Memorandum submitted by the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Complaint against Dr John Reid and Mr John Maxton
Was Mr Reid working full-time for the Labour Party
during the period when he was employed as Dr Reid`s Parliamentary
77. Mr Alex Rowley, General Secretary of the
Scottish Labour Party from May 1998 to May 1999, told me that
in his opinion Kevin Reid was working full-time for the Labour
Party from April 1998 onwards (Annex 129, Q 3). He added that
when he arrived in the office at about 7.45 am. Mr Reid would
already be there and that he stayed until between 1.30 pm and
2.00 pm. This impression was confirmed by both Mr John Rafferty,
the Labour Party Campaign Co-ordinator between January and May
1999 (Annex 151, p.6), and Mr Willie Sullivan, the Labour Party`s
Scottish Development Officer between August 1998 and December
1999 (Annex 172, p.3). The evidence of Ms Lesley Quinn, then Assistant
General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party, differed as to
Mr Reid`s normal departure timeputting it between 11.30
am and 12.00 pm (Annex 179, p.6).
78. Indeed, Mr Rafferty went further, claiming
that Mr Reid was well into his work when he (Mr Rafferty) arrived
at 7.00 am (Annex 151, pp. 6 and 7) and that, in common with other
Party staff, he put in "very, very long hours" during
the last few weeks of the campaign. Mr Sullivan thought that,
within these unusual hours, the equivalent of a full day`s work
for the Party was being done by Mr Reid.
79. Mr Rowley`s belief was that in the period
from May to mid-October 1998 (when Mr Reid left his father`s employment),
his Parliamentary researcher`s salary was effectively being used
to top up his salary from the Labour Party. This, according to
Mr Rowley, reflected the reality of Mr Reid`s full-time commitment
to the Party. Mr Rowley added: "I believe Kevin Reid worked
full-time for the Party on a salary which was half funded by the
Party and half funded by John Reid" (Annex 129, Q 3). Ms
Quinn, however, disputed this assessment of Mr Reid`s hours, implying
that it did not amount to a full-time commitment (Annex 178, pp.
4 and 5).
80. Mr Kevin Reid`s response to these allegations
was that initially his work for the Party involved only a few
hours in the early part of the morning but that, even when his
duties were later expanded to take in the lunchtime media digest,
this still left the bulk of the afternoon for his Parliamentary
responsibilities. There was also frequently a gap in mid-morning
between the two tranches of media analysis which could be used
for non-Party work (Annex 85).
81. Mr Reid added that there was no connection
between any additional hours worked for the Party and his ability
to fulfil his Parliamentary duties: neither was a 9 to 5 job and
both contracts allowed for flexibility. It was therefore quite
untrue that he had not fully met his 20 hours a week commitment
to his father. Indeed the effort he had put in was "over
and above" this requirement.
82. Nor did Mr Reid have any reason to believe
that either of the other two House of Commons researchers mentioned
in the complaint had failed to meet their contractual obligations.
83. Dr Reid, for his part, described the complaint
as groundless and stated that his son`s performance of his tasks
as a House of Commons researcher had been "entirely satisfactory".
The terms of Kevin Reid`s contract with him had been fully carried
out and no breach of House of Commons rules had occurred (Annex
84. I wrote to Mr Reid to seek corroborative
evidence, whether in documentary form or otherwise, which might
support his account of the volume of work he did for Dr Reid.
I also put the same request to Dr Reid. In particular, I wished
to obtain examples of the type, quantity and frequency of the
material he produced for Dr Reid.
85. Mr Reid replied by saying that he had shredded
any papers relating to his work for Dr Reid and that therefore
it was for Dr Reid to provide me with any relevant material he
might have. Subsequently, as part of his full response to my written
questions, Dr Reid
supplied me with a folder of some documents which, he said, illustrated
the work done for him by his son. Neither Dr Reid nor Mr Reid
provided me with any other records such as diary entries or expense
86. The documentary evidence supplied by Dr Reid
to illustrate the work done for him by Kevin Reid consisted of
some examples, covering the period February to October 1998, of:
(i) press and media monitoring, both local
and national (10 examples)
(ii) press releases (20 examples)
(iii) ideas for, and drafts of, speeches (3 examples)
(iv) political analysis (1 example)
(v) other material (12 examples)
Was Ms Hilliard working full-time for the Labour
Party throughout the period in question?
