in what respects it is alleged that I may have misled "us".
Whilst I absolutely deny that I have deliberately misled either
the Commissioner or the Committee in relation to any of these
complaints, it is not possible for anyone to respond further without
particulars of the allegations. Unless they are forthcoming, this
damaging allegation should be withdrawn.
Mr Robathan's complaintI have dealt with this
matter above in the section on Lord Paul.
Mr LansleyI have dealt with this allegation
above in the section on the Hindujas.
Ms EggingtonI am at a loss to know which bit
The information provided by the Today Programme
and The Daily Telegraph also raised questions about whether Mr
Vaz should have used the opportunity which I offered him during
the previous inquiry to ensure that his register entries regarding
the properly interests were complete, and as Mr Vaz had not done
so, he might therefore have misled me.
Mrs Filkin has rejected the information from both
the BBC and the Telegraph. The Committee considered in March all
the points that were raised in the last inquiry. Mrs Filkin was
not misled; she was given the answers to all the questions that
were raised. The remaining questions were all considered in the
Committee stage of the inquiry. Following a request by the last
Committee I went to see the Registrar on three occasions and I
discussed in great details my properties and personal commitments.
The information provided by the Financial Times
about Mr Vaz's nonexecutive directorship at GMH and that
provided about the donations from Lord Paul to Mr Vaz's office
raised further questions as to whether Mr Vaz had made a complete
and timely entry of all his financial interests in the Register
of Members' Interests.
Mrs Filkin here appears to criticise the Committee
and herself. The information from Mr Parker of the Financial Times
was with her on 29 January 2001 and the information concerning
Lord Paul was in the Clerk's hands on 7 February 2001 . You simply
cannot be accused of misleading if the relevant details are not
revealed to you. As regards the donation, this was registered
with the advice of the Registrar.
Some of the answers, which Mr Vaz provided on
this and other matters, which I have set out in detail in the
body of this memorandum, were in my view inaccurate. Though initially
Mr Vaz might have been mistaken in his replies he has not corrected
them in the nine months of the inquiry. For example his reply
to the then Chairman and me that neither he nor his family received
payments from the Hinduja brothers is untrue. His wife has carried
out considerable paid work for the Hinduja business.
This is grossly inaccurate. If Mrs Filkin is to continue
to uphold this view, she is obliged at the very least to indicate
where my answers were inaccurate. She has not done so. The answer
to the Chairman was absolutely accurate. My family has received
no benefits or payments from the Hindujas. Under the Code of Conduct
I am required to deal with registrable benefits. I have never
discussed my wife's clients with her. The person who gave me this
information, after I replied to the former Chairman's letter,
thereby sanctioning the breaching of confidentiality, and the
solicitors' Professional and Ethical Code of Conduct was Mrs Filkin
It does however remain a mystery why Mrs Filkin did
not tell the Committee on 20th March 2001 when she told them of
Mr Lansley's complaint, and the Chairman decided to write to me,
that she specifically wanted to know about Ms Fernandes practice.
After all she had received this information on 15th February 2001
and had met and been emailed by Ms Eggington. If she had concerns,
surely this was her opportunity to clear matters up It would helpful
to know whether when Mr Sandall drafted the letter for the Chairman
he was aware of what Mrs Filkin knew.
As my wife herself has pointed out, she has never
acted for the Hinduja brothers. Judging from the sums that have
been disclosed, not even a lay person would regard the legal fees
as "substantial" This is patent misuse of language.
There were, according to the index, four cases with a total of
£3,000 inclusive of VAT.
Is Mrs Filkin seriously suggesting that working professional
and commercial spouses or partners of MPs routinely breach their
duty of confidentiality to their clients, thus implying that those
connected to MPs routinely act unprofessionally? If this is indeed
what she is suggesting, then she is making the case that partners
of MPs cannot have an independent and successful professional
In addition some of the information provided by
others with whom Mr Vaz is closely associated cannot be described
as full and frank. For example, certain answers to my questions,
given by his wife Maria Fernandes and his long term family friend,
Mr Hanif Pathan, who was for several years employed by Mr Vaz
from the House of Commons Costs Allowance, were inaccurate. Although
Mr Vaz offered to obtain this information himself he did not do
this and I was therefore obliged to rely on his wife and Mr Pathan
to provide it.
This is altogether inaccurate. In addition, Mrs Filkin
appears also to contradict herself. In her file note of my meeting
with her on 26 March, I gave Mrs Filkin a full account of Mr Pathan's
employment with me. She further claims that I gave her permission
to ask the Fees Office. In fact I did not do so, but I
have no objection to her having done this. She has obviously failed
to read the notes on her own file. This is another example of
what Mr Maxton says that Mrs Filkin routinely attacks the credibility
of the MP and those who support the Member. Mrs Filkin really
cannot insist on having it both ways. She first directs that she
has to get the information from Ms Fernandes and Mr Pathan, and
then she undermines them.
