Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 1 - 19)




  1. Thank you for coming along this morning, Mr Rafferty. We are examining the matters that you know about: the allegations against Mr Reid and Mr Maxton. The first question I have to put to you is what were your responsibilities as the Scottish Labour Party's Campaign Co-ordinator between January and May of last year?

  (Mr Rafferty) I was engaged by the Labour Party as a consultant co-ordinator to the Labour Party election campaign in the Scottish General Election. My duties included bringing together the main elements of the campaign, running the campaign co-ordinating group, identifying the main themes of the campaign and building up the election strategy.

  2. I should point out that it is not our normal practice to take evidence on oath, but, of course, we may require you to come back again and, in those circumstances, it is possible we may require such a statement on oath. You understand the implications for this meeting today?
  (Mr Rafferty) I do.

  3. So you believed that some members of the Scottish Labour Party campaign staff were having their salaries for Labour Party work paid in part through the office costs allowance. How did you come to this view?
  (Mr Rafferty) I am not sure that I did come to that view. I had no access or no knowledge of the basis on which people were employed or how duties were allocated between the various employments they may have had. It was some considerable time after the election campaign that it was raised with me in a conference call by Mr Winslow that that—

  4. By?
  (Mr Rafferty) By Mr Winslow, another special advisor in the Scottish Executive, that it may be the case that newspapers would have been able to make some mischief around the fact that he had been engaged by Mr Maxton, and he understood for some time that Mr Reid had been engaged by his father. I was very alarmed by this, but I do not have any access to the evidence which would show whether that was the case or not.

  5. When did you understand this was the arrangement made?
  (Mr Rafferty) Because that is what was reported to me in a conference call in September of last year.

  6. The colleague's name—for the record?
  (Mr Rafferty) Mr Chris Winslow.

  7. What do you recall of the remarks made by Mr Winslow during the conference call after the Scottish Parliament elections?
  (Mr Rafferty) The conference call related to another serious matter, which was that the following day it was to be announced that a minister was being called to the first Standards Committee of the Scottish Parliament. I arranged the conference call to advise the other special advisors of the circumstances. During that conference call, as I reported to the Commissioner, Mr Winslow raised—I cannot remember his exact words but it was words to the effect that he hoped that the newspapers, who were certainly very active around the issue of the Standards Committee in the Scottish Parliament, would not make mischief of the fact that he had been engaged by—or he worked for Mr Maxton for part of the time. His understanding was that Kevin Reid had also been—

Mr Campbell-Savours

  8. Forgive me, could you speak a little louder?
  (Mr Rafferty) I am sorry. I am recovering from a cold.


  9. So what discussion did you have with Mr Winslow about this?
  (Mr Rafferty) He raised it in the conference call. I was very alarmed. I had no detailed discussions with him thereafter, but because of my concern that perhaps some impropriety had taken place, I reported the matter to the First Minister.

  10. Did you go into the details of the impropriety?
  (Mr Rafferty) No, I did not.

  11. How did you come to the view that you held subsequently?
  (Mr Rafferty) He raised it in the conference call. He was clearly concerned. He said he hoped that the newspapers would not make mischief around the fact that he had been engaged by Mr Maxton and that Kevin Reid had been engaged by his father. I was alarmed by this, knowing some impropriety issues that may be involved.

  12. How did you know about the amount of hours that both Suzanne Hilliard and Chris Winslow were spending?
  (Mr Rafferty) During the election campaign I was there all day every day, and saw the work which they did. Everyone worked extremely hard.

  13. They were working with you in the same room? The same building?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes, they were?

  14. In the same room?
  (Mr Rafferty) In the same room.

  15. For most of the time?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  16. Give us a pattern of the sort of day you would have had with them.
  (Mr Rafferty) The day began, as the election campaign developed, around 7 o'clock in the morning.

  17. They were present at 7 o'clock?
  (Mr Rafferty) Kevin Reid was in the office when I arrived every morning between 7 and 7.30, having prepared the press briefing.

  18. You arrived at what time?
  (Mr Rafferty) I arrived around 7 o'clock. This was in the later stage of the campaign.

  19. Would you explain the sort of day you had?
  (Mr Rafferty) We would analyse the morning press from the clippings, prepare for a morning conference call, which was the strategy meeting of the day. Thereafter, action would arise out of that and, in the later stages of the campaign, we had a press conference every morning at 9 o'clock, which lasted for approximately one hour. Thereafter, on with the business of the campaign, preparing for the next day.

previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 22 December 2000