87. Mr Rowley told me that, at least during the
closing weeks of the Scottish Parliamentary election campaign,
none of the three researchers "had any spare time at all",
and that Ms Hilliard had complained of being "under extreme
pressure" (Annex 129, Q 13). Mr Rafferty supported this description
of Ms Hilliard`s workload, in that she had worked on a shift basis
which was "quite arduous" (Annex 151, pp 8 and 9). This
certainly, in Mr Rafferty`s view, amounted to a full-time effort
as the campaign reached its height, when all the staff at Party
headquarters worked "lots and lots and lots of hours"
(ibid, p.11). Mr Sullivan also viewed Ms Hilliard as a
full-time member of staff who was not, as far as he was aware,
doing work for anyone else at the same time (Annex 172, p.3).
Ms Quinn`s recollection was that Ms Hilliard arrived at the Labour
Party offices at about 1.30 or 2.00 pm and stayed "until
early evening". She added that "nobody could say she
was here full-time as much as Chris [Winslow] or Kevin [Reid]."
(Annex 179, pp. 5 and 7).
88. In response, Ms Hilliard denied categorically
that she had been available to work, or had in fact worked, full-time
for the Labour Party. She had done everything asked of her by
Dr Reid. That work had been carried out from home in the mornings
before she went to Delta House (the Labour Party offices). It
was therefore not surprising that no one there was aware of her
performing other duties whilst engaged on Party business: she
had not done so. There were no set times for either job and this
flexibility allowed her to arrange her respective duties for the
Party and Dr Reid so as to avoid any overlap (Annex 108).
89. Ms Hilliard maintained that this remained
the case even when, as the election approached, her commitment
to the Party increased to 6 or 7 hours a day. She said that although
during that period the number of hours she worked for Dr Reid
probably dropped to an average of about 12 to 15 per week, she
was still able to do everything he asked of her.
90. As regards the remark attributed to her about
being under extreme pressure, Ms Hilliard told me that at the
period in question (the run-up to the election) she was working
long hours (though not excessively so), sometimes late at night
and on her own. The task of media monitoring was important and
a high standard of accuracy was required. In that limited sense
she had felt under pressure (Annex 111, p.12).
91. Dr Reid supported Ms Hilliard`s denial that,
because she was working such long hours for the Party, she was
unable to carry out the duties for which she was employed by him.
He questioned how those who claimed otherwise were in a position
to know how Ms Hilliard managed her time in the mornings when
she was not at Labour Party headquarters. And Dr Reid pointed
to the fact that Ms Hilliard had carried outentirely to
his satisfactiona particularly heavy case-load of constituency
work during the period between December 1998 and June 1999 when
his office was understaffed owing to illness (Annex 8).
92. I sought from Ms Hilliard, as with Mr Reid,
corroborative evidence, whether in documentary form or otherwise,
which might support her account of the volume of work she did
for Dr Reid. I also put the same request to Dr Reid. In particular,
I wished to obtain examples of the type, quantity and frequency
of the material she produced for Dr Reid. Additionally in Ms Hilliard`s
case, I requested copies of both mobile and landline telephone
accounts which might show the volume of calls which she maintained
she made to Dr Reid whilst working for him from home, and of any
expenses claims she made to Dr Reid to cover the cost of the calls.
She had explained in her interview with me on 7 April 2000 (Annex
111, pp. 9 and 10) that she would page Dr Reid for him to call
her but that, "more often" he would ring her on her
mobile telephone. At the end of the same interview Ms Hilliard
agreed to provide me with the relevant telephone accounts (ibid,
p. 21). In a subsequent note she revised her original statement,
saying that it was "almost always" Dr Reid who made
the first contact.
93. Ms Hilliard has not responded to my request
to provide me with documentary evidence of her work for Dr Reid,
but he has included some examples in his formal submission (Annex
94. The documentary evidence supplied by Dr Reid
to illustrate the work done for him by Ms Hilliard consisted of
a few examples, covering the period February to October 1998,
(i) letters to constituents of Dr Reid sent
in early 1999 indicating that Dr Reid`s personal assistant was
off sick and that, at the beginning of February 1999, she was
working part-time only
(ii) examples of constituency correspondence covering 23 cases
during the period between November 1998 and June 1999, including:
(i) standard letters of acknowledgment
(iii) a letter from the Susan Hamilton Parliamentary secretarial
agency (who did Dr Reid`s typing) indicating that:
(ii) letters passing cases onto the appropriate Government
department or agency
(iii) letters informing constituents of any action taken
(iv) letters arranging or confirming meetings on constituency
(i) the agency kept Members` files for only six months
(ii) it was estimated that the agency had typed some 444 letters
for Dr Reid during 1999.
