Memorandum submitted by Dr John Reid MP
(1) Analysis of evidence and materials provided
with Ms Filkin`s draft Report.
(2) Commentary of Ms Filkin`s draft Report Section
Letter to the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP from
Atkinson Donnelly, Chartered Accountants
In line with your request, we have carried out a
review of the Scottish Labour Party budgets prepared in relation
to the Scottish Parliament Elections, together with a review of
the correspondence provided between Elizabeth Filkin and Alex
Rowley, correspondence between Elizabeth Filkin and Annemarie
Whyte, correspondence between Elizabeth Filkin and Jonathan Upton,
and finally, correspondence between David Doig, Registrar of Members
Interests, and Andrew Walker, Director of Finance and Administration
for the House of Commons.
The main points we would wish to highlight from our
review are as follows:
We would have to agree with the conclusion of Andrew
Walker, the Director of Finance and Administration who states
that "the SLP budget projections are consistent with an entirely
innocent explanation" (letter of 23 May 2000 to David Doig).
2. ALEX ROWLEY
In Alex Rowley`s e-mail of 20th April, Alex Rowley
cautions Elizabeth Filkin against becoming confused by the budget
papers. As Mr Rowley point out, the budget papers only show the
way money was potentially planned to be spent by the Labour Party.
Not the approved expenditure nor indeed actual expenditure.
In the e-mail of 20th April 2000 as well as pointing
out the above, Mr Rowley makes some dangerous assumptions and
conclusions which appears to be irrelevant. In the second paragraph
under Chris Winslow, Mr Rowley states "... leads me to believe
that he was being paid £550 per month from John Maxton."
The pertinent points are
1) The payment is surely acceptable if Mr Winslow
was carrying out services on behalf of Mr Maxton?
2) This totally innocent explanation appears
to be cast in doubt by nothing more than Mr Rowley`s assumption
which does not seem based in fact.
Mr Rowley also recognises that he is making assumptions
on payments being made from other sources and acknowledges that
he did not deal with the financing arrangements personally. We
would therefore conclude that Mr Rowley`s assumptions and suggestions
be discounted as by his own admission he was not in a position
to make informative judgements.
Elizabeth Filkin then on the 4th May and subsequently
on 12th May made additional queries of Alex Rowley in connection
with detailed questions relating to payments made to Chris Winslow
and Kevin Reid. Mr Rowley`s response opens with him declaring
that with the benefit of time to study the questions in detail
he feels that he is uncertain as to whether or not he can be of
any help to Elizabeth Filkin.
It is a result, inconceivable that any evidence from
Mr Rowley in connection to the budget figures could be of any
relevance whatsoever. Mr Rowley acknowledges that he does not
have the expertise, the experience, or the in-depth knowledge
of the particular circumstances to afford any credible information.
On 11th of February Elizabeth Filkin wrote to Annemarie
Whyte with 8 particular points relating to the contracts of employment
issued to Mr Kevin Reid, Miss Suzanne Hilliard and Mr Chris Winslow
together with specific points regarding their terms and conditions
of employment. Annemarie Whyte answered these questions in a letter
of 28th February 2000 with no significant points raised outwith
the fact that Annemarie Whyte intended to be on maternity leave
until June 2000.
On 19th May 2000 Elizabeth Filkin again wrote to
Annemarie Whyte outlining the questions raised with Alex Rowley
in the letter of 4th May and regurgitated in the letter to Annemarie
Whyte. In the main, the response of Annemarie Whyte was to stipulate
that the budgets produced, were precisely that, namely budgets
which would change as circumstances changed. She also stated that
Dr John Reid and John Maxton would in all probability have no
knowledge of the budgets and were indeed unlikely to even see
them. She also stipulates in her letter of 21st June 2000 that
the Scottish Labour Party did not receive any payment from John
Maxton or John Reid, nor did it regard itself as being subsidised
by either MP.
4. JONATHAN UPTON
There are numerous pieces of correspondence from
Elizabeth Filkin`s letter of 17th April 2000 to Jonathan Upton`s
final response on 16th June 2000.