Ms Fernandes and Mrs Matin's case: "I had
been informed by the Immigration Service that she was representing
This is a statement without foundation, and a complete
misreading of the clear information made available to her by the
Home Office. Mrs Filkin has not acknowledged what Mr BoysSmith
(in his letter) makes evident, that Ms Fernandes made no representations
on behalf of Mrs Matin. I am altogether at a loss to know why
Mrs Filkin herself continues to mislead the Committee on matters
of fact. If she, in the face of weightier evidence to the contrary,
seeks to highlight a phone call made in 1997, (and there is no
certainty that it was actually Ms Fernandes who made this call,
but even if it was), there is no way the Home Office or anyone
else would regard this one call as a 'representation'except,
it seems, Mrs Filkin,
During the last inquiry Ms Fernandes told the
Committee that the list she provided of payments over a £1,000
was complete. However, when she sent the list to the Chairman
during this inquiry she stressed that the list should not be considered
This is untrue. When Ms Fernandes and Mr Pathan saw
Mr Sheldon and Mr Sandall (Mrs Filkin was not present at that
meeting) the list was headed: 'Payments in the knowledge of the
Directors'. She went on to remind the Chairman:
"This list was not complete."
It is the final version of the Committee Report of
9 March which incorrectly states that she said it was complete.
This is yet another example of Mrs Filkin interpreting
the facts in a way which is highly critical of witnesses supporting
"Mr Pathan who was delegated by Ms Fernandes
to provide me with information said that no payment had been made
to Mapesbury Communications by the Hinduja brothers and only acknowledged
such a payment when reminded by me."
This is not true. Where is the reference to this?
Mrs Filkin is aware that Mr Pathan had nothing to do with the
Hinduja brothers as he was not working for MAPESBURY in 1995 when
the event took place. Let us be clear, the Hinduja brothers did
not make a donation to Mapesbury. The donation was made by the
Foundation for the purposes mentioned, and has been documented.
"... said that he had booked the conference
venue at the New Connaught Rooms when he had not."
Mrs Filkin is once again not being accurate. She
said to Mr Pathan that Mapesbury Communications had booked the
venue (which she knew to be an inaccurate statement) and he corrected
her and said it was not true. Her actual words were that she believed
that Mapesbury Communications had booked the event. It had not.
"... have a clear impression that Coleridge
House was unknown to him by saying it meant nothing to him when
he had attended meetings there."
This is also inaccurate. Mrs Filkin said to him that
Mapesbury was connected to Coleridge House, which was not a correct
statement (see section on Mr Pathan).
"Gave misleading information about the winding
up of Mapesbury."
This is inaccurate. Mr Pathan contacted the accountants
at Mrs Filkin's request and informed her that there was no stop
on the winding up. The information she received from The Telegraph
was wrong, as the stop had been lifted.
"Over and above such instances I am concerned
that Mr Vaz has given me some inaccurate information about complainants
or witnesses which might have misled us as to their motives or
credibility. For example, Mr Vaz maintained that Mr Peene was
not a civil servant at the time of the meeting about which Mr
Peene who was a civil servant had complained of."
My comments related to him being a civil servant
at the DTI and my understanding was that he was complaining about
the DTI. It does not relate to the Intervention Board issue as
I do not know what the Intervention Board is, and as Mr Peene
had not discussed the Intervention Board with me at all at the
meeting. I would not know whether it was staffed by civil servants
or not. The only issue I was dealing with was the issue of his
time at the DAI.
"Said that Mrs Gresty was involved in an
Industrial tribunal case against his wife, Ms Fernandes, which
was not true."
This was also inaccurate. Unfortunately, Mrs Gresty
did not disclose her solicitors' letters to Mrs Filkin. They are
specialist employment solicitors and the references to the proceedings
are set out clearly in the section concerning Mrs Gresty' s credibility.
I have now obtained for Mrs Filkin and for the Committee a copy
of all the correspondence, which I now release.
"Sought to discredit Mrs Gresty's evidence
by repeatedly referring to her period of ill health."
This is an inaccurate statement. Mrs Filkin herself
asked me for details of Mrs Gresty mental illness. I gave
her whatever information I had. I was reluctant to go any further.
I also described Mrs Gresty's attempt to contact my family, to
which she replied:
"I am very sorry to hear this."