95. So far as the telephone evidence was concerned,
I wrote to Ms Hilliard again on 11 April (Annex 112) asking her
to provide the relevant accounts for both her flat and her mobile,
which she had agreed to let me have when we met on 7 April. She
replied on 18 April (Annex 113) indicating that she was unable
to obtain her telephone records for the period in question and
that the telephone at the flat was a payphone.
96. I wrote to her again on 2 May (Annex 114),
followed, in the absence of any response, by a further letter
on 15 May (Annex 116) asking Ms Hilliard urgently to provide me
with evidence in the form of her landline telephone accounts and
details of her mobile phone accounts which would corroborate her
account of the frequency of the communication she had had with
Dr Reid whilst working for him from her flat.
97. In a reply dated 12 May (Annex 115) which
crossed with my letter of 15 May, Ms Hilliard again told me that
she had been unable to find the information I needed. I therefore
asked her, in a further letter dated 23 May (Annex 117), to supply
me with the telephone number, the name of the telephone company
and the name and address of her landlord so that I could seek
to obtain the relevant accounts myself. Having received no reply
to that letter, my office telephoned Ms Hilliard`s solicitors,
to be told that Ms Hilliard did not know the telephone number
or the telephone company (Annex 120). In a letter dated 26 June
(Annex 123), Ms Hilliard`s solicitors told me the number of the
telephone in her flat, but stated that Ms Hilliard did not know
the identity of the account-holder, as the telephone was a payphone,
nor did she know the name of the company who owned it.
98. I wrote again on 27 June to Ms Hilliard`s
solicitors (Annex 124) repeating my request for the outstanding
information about the payphone and pointing out that I had had
no answer to my request for details of Ms Hilliard`s mobile telephone
accounts. I had at this stage already reported to the Committee
the difficulty and delay I was experiencing in seeking to obtain
information from Ms Hilliard and the Chairman wrote, with the
agreement of the Committee, to Ms Hilliard on 26 June (Annex 122)
emphasising the need for her to co-operate fully with my inquiries.
Ms Hilliard`s solicitors replied to the Chairman on 4 July (Annex
125) claiming that Ms Hilliard had now provided all the information
requested of herbut the letter omitted to supply the details
I still awaited concerning the mobile telephone accounts. Finally,
on 19 September 2000, Ms Hilliard`s solicitors wrote to me (Annex
127A) to say that Ms Hilliard had been able to obtain a copy of
her itemised mobile telephone invoice detailing calls made during
the period 4 April to 1 June 1999. But an attached letter from
the telephone company stated that itemised invoices for the period
for December 1998 to March 1999 were no longer available. In a
further letter dated 22 September 2000 (Annex 127B), Ms Hilliard`s
solicitors told me, however, that none of the itemised calls shown
in the invoice covering the period April-June 1999 were made to
99. My office checked with BT the information
provided by Ms Hilliard. I was informed that, while invoices from
November 1998 to March 1999 no longer appeared on their data systems,
invoice records from the start of an account were held by them
and an account holder could request copies (Annex 127C).
100. To date, Ms Hilliard has not provided any
other corroborative evidence, such as any expenses claims submitted
to cover the cost of the telephone calls she claims to have made
to Dr Reid.
Was Mr Winslow working full-time for the Labour
Party throughout the period in question?
101. Mr Rowley told me that Ms Annmarie Whyte,
the Office Manager, had declared Mr Winslow to be "available
full-time" for Party work (Annex 129, Q 3). Mr Rafferty certainly
regarded him as such during the latter part of the campaign, even
though, as he explained, Mr Winslow frequently worked from home
(Annex 151, p. 11). On the scale of effort put in by Mr Winslow
on behalf of the Party, Mr Rowley thought that he had done "a
very hard year`s work" (Annex 129, Q 3). Mr Rafferty`s perception
was that Mr Winslow had worked "very, very long hours"
and that he was frequently already at his desk when Mr Rafferty
arrived (Annex 151, p.7). This had amounted to a full-time commitment
"for at least part of the campaign", to the point where
it was difficult to see, in Mr Rafferty`s judgment, how Mr Winslow
could have managed a second job for Mr Maxton in the very limited
spare time available to him (Annex 154A, Q 1 and 6).
