Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 60 - 79)



  60. Has anything that you have learned since then enabled you to decide whether or not, in your judgment, an impropriety occurred?
  (Mr Rafferty) I was reassured sometime later when I heard from the General Secretary of the Labour Party in Millbank that Kevin Reid had been placed on a full-time contract with the Labour Party some considerable time before the campaign began. But that is the extent of my knowledge of this.

  61. So you have not been able to form a judgment—going back to Mr Winslow's call—that he was reporting an impropriety or not; simply on a question of concern?
  (Mr Rafferty) I was very, very concerned. I was alarmed that this may be the case. But I have no access—either it happened or it did not happen, and I was not in a position to judge that.

  62. Is that still the case?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes, it is.

Mr Lewis

  63. Can I return to the work pattern that you describe? Did this close on Saturdays and Sundays? In other words, was it a seven-day week operation? I am particularly interested in the 7 o'clock start.
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes. In the last month we worked seven days, and if people needed some time off they took it.

  64. But only in the last month?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  65. Prior to that, weekends were not so much sacrosanct but not as busy?
  (Mr Rafferty) Usually a Saturday morning and some time on a Sunday, but not working the same amount of time.

Shona McIsaac

  66. This conference call where you were alerted to The Observer article. Who else was on that conference call?
  (Mr Rafferty) All of the special advisers, I think, without exception, certainly.

  67. Going back to the three people concerned, looking at various events here, there is a file (annex 1.5.4—you have been sent the papers, have you not), you stated in the telephone conversation to the Commissioner that as far as you were concerned Chris Winslow and Kevin Reid worked full-time for the Labour Party.
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  68. Yet, when I was going through the transcripts of your conversations with the Commissioner, you stated you did know that Chris Winslow did work—
  (Mr Rafferty) Several times during the campaign if I asked him to do something he said "Can I do that later or do it tomorrow because I have work to do for John Maxton?"

  69. How do you equate that? You felt they were working full-time for the Party, yet you have got Chris Winslow saying (I am looking at one of the pages of this transcript) "Well, I can't do that today, I need to do that by Friday because I have got questions to do for John Maxton." How do you equate those two—believing he was working full-time and yet often saying—
  (Mr Rafferty) I did not know the basis at all of any work that he was doing for John Maxton. All I know is that that was the case; that he said to me "I can't do that today" (this happened on several occasions) "I have got to do work for John Maxton."

  70. Did he say things like that to you in those last few frantic weeks, for example?
  (Mr Rafferty) I have no recollection of that happening in the last few frantic weeks.

  71. Also, you told the Commissioner that certainly Suzanne Hilliard was ill for some of the time. How does that fit in time-wise? Was that during the campaign, or was that prior to it? Was that during the last few weeks?
  (Mr Rafferty) No, no, it was earlier.

  72. Similarly, was it Chris Winslow or Kevin Reid who broke his arm?
  (Mr Rafferty) Kevin Reid broke his hand—a bone in his hand.

  73. Again, when did that occur?
  (Mr Rafferty) That occurred just before the last four weeks when the heat of the campaign began, because he was then unavailable. I am sure that was the time-scale, because he was then unavailable to work from 7 o'clock in the morning.

Mr Bell

  74. Mr Rafferty, you were clearly in the thick of things; you knew what people were doing and you knew how tired they were. In those four weeks, was there any possibility that any of the people named would have been able to put in, shall we say, an extra 20 hours' work for a Member of Parliament?
  (Mr Rafferty) That is very, very difficult for me to judge.

  75. Before that time, in the months before when you were working between 8 and 9 in the morning through to 6 in the evening, then maybe they could have worked weekends and fulfilled those obligations?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  76. So the critical time is those four weeks, and you cannot help us on that.
  (Mr Rafferty) I cannot say what people did outside—we worked extremely hard.

  77. They were really tired at the end of the day?
  (Mr Rafferty) We were all exhausted.

Mr Campbell-Savours

  78. You say you cannot answer that question, so you cannot answer that question. Are you prepared to say, or accept, that they may have worked 20 hours per week during the period we are talking about?
  (Mr Rafferty) Of course it is possible. I cannot take a judgment on that.

  79. Can I ask you about the circumstances in which you departed from the Labour Party's employment? I wonder if you could tell us that, because, as you know, there have been suggestions that you were, perhaps, a little uneasy on these matters. Is it correct to say you were dismissed by the Chief of Staff, by the former First Minister?
  (Mr Rafferty) I was not engaged by the Labour Party, and I was not dismissed by the First Minister.

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