Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


APPENDIX 2

Memorandum submitted by Dr John Reid MP

RESPONSE TO MS FILKIN`S DRAFT REPORT, OCTOBER 2000

I have been subject to an investigation by Ms Filkin for almost 10 months. This investigation has proceeded on the basis of a complaint by a journalist who has previously and repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to attack the reputation of my son.

The complaint is baseless. It could have been answered effectively and expeditiously by answering by answering four simple questions.

1.  Were my employees prohibited by House of Commons regulations from engaging in other employment, paid or voluntary, political or non-political in addition to their work for me? The answer to this is clearly no, as the Fees Office would have confirmed if asked (and indeed have now confirmed to me—see Annex B).

2.  If not prohibited by regulation, were my employees precluded from carrying out their duties to me by the time spent on their other employment? The answer to this is also clearly no, as any preliminary inquiry would have shown, and as the evidence now shows.

3.  Is there any evidence—indeed even anyone who asserts—that my employees did not work for me? Despite almost ten months of the investigation the answer is revealed as clearly no.

4.  Is there on the other hand evidence that my employees did in fact discharge their duties to me? The answer to this is clearly yes, as the material provided, the evidence, the statements of my researchers and myself all prove.

Over the last ten months Ms Filkin`s investigation lost sight of these simple questions. For those 10 months I have tried to co-operate with Ms Filkin and restrain myself on the basis that she had a job to do and that as I had nothing to fear I would be vindicated at the end of her investigation.

Despite the considerable efforts I have made to assist and analyse the material and questions provided to me by Ms Filkin I am astonished by the terms of her draft report. I am not guilty of the complaint. During her investigation I made many requests for information and guidance. These were repeatedly ignored or denied. Facts within her knowledge and materials within her possession which were germane to my understanding of the case against me have not been revealed. Her report does not demonstrate any proof whatsoever that supports the essential facts of the complaint, viz that my researchers were paid by me but with the purpose of having them work not for me but for the Labour Party.

My concern that I have not been fairly treated by Ms Filkin caused me to instruct a leading Queens Counsel, James Goudie QC, to consider the approach and reasoning of Ms Filkin throughout the investigation. Mr Goudie QC concluded that no case against me is demonstrated on the balance of probabilities. Further her concluded that Ms Filkin`s report is "the shoddy outcome of a mishandled investigation". I enclose a copy of Mr Goudie`s views.

I also asked the firm of Chartered Accountants, Atkinson Donnelly, to examine the treatment of certain documents provided to Ms Filkin and said by her to suggest substance to the complaint. Their conclusion, shared incidentally by the House of Commons Director of Finance and Administration, is that the documents do not point towards my guilt but rather to my innocence. I enclose a copy of Atkinson Donnelly`s views.

Ms Filkin`s report is full of errors, misplaced speculations and real unfairness towards me.

I have provided a statement of why it is I am innocent of the complaint, materials covering points that have not been pursued by Ms Filkin and observations of where Ms Filkin has departed from an objective assessment of my case.

Plainly it is for the Committee to make up its own mind about the complaint. However if the Committee decides, as I urge it to do, to dismiss the complaint an issue of considerable importance to me remains.

Commissioner`s reports are normally published. If the distortions and inaccuracies of Ms Filkin`s report are published, it is plain that my reputation will suffer unfairly. If you are minded to dismiss the complaint I request that this flawed and unfair report not be published.

16 October 2000


 
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