I deal above with all the issues of Mrs Gresty's
mental illness. I have not disclosed it fully before, but I do
so now in view of Mrs Filkin's assertions.
Paragraphs obscured in the Annexes
When I received the draft memorandum there were a
number of pages that were blanked out. I have still not received
the unexpurgated versions. This relates to the following documents:
Meeting of 26 March (Annex i6)
Letter of 20 April 2001
Letter of l3 August 2001
Letter of 28 September 2001, para 57
21st March blanked out
Annex iil9 letter from Mrs Filkin blanked out
21 September (Annex ii64) blanked out
The criticisms of Mr Pathan are unwarranted and,
in all fairness, he needs to be given an opportunity to respond
to them before they are published.
On the 21 March, I went to see Mrs Filkin and gave
her a full explanation of Mr Pathan's role (see Annex ii17). She
followed this up on 19 October 2001, and I answered her questions
She has criticised Mr Pathan over the booking of
a venue, but the error is entirely hers as she puts the wrong
information to him (see above, and Annex ii59).
Later, in the same interview (4 July 2001), she again
unfairly criticises him, despite the fact that Mr Pathan is right
that there is no connection as she alleges:
EF: How is Mapesbury Communications connected
to Coleridge House?
HF: It is not
EF: It is not?
EF: That does not mean anything to you?
There was no criticism of Mr Pathan at the time by
Mrs Filkin. In fact she kept writing to him to thank him for his
"Thank you for your offer of further help
with this inquiry."(Annex ii6l)
On the 13 September: "I am grateful to you
for sending me your suggested corrections and information ...
Thank you once again for your assistance which I appreciate."
On the 25 September: "... may I thank you
again for the assistance you have provided and the time you have
given in the public interest"
Similarly, Mr Pathan showed his readiness to help
"Please let me know if I can be of further
help." (Annex ii67)
She replied on 8 October
"Thank you for your help. I hope that you
have an enjoy able period of annual leave" (Annex
She wrote again on 11 October (Annex ii72)
"Thank you for your assistance."
Mr Pathan to her on the 11 October:
"Please let me know if I can be of further
Clearly Mrs Filkin had ample opportunity over the
course of these exchanges to clarify with him any uncertainties
she may have had about his evidence. She went out of her way to
thank him profusely, yet chose to attack him in a document which
he would not see until publication.
I have dealt at length with the complaints that Rita
Gresty makes against my wife.
Mrs Filkin clearly shows bias against my wife. She
has used every opportunity to undermine her. Even when my wife
has given her clear answers and explained in detail her duty of
confidentiality to her clients and her need to abide by her profession's
Ethical Code of Conduct, Mrs Filkin still refuses to acknowledge
her obviously difficult position in providing details of her clients.
Mrs Filkin was clearly wrong to taperecord
my wife without asking her consent. This is a requirement of the
procedure which has been agreed by Parliament. In fact she has
breached this agreement on every occasion that she tapes a person
without first getting consent.
She persistently complains about the delay, even
though she knows all too well the ethical and practical obstacles
that exist in relation to obtaining the information.
"A period of three months is more than sufficient
to get authorisation from your clients (Annex ii73)"
Her insistence on having a reply by 19 October seems
pointless as she had already been told that the firm would not
In her letter of 13 October, Ms Fernandes spells
out the full position (but this is not quoted in the memorandum).
It is important that the Committee reads this in full.
"My Code of Conduct sets out my duty of confidentiality
in detail. It is fundamental to the relationship between solicitor
and client. The duty extends to members of my staff and exists
beyond the grave and is rarely overridden. All information including
the address of clients is confidential.... It is particularly
important to me as a solicitor married to an MP, and to other
professionals married to MPs, to be able to represent their clients
without fear of such information and clients' affairs being made
public property through the back door. I practised law for a decade
before I met my husband and I never discuss my clients with him."
From the start of the inquiry, Ms Fernandes has sought
to cooperate. Mr Sandall to Ms Fernandes on 27 March:
"The Committee appreciates the assistance
which you and Mr Vaz have provided to the Commissioner in her
On the 26 March, Mrs Filkin says that she fully understands
that she is acting in her capacity as a lawyer. Yet, she continues
to badger Ms Fernandes about her clients when she had the information
on 2 July, stating that such information was legally privileged
(Annex i125). Besides, Ms Fernandes' statement that: ". .
.My practice is completely independent of Mr Vaz", is supported
and acknowledged by Mrs Gresty, as well as by Mrs Gresty's lawyer.
Indeed, on the 2 July, Mrs Filkin makes an oblique
reference to Ms Fernandes' private practice, about 'Not wishing
to interfere in your affairs in any way and not wishing to poke
into your private practice." (Annex ii53). Moreover,
she herself claims to be "... grateful to you for your
cooperation with my inquiry."
