Memorandum of Evidence relating to Mr
Kevin Reid, Ms Suzanne Hilliard and Mr Chris Winslow
I. Evidence not challenged by any witness
(i) Mr Kevin Reid
1. Between October 1996 and October 1998
Mr Kevin Reid worked part-time as a researcher for his father
whilst completing an LLB course at Strathclyde University. For
the period covered by the complaint (beginning with April 1998)
up to October 1998, Mr Reid was contracted to work 20 hours per
week for his father on a fixed salary with no provision for overtime
or bonuses. The job consisted of reading the Scottish press and
following the broadcast media in order to be able to provide Dr
Reid with briefings on political developments in Scotland. Mr
Reid also provided his father with assistance in drafting press
releases and speeches. This work was carried out either from home
or in the Strathclyde University Library.
2. Following the completion of his degree
course in May 1998, Mr Reid started working for the Labour Party
at its Scottish headquarters in Glasgow. His contract with the
Party was for 15 hours per week. The duties consisted of assisting
the media monitoring unit in producing a digest of the morning
press and other media output, which, according to Mr Reid`s statement,
involved attendance in the Party offices from about early to mid-morning.
Mr Reid`s work for his father (which he continued to do after
becoming employed by the Party) then had to be accommodated in
what remained of the day.
3. On 12 October 1998, Mr Reid switched
to working full-time for the Party and ceased to be employed by
his father. His place as his father`s Parliamentary researcher
was taken by Ms Hilliard. Dr Reid agreed to waive the usual notice
period and continued to pay his son from 12 October until the
end of that month. The Fees Office has confirmed that there was
nothing irregular about this practice. At the end of May 1999,
Mr Reid left the Labour Party`s employment and took up a post
in the media.
4. The following chart summarises Mr Kevin
Reid`s employment and academic commitments during the period between
April 1998 and June 1999 inclusive:
(ii) Ms Suzanne Hilliard
5. Ms Hilliard has been a Labour Party volunteer
worker since starting a degree course at the University of Strathclyde
in 1995. She has been particularly active since the 1997 General
Election campaign but, although receiving basic expenses, she
has never been an employee of the Labour Party. From September
1998 she worked in the Party`s media monitoring unit under the
direction of Kevin Reid. Initially Ms Hilliard worked on the morning
media briefing but later moved over to producing the analysis
of the lunchtime media output. This involved afternoon attendance
at Party headquarters.
6. At the start of November 1998, Ms Hilliard
took up her employment with Dr Reid, replacing Mr Kevin Reid in
his post as a Parliamentary researcher. As in Mr Reid`s case,
the contract was for 20 hours per week and, initially, the duties
were broadly similar. After a few weeks, however, Ms Hilliard
took on the additional task of assisting Dr Reid in handling his
constituency mail, following the illness of his constituency assistant.
All of this work was carried out by Ms Hilliard from home during
7. After returning to university in October
1998 Ms Hilliard attempted for a while to combine her studies
with both her work for the Party and her job with Dr Reid. This
became increasingly impractical and in early 1999 Ms Hilliard
sought and obtained from the university authorities a one year
voluntary suspension from the degree course.
8. After ceasing to be Dr Reid`s researcher
in June 1999, Ms Hilliard took up a similar post with Mr Maxton,
but at an increased weekly commitment of 25 hours.
9. The following chart summarises Ms Hilliard`s
commitments to the Labour Party and to Dr Reid and Mr Maxton,
as well as her academic studies, during the period from April
1998 to September 1999.
(iii) Mr Chris Winslow
10. After studying politics at Glasgow University
Mr Winslow took up a post as Mr Maxton`s Parliamentary researcher
on 1 June 1998 on a part-time contract for "20 hours variable"
per week. In the middle of the same month Mr Winslow started work
with the Labour Party in Glasgow, with a commitment to 15 hours
11. Mr Winslow`s work for Mr Maxton consisted
mainly of carrying out policy research, involving a mixture of
regular daily tasks, ad hoc requests for information and long
term projects. In fulfilling these obligations Mr Winslow worked
mainly from home, but also occasionally from Labour Party headquarters,
drawing as necessary on the facilities of the House of Commons
Library. In addition, he kept track of the local print and broadcast
media in order to be able to brief Mr Maxton on political events
12. The duties performed by Mr Winslow for the
Party included policy research and drafting speeches, as well
as contributions to policy forums and manifesto production.
13. In his statement Mr Winslow explained that
he spent most of the day at his Labour Party office where he worked
on both his Parliamentary and his Party commitments. In addition
he would work at home in the evenings and at weekends.
14. In early November 1998, as a result of the
increasing workload as the Scottish Parliamentary elections approached,
Mr Winslow`s contract with the Party was doubled from 15 to 30
hours per week, on top of his continuing commitment of 20 hours
per week to Mr Maxton.