On 17th April 2000, Elizabeth Filkin requested various
documentation regarding the employment of Kevin Reid, Suzanne
Hilliard and Chris Winslow. The information is provided in Jonathan
Upon`s letter to Ms Filkin on 19th April 2000 which replaced the
meeting scheduled for Thursday, 20th April. In a further letter
of 20th April, Elizabeth Filkin requested further copies of printouts
and recognised the "very proper request concerning confidentiality"
raised by Mr Upton. On the same day, the 20th April 2000, Jonathan
Upton wrote to Elizabeth Filkin and provided her with 11 printouts
by fax. In addition, in his letter, Mr Upton stated that he could
not "speculate on the authenticity of the documents sent
to you". Further, Mr Upton stated "I would want to repeat
my recommendation of caution in my earlier letter about drawing
any conclusions from this document which is, at best, of doubtful
On 4th May 2000, Elizabeth Filkin writes again to
Mr Upton stating that "... it seems particularly strange
that no record exists of a document which appears to be official
and which has been prepared on the same basis and using the same
style as the other two." Further in the letter, the same
points, which had already been raised by Alex Rowley in the letter
of 4th May and with Annemarie Whyte in the letter of 19th May,
are raised with Mr Upton. The same points in the letter of 12th
May 2000 to both Alex Rowley and Annemarie Whyte are further raised
with Mr Upton.
On 15th May 2000, Jonathan Upton responds stating
that the internal Scottish Labour Party working documents would
have regularly have been updated and amended. The fact that the
budgets would have been the responsibility of Alex Rowley, the
Scottish General Secretary at the time, was also pointed out.
As a result of this fact Jonathan Upton stated that he could not
answer the detailed questions put to him. On the 18th of May Elizabeth
Filkin requests information on the bonus paid, and this is provided
in Mr Upton`s letter of 23rd May 2000. On 25th May 2000 Elizabeth
Filkin requests Labour Party audited accounts containing the figures
relating to salary payments. In response of 15th June 2000 Jonathan
Upton gives his assurance that all labour party documentation
shows that the information already provided is correct. He also
speculates that his assurance should be sufficient for Elizabeth
Filkin`s purposes. In the response of 15th June 2000 Elizabeth
Filkin refuses Jonathan Upton`s assurance and reiterates a request
for audited accounts and threatens to report Mr Upton to the Standards
& Privileges Committee the following Tuesday. On 16th June,
Jonathan Upton responds stating that the individual`s salary is
confidential between the Labour Party and that individual. Whilst
he recognises the confidentiality he nonetheless agrees to breach
that confidentiality and provides photocopies to validate the
assurance that had already been given regarding the amounts paid
to Chris Winslow and Kevin Reid.
The above review leads us to question why Elizabeth
Filkin seems to have difficulty in accepting Mr Upton`s word.
Elizabeth Filkin implies in her letter of 4 May 2000 that something
is amiss, "Seems particularly strange..." and refuses
to accepts Mr Upton`s assurances indicated in the letter of 15
June 2000. Indeed in that letter she goes as far as to threaten
Mr Upton. We see no basis for her apparent suspicions.
However, when you look at the substance of the correspondence,
Mr Upton again advises Elizabeth Filkin that the budgets are working
documents (letter of 15 May 2000) and the responsibility of Mr
Rowley, and provides documentary evidence which supports the written
correspondence provided to Elizabeth Filkin. In short, Elizabeth
Filkin despite pressing Mr Upton establishes nothing untoward.
5. ANDREW WALKER
On 4th May 2000 David Doig of the Registrar of Members
Interests wrote to Andrew Walker, Director of Finances Administration
of the House of Commons. The request was basically that Andrew
Walker could assist in analysing some financial documentation
in connection with the current investigation into a complaint
against Dr John Reid and Mr John Maxton. In the fourth paragraph
a suggestion was outlined which was that the salaries of Mr Reid
and Mr Winslow would be topped up from other sources, namely the
fees office. There were a variety of other questions also raised
for the Director of Finance and Administration`s comments. On
8th May 2000, Andrew Walker responded to David Doig, the final
paragraph of which read "... in summary, the evidence we
have seen from our own records and our dealings with Dr Reid and
Mr Maxton is consistent with the proper and acceptable use of
office costs allowance".
On 11th May 2000, Mr Doig again wrote to Andrew Walker
asking to have a "brief analysis of both the innocent, as
well as the more questionable, interpretation which might be placed
upon them in the light of the main thrust of the complaint about
alleged misuse of public funds." A further letter of 16th
May enclosed some additional information and documentation to
be considered by Andrew Walker.
In Andrew Walker`s response of 23rd May 2000 the
Director of Finance and Administration stated that "the SLP
budget projections are consistent with an entirely innocent explanation
along the following lines: ...". The overall conclusion of
Andrew Walker was "in summary, from the documentation I have
seen, I remain of the view that there is no clear evidence of
wrong doing. Indeed, if anything I am a little more inclined to
favour an innocent explanation". On 26th June 2000 David
Doig, again wrote a further letter with a final response being
sent by Mr Walker on 28th June 2000 in which after considering
the facts Mr Walker concluded "I hope this will enable the
commissioner to progress a conclusion with her investigations".