Examination of Witness (Questions 40 -
TUESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2000
40. Do you know who was the origin of the story?
(Mr Rafferty) I have no idea. I was very circumspect
with him and reported his calls to me immediately.
41. I am sorry?
(Mr Rafferty) I reported his call to me immediately.
42. I cannot hear you.
43. I was very circumspect and I reported his
call to me immediately.
44. To whom?
(Mr Rafferty) To the General Secretary, and asked
that she inform the First Minister that this inquiry had been
45. Do you think these things are abnormal?
You have followed this story, and I understand there is more in
The Herald in Scotland today. Is that correct?
(Mr Rafferty) I have no idea.
46. Is there anything abnormal about what is
happening? Does the word "normality" about all this
strike you as odd, or do you feel that these are extraordinary
developments that you feel may have taken place?
(Mr Rafferty) I could not say. I had never worked
in that capacity in a general election campaign before. I do not
47. I am still not entirely clear as to what
hours you would estimate these individuals, Hilliard, Winslow
and Reid, worked in the campaign office for, let us say, the first
three monthsJanuary to March, you have talked about, roughly
speaking - and then the final month. Could you try and pin that
down a little bit more for us, as to whether typically they would
be in the office originally from, I think you are indicating,
8.30/9 in the morning and then, latterly, from, maybe, 7 in the
morning? Typically, until when? Have you got some idea of the
amount of time that you were aware of them being in the campaign
HQ during these periods?
(Mr Rafferty) To be clear about this, Suzanne Hilliard
worked in media monitoring. They worked shifts, so that they were
availablethere was a great debate about this because previously
the first editions were not covered. So the system was developed
and the people engaged on media monitoring worked shifts. So she
would be there sometimes and not there at other times, until the
last month when, I think, she took over from Kevin Reid and was
there most of the time. In terms of Chris Winslow, I understood
him to work full-time for the Labour Party in the campaign, and
that was my understanding of Kevin Reid's employment as well.
48. From January onwards?
(Mr Rafferty) Yes.
49. You used the phrase "most of the time"
in connection with Hilliard. Could you be a little bit more specific?
(Mr Rafferty) I cannot, really. There was a group
of, maybe, ten of them taking turns at coming in late at night
getting the first editions and then coming in very early in the
50. Certainly in terms of Winslow, you would
use the term "full-time from January"?
(Mr Rafferty) Yes.
51. That would be 8/9 in the morning until whatlate
(Mr Rafferty) About 6 in the evening.
Mr Forth: Thank you.
52. Mr Rafferty, I want to ask more about this
conversation from Mr Chris Winslow. When you received this call,
did it start with this suggestion in September 1999 that he was
worried about his hours and the allegations that were being made?
(Mr Rafferty) The circumstances of the conference
call were that we had learned on the Thursday or Friday previously
that The Observer were going to print a story aboutor
were going to print allegations about -lobbying activities with
one of the ministers of the Scottish Parliament. The First Minister
had taken the view, as the minister himself, that this matter
should be referred to the Standards Committee. It was the first
event of that gravity. We understood that in the transcript that
The Observer were going to print, special advisers were
going to be named, so I organised a conference call on the Saturday
to tell the advisers that this was about to happen. It was during
that conference call that Chris Winslow raised the issue with
me and he said "I hope the newspapers don't now make mischief
of ... "I think these were his words"
... of the fact that I have worked for John Maxton and Kevin Reid
has worked for his father."
53. So when he said that, presumably, there
were two interpretations possible: one was that he obviously did
not want mischief to be made, but that may be mischief for valid
or invalid reasons.
(Mr Rafferty) Yes.
54. Did you distinguish whether or not he was
concerned that it was simply mischief for invalid reasons or mischief
for valid reasons?
(Mr Rafferty) I was not in a position to make that
judgment. I was very concerned that, perhaps, we had yet another
difficulty. So I referred the matter to the First Minister.
55. When you reported this concern on, I think
you said, to the General Secretary, did you give an opinion as
to whether or not it was a justified concern?
(Mr Rafferty) I am sorry. Just to be clear, I was
asked the question about the first contact from The Observer
newspaper, and that occurred a considerable time laterI
think in January. At that point I informed the General Secretary.
56. So not before then?
(Mr Rafferty) Not before then.
Mr Bottomley: January or June, The
(Mr Rafferty) January. Late in January.
58. If you had been concerned about impropriety
when you talked about mischief, would you not have, at that time,
passed on your concerns to someone more senior?
(Mr Rafferty) I did. I informed the First Minister
that this had been raised.
59. Did you express a view to him as to whether
it was a justified concern or simply a mischief based on invalid
(Mr Rafferty) I think, as I said clearly to the Commissioner,
we were not in a position to know the facts of this. I had no
access, I did not know who worked for who or on what basis they
had been employed, but the possibility of a serious impropriety
had been raised with me and I had reported that to the First Minister.