Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 120 - 139)



  120. So no-one has taken over the post that you know of?
  (Mr Rafferty) Never. We agreed and we both found the decision extremely difficult. After I went I started work in January and we continued to be interested in each other's welfare. There was no question of bitterness or of acrimony.

  Mr Williams: Thank you.

Mr Bottomley

  121. I want to jump around a bit, I find it is the tidiest way of doing it. Whe`n bonuses were being paid to staff, were you involved at all in that?
  (Mr Rafferty) I did not know that bonuses were paid to staff.

  122. A change of thought. When you said that you knew that Chris Winslow was doing some work for John Maxton, am I right in saying that you did not know that Suzanne Hilliard was doing some work for John Reid?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  123. So in terms of your knowledge it was different for each of them?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  124. Do you know if the staff of any other Scottish Westminster MPs were working in the office that you were in?
  (Mr Rafferty) Not to my knowledge.

  125. With the knowledge you have now there was Kevin Reid, who had been working for John Reid and then was working full-time for the Labour Party, there was Suzanne Hilliard who you now know was employed to assist John Reid and you knew that it was Chris Winslow, but that was it?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  126. I think you told the Commissioner, and you have told us, that the first time you became aware there was a potential problem was in a conference call that involved Chris Winslow in, I think, June which was after the election?
  (Mr Rafferty) In September.

  127. How many others might have been involved in that conference call and who initiated it?
  (Mr Rafferty) I initiated it and I think there were seven other special advisers on the call.

  128. Do you know whether either you or Chris Winslow have given the names of the others involved to the Commissioner?
  (Mr Rafferty) I cannot recall. It is a matter of record, I think, all of the advisers were on the call.

  129. At some point in the discussion with the Commissioner I think you talked about the First Minister saying in effect he would be careful about the possibility of someone paid for by public funds doing party work. Am I right in saying that the interpretation of that is basically if someone was paid for by the public funds doing party work funded by that rather than doing one and the other separately?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  130. I just want to make sure that there is no ambiguity. I had assumed that from the sense of what you were saying but it was not clear from the words themselves. If he had employed somebody, say, part-time who was also giving other parts of their time paid or unpaid to party work, that would have been acceptable, it was just make sure that no-one was being paid by public funds actually to do party work?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  131. I am just trying to get you to give a report some time afterwards about the sort of feeling you had. When the issue came up in the call with Chris Winslow, which as I understand it was prompted by what was going on in a different party, and in effect it raised the issue, what made you concerned about what may or may not have been thought or said about the Labour Party or about the Labour Party arrangements? Was it a call from a journalist or was it just saying "if other people may have been doing things that do not stand up to scrutiny, have we?" Were you enquiring or were you telling people?
  (Mr Rafferty) I did not follow that.

  132. When the call was initiated in September—
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  133. Did you think that the Labour Party had been doing something wrong or did you think that the media were likely to make mischief even though there was not the foundation?
  (Mr Rafferty) I suppose both but my alarm stemmed from the fact that it may have been the case that impropriety took place.

  134. If impropriety had taken place, who would have known?
  (Mr Rafferty) I suppose the people who had engaged the party workers and the party workers themselves.

  135. Just taking it one stage further, if people had intended what one might call impropriety in some sense, but in practice what they had intended had not happened and people had been able to work, let us say full-time, whatever that may mean, and had also managed to get in some work for their Member of Parliament, that would then just leave a problem rather than an actual impropriety?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

Shona McIsaac

  136. How did you feel about some of the headlines that were appearing in the Daily Record when you left your job for the First Minister? I am thinking of headlines that said "Donald's lying aide sacked". What did you feel when you read that?
  (Mr Rafferty) Oh, there had been so many articles written. I suppose special advisers were a very unknown breed to the Scottish press. There had been so many stories written from my appointment on 17 May until that. Of course I was deeply hurt by these headlines but life moved on very quickly.

  137. Where did you feel some of these stories came from?
  (Mr Rafferty) I have no idea. I have tried to discipline myself not to speculate.

  138. Finally, as regards working for the Labour Party, whether you are a volunteer, paid member, staff, part-timer, whatever, you would agree, or I hope you would agree, that it is not a nine to five, five days a week type of job.
  (Mr Rafferty) Absolutely.

  139. Especially in the run-up to a campaign?
  (Mr Rafferty) Absolutely.

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