Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Statement of Ann-Marie Whyte (Re-John Reid) taken by D Sandison on 3 October 2000

I started working for the Labour Party in November 1992. My job was receptionist/accountant administrator. Since then my job has changed on a number of occasions and after the 1997 election I took over the duties of the Resources Manager and combining this with the responsibility for the accounts I became Office Manager. My manager was the General Secretary and I reported to him. The first Secretary was Jack McConnell and then Alex Rowley started in May 1998 taking over from Jack. The only members of staff I had direct responsibility for as Line Manager was the Admin Staff.

I met Kevin Reid when he started work here in May 1998. I had nothing to do with the Management of and taking him on. All that I do when new members of staff start is that I notify the wages department in London and I show them around the office and explain office procedures. The General Secretary would be responsible for taking on a member of staff such as Kevin and he would agree pay with them and the hours they work. I have no involvement in that except for Admin Staff. Kevin`s job was to do media monitoring. I remember that when I came in in the mornings he would be there before me, by 8.30 and he would leave around lunch time as far as I remember.

He was on a different floor from me and initially when we were at 1 Lyndoch Place. In September 1998 we came to Delta House which was all on one floor. I had no dealings with his terms of employment. His pay would go into his bank account, through the pay roll which is done in London. I did not really know what Kevin was doing outwith the office but I did know he was doing work for his father. Kevin would have worked for the General Secretary. I knew he was going to work full time in October and I wrote to head office about this. I was not involved in any discussions about taking him on full time. I just got involved with notifying head office of the details. We did not receive money from either John Maxton or John Reid to pay for either Kevin or Chris Winslow.

I went on maternity leave on 15 November 1999. I was not to be involved with the office during my maternity leave I received a letter from Miss Filkin in February saying that there was an investigation. Before then I had no real knowledge of anything to do with this although I had a brief awareness that there was some issue with Kevin, Chris and Suzanne. I have not seen John Reid since I came back from maternity leave on 1st June this year. I came back part time and was off work from 15 November until the beginning of June. Between November and June I only really came into the office firstly to show round Erin who was born on 7 December and then I had to come in to respond to the letter from Miss Filkin. Regarding any suggestion that Kevin was working full time for the Party whilst being employed part time for his father, I would point out that to be a full time worker you would need to be working office hours which are a core of 10-4 with flexibility around either end. Everyone in the Labour Party normally do more than their official working hours. I was not involved in discussions about taking on non Admin staff. It would be like me saying to my boss what he should do. At no time was I ever aware of or discussed any arrangement that Kevin or Chris would be working full time for the party but partly paid by John Reid or John Maxton. I also do not know of any suggestion that because of criticism of other parties in the press that Kevin was put on full time work.

I remember receiving the letter on 11 February from the Commissioner. I cannot remember if I was aware then of the investigation and John Reid had never contacted me. In fact John has never contacted me at all between 11 February and now. I have not spoken to him. Neither he nor anyone else has contacted me to give dishonest information or put me under pressure. At the time I got a letter from Miss Filkin on 11 February I was coming to terms with having a child. — — —. When I got the letter from Miss Filkin while on maternity leave I knew this would take time to sort out and I would need to go to the office to get the information she requested and make phone calls to London. It was just a hassle. I could have done without it. I felt that I should have been away from work and should not have to go back to do working things. I wrote to her on 28 February. I got info from the personnel unit in London. Despite my letter of 28 February saying I was on leave until June she wrote again on 19 May with very specific questions and again I had to go back to work while on maternity leave to find the information requested. I replied on 21 June because I had gone on holiday at the end of May.

I answered the questions relating to the accounts from my own knowledge and with some input from Millbank.

Regarding the mortgage application reference it was given in April 1999 when Kevin was in a full salary. I had spoken to Alex Rowley before sending the reference out. All that happened was the financial information was checked and a letter sent to the Building Society.

Regarding Suzanne Hilliard, she was here as a voluntary worker. I remember her being in but do not remember any dealings with her except for claiming voluntary expenses. I know that she was doing work for John Reid.

The only financial reference given for Kevin was the mortgage application reference in 1999 and there was no financial reference in May 1998. I think it is standard procedure that the reference comes to the employer and not the person in question otherwise there is a possibility that the information could be falsified.

I am very surprised that Mr Rowley had budget documents belonging to the Labour Party because we have a confidentiality statement which is in our contracts. I have had no contact with Alex Rowley since he left here.

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Prepared 22 December 2000