102. This latter view was endorsed by Mr Sullivan,
who estimated the time spent by Party workers on the campaign
at between 12 and 14 hours a day in the immediate run-up to the
election (Annex 172, p. 5). Mr John McLaren, who occupied a senior
position at Scottish Labour Party headquarters, estimated that
Mr Winslow worked "at least 40 hours a week, usually more"
as the campaign developed (Annex 202).
103. On the other hand, Mr Rafferty accepted
that Mr Winslow had, on a number of occasions, referred to research
he was engaged in for Mr Maxton. Indeed, he had sometimes asked
for latitude over deadlines for Party work in order to be able
to give precedence to his Parliamentary duties (Annex 151, p.
6). Mr Rafferty added that Mr Winslow had an "enormous capacity
for work" (ibid, p. 12). Ms Quinn`s evidence was that
Mr Winslow fulfilled his contractual obligations, both before
and after his hours for the Party were doubled in November 1998.
She later added, however, that it was very difficult to keep an
exact track of the hours put in by individual members of staff.
As the elections approached, the working day extended to early
evening"maybe 6 or 7 o`clock" (Annex 179, pp
6 to 8).
104. Mr Winslow confirmed that, during his initial
period of employment with the Labour Party, he worked a total
of around 45 hours a week on Party and Parliamentary duties combined
(Annex 101). After his formal commitment to the Party was increased
in November 1998, his weekly total of hours worked exceeded 50,
particularly as the election period approached. He had been able
effectively to compartmentalise his respective work for Mr Maxton
and the Labour Party, even though, for convenience`s sake, he
had often carried out both tasks from Party headquarters. Neither
commitment had impinged in a harmful way on the other. There had
been no overlap between the two, except to the extent that going
through the press for Mr Maxton meant that the task need not be
repeated as part of his duties for the Party.
105. Mr Winslow conceded, however, that during
the period of the campaign itself, there had perhaps been 3 or
4 weeks during which he had been unable to fulfil completely (in
terms of hours) his contractual commitment to Mr Maxton. In those
weeks his total effort for Mr Maxton might have fallen to 10 hours
instead of 20but equally, Mr Winslow maintained, there
had been weeks outside the campaign period when the number of
hours he had put in on his Parliamentary duties would have exceeded
20 (Annex 105, p. 9). Mr Winslow added that, by the time of the
immediate run-up to the election, he had accumulated a certain
amount of holiday entitlement in his contract with Mr Maxton (Annex
106. Mr Winslow acknowledged his receipt of a
bonus of some £300 or £400 for his services during the
election campaign. He said this would have been directly related
to the number of additional hours worked for the Labour Party,
although he had no idea of the precise calculation involved. I
asked him: "Was there any system while you were employed
in these posts, any of them, for accounting for the work you did
in any way, clocking on, clocking off, making a record, turning
in a time sheet, producing a list of evidence at the end of the
month to demonstrate what you had done on any of these jobs?"
He said: "During the short campaign we would note when we
were there ... I kept a note of the time that I was in. We were
asked at the end of the campaign .... about extra hours. I gave
an indication on my own notes of what hours I thought I had done
above my contract" (Annex 105, pp 17 and 18.)
107. Mr Winslow maintained, however, that he
had never worked on Labour Party business or campaigns during
hours when he was paid by the Fees Office (ibid, p. 20).
108. Mr Maxton explained to me that he was more
concerned that Mr Winslow carried out efficiently the tasks given
to him than whether he stuck strictly to a particular number of
hours (Annex 40).
109. I wrote to Mr Winslow to seek corroborative
evidence, whether in documentary form or otherwise, which might
support his account of the volume of work he did for Mr Maxton.
I also put the same request to Mr Maxton. In particular, I wished
to obtain examples of the type, quantity and frequency of the
material Mr Winslow produced for Mr Maxton.
110. Neither Mr Winslow nor Mr Maxton has responded
to my request to supply me with documentary evidence of the work
done by Mr Winslow for Mr Maxton. Nor have they provided any other
corroborative evidence, such as expense claims. Neither have they
provided me with the records which demonstrate accumulated holiday
70 See paragraphs