15. Mr Winslow ended his employment with both
Mr Maxton and the Labour Party at the end of May 1999 in order
to take up a post as a special adviser in the newly formed Scottish
16. The following chart summarises Mr Winslow`s
employment and academic commitments between April 1998 and June
II. Evidence at variance with statements provided
by Dr Reid, Mr Maxton, Mr Kevin Reid, Ms Hilliard and Mr Winslow
(i) Mr Kevin Reid
17. Mr Alex Rowley, General Secretary of the
Scottish Labour Party from May 1998 to May 1999, told me that
in his opinion Kevin Reid was working full-time for the Labour
Party from April 1998 onwards. He added that when he arrived in
the office at about 7.45 am. Mr Reid would already be there and
that he stayed until between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm. This impression
was confirmed by both Mr John Rafferty, the Labour Party Campaign
Co-ordinator between January and May 1999, and Mr Willie Sullivan,
the Labour Party`s Scottish Development Officer between August
1998 and December 1999.
18. Indeed, Mr Rafferty went further, claiming
that Mr Reid was well into his work when he (Mr Rafferty) arrived
at 7.00 am and that he put in "very, very long hours"
on the campaign. Mr Sullivan thought that, within these unusual
hours, the equivalent of a full day`s work was being done by Mr
19. Mr Rowley`s belief was that in the period
from May to mid-October 1998 (when Mr Reid left his father`s employment),
his Parliamentary researcher`s salary was effectively being used
to top up his salary from the Labour Party. This, according to
Mr Rowley, reflected the reality of Mr Reid`s full-time commitment
to the Party. Mr Rowley indicated that the arrangements in question
were incorporated into the Party`s budget. Mr Rowley added: "I
believe Kevin Reid worked full-time for the Party on a salary
which was half-funded by the Party and half-funded by John Reid".
20. Mr Paul McKinney, the Labour Party`s Director
of Communications in Scotland in April and May 1998, told me he
recalled attending a series of strategy meetings during that period,
the purpose of which was to plan the Party`s approach to the following
year`s Parliamentary elections. A recurrent theme was the lack
of staff and resources for the campaign. In the margins of one
such meeting, according to Mr McKinney, Dr Reid had offered his
son`s assistance to the Party using words along the lines of "My
boy Kevin isn`t doing anything; he could come and help".
21. On this last point, there was some conflict
of evidence. Mr Nelson supplied me with a record of a conversation
he had with Mr McKinney in which Mr McKinney`s exact words were:
"I think his dad [Dr Reid] said `I will help you out. You
can have my boy and I will pay for him`". Later in the same
conversation Mr McKinney ascribed to Dr Reid the words "...
my boy`s not doing anything, he can come in and I will find a
way of paying him". Mr Nelson provided me with a transcript
of a taped conversation with Mr McKinney in which he confirms
the substance of his previous account.
22. Mr Kevin Reid`s involvement with the Party
overlapped with Mr McKinney`s for only 3 or 4 weeks, during which
time Mr McKinney said he had the impression Mr Reid was an unpaid
volunteer. He knew nothing of Mr Reid`s employment arrangements
and only discovered much later from the press that in fact, Mr
Reid was at that time being paid by his father as a Parliamentary
23. Mr Rowley, referring to the decision to switch
Kevin Reid onto a full-time contract with the Party in October
1998, explained that this had been done at Dr Reid`s request.
This followed several telephone conversations between Mr Rowley
and Dr Reid in which the latter expressed concern at press articles
criticising the Conservative Party for allegedly allowing Parliamentary
researchers to be used for campaigning purposes whilst being paid
from public funds. (Indeed, Dr Reid had faxed Mr Rowley one such
article). Dr Reid, according to Mr Rowley, had been worried that
unless his son were placed on a formal full-time footing with
the Party, he might be vulnerable to similar accusations. Mr Rowley
added that both Ms Annmarie Whyte (the office manager at Scottish
Labour Party headquarters) and Mr Jonathan Upton (Director of
Personnel at Labour Party headquarters in London) had been party
to this arrangement.
24. As Mr Rowley put it: " I discussed employment
with Jonathan Upton when creating the budget. I told Jonathan
Upton that these staff were funded partly from Westminster research
funds and I did explain to Jonathan Upton why Kevin Reid needed
to be put on to a full-time salary. I told him what John Reid
was concerned about". Ms Whyte informed me, however, that
she had not been aware of any discussions relating to the employment
of Kevin Reid, or of either of the other two researchers.
25. Mr Rowley stated that Dr Reid had made clear
to him that, after Mr Kevin Reid had been made a full-time Party
employee, "his researcher`s salary would be available to
continue working on the campaign". And he added that Dr Reid
had expressly raised with him in relation to his son the regulations
prohibiting the use of funds paid through the Fees Office for
party political purposes.