And she appears to be willing to delete all references
to confidential matters:
"Please will you return to me the copy showing
which sentences / parts you wish to be deleted and making any
corrections, which you feel are unnecessary." 3 September
Mrs Filkin's attempts to obfuscate reached new heights
over the brotherinlaw issue. Ms Fernandes states as
follows: "I do not know to whom you are referring as I have
only one brotherinlaw who lives abroad and is not
a director of the company." (4 September) Mrs Filkin does
not even put the name of the person to Ms Fernandes. The gentleman
concerned is my brotherin-law.
And Mrs Filkin appears in some instances to show
a willingness to understand the nature of Ms Fernandes' action:
"I do not wish to jeopardize the proceedings you are undertaking
in any way. I would be grateful if you would indicate which matters
are covered in the transcript Please inform me when they are complete
(they are not). (Annex ii58)
Mrs Filkin states that Ms Fernandes "also fails
to be clear on the question of 'help' for Mrs Matin on her immigration
issue." Yet, her answers have been crystal clear:
EF: You have never done work for her?
EF: In any capacity? Thank you.
In spite of clear confirmation from the Home Office
(see Stephen BoysSmith's letter) that only Keith Vaz made
representation, Mrs Filkin still obstinately seeks to rely on
one call, purported to have been made by Ms Fernandes, which was
not supported by any representations, to gnaw at the overwhelming
evidence against Ms Fernandes' involvement in Mrs Matin's immigration
case. Mrs Matin, as Mrs Filkin is aware, had her own solicitors.
Ms Fernandes did not do any work for Mrs Matin and the telephone
call to the Home Office (if indeed it was made by Ms Fernandes)
would not count as that.
Winding up of company
The decision to wind up the company was made by the
Directors and it was communicated to Mrs Filkin by me. On being
told this, Mrs Filkin said to me: "I don't blame her "
(Meeting on 26 March 2001). She then attacks Ms Fernandes for
making that decision even though she agreed with it.
Conversations altered by Mrs Filkin
I would like to express my concern about the way
in which Mrs Filkin's personal minutes of meetings with her are
not an accurate account of the proceedings. For example, the comments
about Mr Zaiwalla were hers, not mine (26 March Annex i6).
There are other examples which I shall give to the Committee when
I give evidence on 15 January.
No memorandum of Mrs Filkin's is complete without
reference to undue influence. In this case it is hard to understand
what the undue influence is.
Ms Fernandes told Mrs Filkin in her interview on
4 July that she had commenced legal proceedings against
the Mail on Sunday. Mrs Filkin claimed not to have seen the article,
but I do not believe that she could not have done so, bearing
in mind her close connection with Ms Eggington who made reference
to it in her letter to Mrs Filkin of 25 June. It is difficult
to understand why Mrs Filkin appears to feign ignorance of it.
Ms Fernandes also informed the Chairman of the Committee
in her letter of 13 October 2001 about these proceedings.
Ms Eggington clearly did not reveal to Mrs Filkin
until 5 months after she received Ms Fernandes' solicitor's letter
that she was involved in those proceedings. When she sent in the
letters she was clearly hoping that the ongoing inquiry would
somehow protect her from these proceedings. Mrs Filkin says to
"I could not be involved in a court case
that was being run between two people even if both of those people
were involved in the inquiry ... I said to Mrs Gresty that of
course I could not comment on the contents of the solicitor's
letter because that which had or had not happened in relation
to that matter was not a matter for me."
The Chairman reminded me in his letter of the 24
"Nothing that is published is protected by parliamentary
I remain very concerned that Mrs Filkin keeps sending
me copies of letters that have been sent by Ms Fernandes' solicitor
to Ms Eggington (and copies of her replies) concerning a defamation
action related to the article on 3 June 2001. I believe that this
is a breach of confidence between two parties to a litigation
and it ought not to be sent to me. I am not a party to these proceedings,
and neither is the Committee.
Removal of confidential matters
There are a number of matters contained in the documents
which are of a confidential nature. Mrs Filkin has informed me
that she has already given the Committee her list of suggested
items to exclude, and that the Committee has the final say over
what has to be published. I understand from the Clerk that the
Committee will consider representations on this, and, on 15 January
2002, I will let the Committee have a list of my references for
them to consider. The Committee will appreciate that I have not
seen the conclusions and therefore cannot comment on any inaccurate
or confidential matters in them.
There is also a fundamental point of principle with
regard to defamatory allegations made about third parties, which
they have not seen, and which they have therefore not been able
8 January 2002 Keith