Questions to the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP
from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
1. Were you aware, during the period covered
by the complaint, of the House of Commons rule forbidding the
practice of allowing Parliamentary researchers to do Party work
while being paid from public funds?
On Mr Kevin Reid
2. You will be aware of the statement by
Paul McKinney, the then Director of Communications in Scotland,
that he heard you say to Party officials "My boy Kevin isn`t
doing anything; he could come and help", or words to that
effect. In your statement to me you give your account of what
these words meant. I have now received from Mr Nelson a record
of a conversation between him and Mr McKinney (the substance of
which is confirmed in the transcript of the later taped conversation)
in which Mr McKinney also attributes to you the words "I
will pay for him" (ie your son). Could you please explain,
in detail, the circumstances in which you made this remark and
what you meant by the words "I will pay for him"?
3. You state that when you said that your
son could work for the Party as well as for you, you indicated
that you would obtain funding from Party sources. How exactly
did you do thiswasn`t the Party strapped for cash at the
4. You accept that it was at your insistence
that your son was switched to a full-time Party contract from
October 1998. You say in your statement that it would have been
`wrong in principle` not to have done this. In what sense would
it have been wrong in principle?
5. Mr Rowley says that you telephoned him
several times to express concern about Kevin`s position, in the
particular context of the press criticism of the Conservatives`
alleged misuse of Parliamentary researchers and indeed, Mr Rowley
adds that you even faxed him a copy of one such newspaper article.
Is this true?
6. Mr Rowley told Jonathan Upton that "these
staff were funded partly from Westminster research funds";
he explained to Jonathan Upton "why Kevin Reid needed to
be put onto a full-time salary" and he told him [Mr Upton]
"what John Reid was concerned about". What do you understand
Mr Rowley to mean when he describes your son`s position in these
7. Mr Rowley says that you made it clear
you wanted your son to be on the Party`s books full-time but that
his researcher`s salary would be available to continue funding
campaigning activities. Is this true?
8. Did you also discuss the matter with
Ms Margaret Macdonagh and did this lead to your instruction to
Mr Rowley to transfer your son to a full-time Party contract?
9. In the summer of 1999, shortly after
the Scottish Parliament elections, a conference call took place,
involving all the special advisers in the new Executive, in which
I understand Mr Rafferty was told by Mr Winslow about his (Mr
Winslow`s) concern about his employment arrangements during the
election campaign. Mr Rafferty says he understood Mr Winslow to
be implying that a breach of House of Commons rules had occurred,
in that his work for the Party had overlapped with (and presumably
displaced) his work for Mr Maxton. Were you aware of this conversation?
If so, what did you do about it?
10. Mr Rafferty says he reported the gist of
his conversation with Mr Winslow to Mr Donald Dewar. Were you
aware of this and did you discuss the matter with the First Minister?
11. Mr Rafferty says his impression was that
your son worked full-time for the Party for at least part of the
campaign, that both he and Mr Winslow "worked very, very
long hours", and that this coincided at least in part, with
the period when he was being paid as a House of Commons researcher.
What is your response to Mr Rafferty`s assertion?
12. Mr Rowley says that your son worked for the
Party from very early in the morning until 1.30-2.00pm, and that
this was "certainly a full-time shift". Mr Sullivan
bears out Mr Rafferty`s claim about the hours put in by your son
for the Party. Mr Rowley adds that he believes that, prior to
October 1998, "Kevin Reid worked full-time for the Party
on a salary which was half funded by the Party and half funded
by John Reid". What is your response to this?
13. Mr Rowley says you knew perfectly well, indeed
you suggested it, that your son would be available to the Party
full-time but that he would continue to draw his Parliamentary
researcher`s salary. Is this true?
14. Given that your son was working extremely
long hours for the Party, how could he possibly fulfil his obligations
to you as well? How did he arrange his time in order to do this?
15. How far did Party work and Parliamentary
work overlap and how can you be sure that Party work was not being
done under the guise of Parliamentary work?
16. In his own statement, your son says that
you did not have a special adviser, but that "if any political
work needed to be done then he would ask me [ie your son] to do
it". What kind of political work was your son referring to
here? Did this not blur the distinction which is meant to be drawn
between Parliamentary work and work of a party political nature?
