Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP
This letter together with the enclosures form my
response to the complaint by Mr Dean Nelson forwarded to me by
you. The complaint to which I respond is that set out in the copy
e-mail dated 27 January 2000 forwarded with your letter of 27
The enclosed materials are provided to you to enable
you to make your decision in respect of the complaint. As they
contain personal data including medical matters I am providing
them to you on the understanding that they will remain confidential
unless I agree otherwise.
I reject the complaint made against me as untrue
and invite you to hold that no prima face case exists.
The essence of the complaint is stated as being that
I used the Westminster allowance to pay salaries to full-time
campaigners in Labour`s Scottish Parliament election campaign.
The alleged "full-time campaigners" in my case are Kevin
Reid and Suzanne Hilliard. I am informed that the "evidence"
provided to you by Mr Nelson is confined to the contents of his
It is alleged that Kevin worked full-time for the
Labour Party from May 1998. That is untrue. He worked for me on
a part-time basis until October 1998. The basis for the allegation
is the assertion derived from what Mr Nelson "believes".
Mr Nelson offers no evidence that Kevin did not work for me in
the period May 1998-October 1998. He cannot do so. As you will
see from my statement and that of Kevin, Kevin carried out his
contractual responsibilities to me until taking up a full-time
position with the Labour Party in October 1998. Those responsibilities
were over what was described as "20 hours/variable per week."
Suzanne replaced Kevin as my researcher in November
1998 after Kevin had taken up full-time employment with the Labour
Party. The complaint states she worked full-time for the Labour
Party. She did not do so. She carried out her contractual responsibilities
to me with the same time commitment as Kevin. Again Mr Nelson
does not offer to prove that Suzanne did not work for me. Mr Nelson
asserts that "many senior Labour officials and politicians
can confirm the truth" of his allegations. You will detect
from the statements independently obtained from Kevin and Suzanne
that they explain why they do not accept the allegations. It is
perhaps interesting to speculate how these many people would know
what Kevin and Suzanne were in fact doing each and every day,
presumably from May-October 1998 in Kevin`s case and from November
1998-May 1999 in Suzanne`s case.
You may be unaware that Mr Nelson has in the last
four months acted as follows:
(i) He attempted to entrap Kevin using hidden
cameras on an accusation of influence peddling. Kevin was cleared
of any impropriety by the Standards Committee of the Scottish
(ii) He sought to allege that Kevin`s wedding
reception was subsidised at public expense. This baseless allegation
was stopped (by his editor?) prior to publication in the Observer.
(iii) He alleged Kevin had received confidential
information from the Scottish Finance Minister. This was refuted
by, inter alia, journalists who pointed out the alleged confidential
information was in fact already in the public domain and had been
the subject of a headline news item prior to the alleged leak.
In this case the only individuals who truly know
what occurred are Kevin, Suzanne and I. You have statements from
all three of us. These statements are given in all seriousness.
They all reject the basis of Mr Nelson`s allegation in a reasoned
and specific manner.
By contrast the allegation against me is an assertion
by a person without direct knowledge and without access to the
means for direct knowledge. To find a prima facie case against
me in such circumstances would be to doubt the veracity of the
three persons giving you statements on the basis of third party
allegations. I urge you to hold that no prima facie basis to the
complaint exists and so to report to the Select Committee. I trust
I will be forwarded a copy of your decision with reasons in due
14 February 2000