Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 202

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr John McLaren, Policy Unit, Scottish Executive

Thank you for your letter of 10 April on this subject. I am of course happy to co-operate as fully as I can on this matter. However, before answering your specific questions I think it would be worthwhile outlining the general circumstances under which I was working for the Labour over the period June 1998-May 1999.

First of all I should make it clear that at no point in my period of employment did I have formal management responsibility for any other member of staff. Any issues relating to employment terms and conditions, staff appraisal or workplans were outside my remit. Basically I worked on my own areas of interest, receiving assistance, as required, from fellow members of staff. One of these assistants was Chris Winslow. However, he also worked in other areas and with other people, and I was largely unaware of the precise details of much of this work. Over the year the amount of time I spent working with Chris varied, although I would say that at no time would our work account for more than 50% of his time in the office, and often far less. In general therefore, and I think this was the gist of you enquiry, at no point did I think that in Chris I had a full-time employee working for me.

In response to your specific questions:

1.  I was never officially Chris Winslow`s line manager. Equally I was not aware of his employment arrangements other than that he was employed by John Maxton. In terms of his hours worked, I do not know what his official hours were. It would be difficult to estimate his actual hours when we worked in Keir Hardie House as we worked in different offices. At Delta House he worked at least 40 hours a week, usually more, particularly as the campaign developed and the election approached. (These hours exclude any work done at home, which I believe was often substantial.)

2.  I am unaware of what the rules and regulations are for such employment and therefore am not aware as to whether they were being breached.

3.  I am not sure what period of time you are referring to in relation to the "campaign itself", but I would find it difficult to expand much on the answer given to question 1 above.

4.  I have no knowledge of his employment arrangements.

5.  I have no knowledge of any bonus arrangements.

6.  Chris undoubtedly impressed many of his fellow workers and politicians with the quantity and quality of his work. However, I am not aware that his employment arrangements during the campaign in any way affected his future employment as a special adviser.

7.  I have no further information which I would wish to add.

If you require any further information or would like to follow up any of the points made here please contact me in writing or by telephone.

28 April 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 22 December 2000