On Ms Suzanne Hilliard
17. Ms Hilliard says she would work at home for
you on constituency issues in the mornings before going to Delta
House for the afternoon media monitoring shift. How exactly did
she operate from home?
18. Ms Hilliard has stated that main method of
communicating with you was by telephone. Presumably, therefore,
she claimed reimbursement from you of the cost of the telephone
calls. Did you authorise expenses claims from Ms Hilliard, either
for telephone calls or other expenses? If so, would you provide
documentary evidence of this if it is available.
19. Mr Rowley says that, as was the case with
your son, Ms Hilliard was working full-time for the Party and
indeed, in her own words, was "under extreme pressure"
(an impression confirmed by both Mr Rafferty and Mr Sullivan),
whilst she was drawing a part-time salary from you. He adds that
it was known at the time that your "research money was available
for Party work". Mr Sullivan claims Ms Hilliard told him
that her salary was being "made up from different sources".
What is your response to these claims?
20. Given the long hours she was working for
the Party how could Ms Hilliard carry out her Parliamentary duties
as well? Must there not inevitably have been a lot of overlap
between the two?
Scottish Labour Party (SLP) Budget Projections
21. Mr Rowley says that the SLP`s budget papers
"took account of the researchers` money". He also says,
that the SLP`s budgetary projections changed in October 1998,
in that the projected monthly salary payments from the Party to
Mr Reid and Mr Winslow fell by an amount broadly equal to the
sum they were known to be receiving from the House of Commons.
(For example, Mr Winslow`s initial projected monthly salary was
reduced from £1,100 to £550 at a time when he was also
receiving £550 from the Fees Office. Mr Reid`s initial projected
monthly salary was reduced from £1,100 to £366 at a
time when he was receiving £850 from the Fees Office). How
do you account for these figures, unless an assumption was being
built into the SLP`s budget that Mr Reid`s and Mr Winslow`s Party
salary was going to be topped up by their Parliamentary researcher`s
22. How do you explain notes 7 and 8 in the document
headed "Scottish Labour Party Briefing Note", which
appears to indicate some connection between the salary paid by
the Party to Mr Reid and Mr Winslow and the salary they were receiving
from the Fees Office (" income of £10,000 from
J. Reid MP")?
23. Did you ever have any discussions with any
person at the SLP headquarters about the preparation of their
budgetary projections and, in particular, about the change to
the figures which occurred in October 1998? If so, please give
24. Mr Rowley says that during the campaign none
of the three researchers in question "had any spare time
at all". Mr Sullivan states that everyone involved in the
campaign was working a 12 or 14 hour day and that he personally
could not have done another job on top of that. Mr Rafferty agrees.
So that I can be clear about this, does it remain your position,
despite what Mr Rowley, Mr Rafferty and Mr Sullivan say, that
both your son and Ms Hilliard fully met their obligations as your
researchers during whatever hours were left after their Party
25. Both your son and Ms Hilliard received a
bonus of some £406 for extra work during the campaign period.
This was calculated, in your son`s case, on the basis of at least
25 additional hours, over and above his contractual obligations
to the Party. (Although Ms Hilliard was not under a contract with
the Party, the award to her reflected a similar extra effort).
How does this square with your previous answer in relation to
Ms Hilliard (assuming that you are still of the view that she
completely fulfilled her contractual obligations as a Parliamentary
researcher at all times)?
26. Are you prepared to say to the Standards
and Privileges Committee, on oath if necessary, that you have
never knowingly allowed public funds, in the form of Parliamentary
researchers` salaries, to be misused for party political purposes?
27. Mr Rowley claims you told him that if he
gave me any evidence of wrong-doing he could face criminal prosecution
and risk not being adopted by the Party as a candidate. This is
a very serious allegation. Is this true? Did you have any conversation
with Mr Rowley which in any way resembled his account of it? If
so, please give the dates and the substance of the conversation(s).
28. Have you discussed with any other witnesses
to this inquiry, or approached them with a view to discussing,
any aspect of the evidence given, or due to be given, to me? If
so please give dates and details.
29. Where you have offered a different version
of events from other witnesses (such as Mr Rowley, Mr Rafferty,
Mr McKinney and Mr Sullivan) are you saying that your recollection
of events is better than theirs or is there some other reason
why their evidence conflicts with yours?
19 May 2000