(ii) Ms Suzanne Hilliard
26. Mr Rowley told me that, at least during the
period of the Scottish Parliamentary election campaign, none of
the three researchers "had any spare time at all", and
that Ms Hilliard had complained of being "under extreme pressure".
Mr Rafferty supported this description of Ms Hilliard`s workload,
in that she had worked on a shift basis which was `quite arduous`.
This certainly, in Mr Rafferty`s view, amounted to a full-time
effort as the campaign reached its height, when all the staff
at Party headquarters worked "lots and lots and lots of hours".
Mr Sullivan also viewed Ms Hilliard as a full-time member of staff
who was not, as far as he was aware, doing work for anyone else
at the same time.
27. Both Mr Rowley and Mr Sullivan understood
Ms Hilliard to be receiving payment for the Party work. Mr Rowley
told me he believed "that Dr Reid`s research money was being
used for someone else after Kevin Reid had gone full-time",
though he could not recall the specific arrangements put in place
for Ms Hilliard. Mr Sullivan believed that Ms Hilliard`s salary
was "made up from different sources as well", but he,
too, was unable to remember the details.
(iii) Mr Chris Winslow
28. Mr Rowley told me that Ms Annmarie Whyte,
the Office Manager, had declared Mr Winslow to be "available
full-time" for Party work. Mr Rafferty certainly regarded
him as such, even though, as he explained, Mr Winslow frequently
worked from home. On the scale of effort put in by Mr Winslow
on behalf of the Party, Mr Rowley thought that he had done "a
very hard year`s work". Mr Rafferty`s perception was that
Mr Winslow had worked "very, very long hours" and that
he was frequently already at his desk when Mr Rafferty arrived.
This had amounted to a full-time commitment "for at least
part of the campaign", to the point where it was difficult
to see, in Mr Rafferty`s judgment, how Mr Winslow could have managed
a second job for Mr Maxton in the very limited spare time available
to him. This latter view was endorsed by Mr Sullivan, who estimated
the time spent by Party workers on the campaign at between 12
and 14 hours a day in the immediate run-up to the election. Mr
John McLaren, who occupied a senior position at Scottish Labour
Party headquarters, estimated that Mr Winslow worked "at
least 40 hours a week, usually more" as the campaign developed.
29. On the other hand, Mr Rafferty accepted that
Mr Winslow had, on a number of occasions, referred to research
he was engaged in for Mr Maxton. Indeed, he had sometimes asked
for latitude over deadlines for Party work in order to be able
to give precedence to his Parliamentary duties. Mr Rafferty added
that Mr Winslow had an "enormous capacity for work".
30. Mr Rowley`s understanding of Mr Winslow`s
position was that he "was paid part-time by the Labour Party
and he worked full-time for the Labour Party". And he added:
"He [Mr Winslow] was paid part-time by the Party and part-time
by John Maxton. This agreement was made between me and Annmarie
Whyte, and the budget papers which I was party to took account
of the researchers` money. I arranged for his [Mr Winslow`s] wage
to be made up to the level of Kevin Reid`s when he was taken on
full-time by the Labour Party".
31. As already indicated, Mr Rafferty was aware
that Mr Winslow was working for Mr Maxton whilst simultaneously
employed by the Labour Party, although he saw nothing, in principle,
irregular in that arrangement. But since during the election campaign,
in particular, it was doubtful whether either he (or Mr Reid)
could have performed their Parliamentary duties in their spare
time, Mr Rafferty believed that they could, during that period,
be seen as having been paid in part from the Office Costs Allowance
for carrying out work on behalf of the Labour Party.
32. Mr Sullivan supported this analysis; his
understanding at the time had been that Mr Winslow`s salary "was
made up from different sources". But his assumption was that
the source was not the Fees Office since he was aware of the rules
prohibiting misuse of Parliamentary researchers for party political
33. Mr Rafferty confirmed that shortly after
the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 1999, he had brought
together in a conference call all the special advisers in the
newly formed Scottish Executive to brief them on some impending
adverse press coverage of allegations concerning lobbying activities
in relation to the Scottish Parliament.
34. During the course of the conference call,
Mr Winslow had expressed the hope that the media would not "start
making mischief" with the fact that he and Kevin Reid had
for a while been simultaneously employed by the Labour Party and
by Members of the House of Commons as researchers. Mr Rafferty
had been left with the clear impression from the degree of anxiety
shown by Mr Winslow that "there may have been misuse of public
35. Mr Rafferty reported the gist of this conversation
to the First Minister, Mr Dewar. The First Minister had taken
the view that, given the problems already being experienced with
critical press coverage of other matters relating to the Scottish
Parliament and Executive, it might not be helpful for those involved
to engage in public speculation or gossip on the matter. That
conclusion was conveyed by Mr Rafferty to all the special advisers.
Mr Dewar told me that he had no recollection of having discussed
this matter with Mr Rafferty.
19 May 2000