Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 18

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP

I am continuing to review the materials sent to me.

I am bound to say that I have considerable difficulty in ascertaining the evidential basis for Mr Nelson`s complaint. I note you do not state any view on his soundness. (Please see enclosed.) However, all that he appears to have provided to back up his allegations is some material apparently from his conversation with Mr McKinney. The transcript perhaps shows Mr McKinney dislikes me but his words do not appear to support the complaint. Your interview with him again does not reveal support for the complaint. I should ask you whether you really intend to continue with this complaint against me?

What follows assumes that you will decide not to drop the complaint.

To assist me in producing what you wish viz. a complete response from me, it would be helpful if you would provide the following.

1)  Confirmation that you have heard the Nelson/McKinney tape and that the purported transcript is correct.

2)  Confirmation that the purported transcript of the "contemporary short-hand note" by Nelson is correct and that you have seen the note.

3)  Confirmation that I have been provided with all the material you state you "have received from others", and if that cannot be confirmed any other such material.

4)  Any further information relative to the Scottish Labour Party documents. I note you are awaiting clarification concerning these and as I have never seen these before information concerning their status and provenance would assist.

5)  The references in the transcripts for various statements that form party of the content of your questions. (Given the voluminous amounts of transcripts I have difficulty in locating these.)

    (i)  Q9—the reference for Rafferty saying Winslow implied a breach of House of Commons rules had occurred.
    (ii)  Q11—the reference for Rafferty saying my son worked full time for the party when he was being paid as a House of Commons researcher. (If this aspect does indeed refer to my son)?
    (iii)  Q14—where is it said my son worked "extremely long hours for the party" when he worked part time for me.
    (iv)  Q19—the reference for Rowley saying Ms Hilliard "was working full time for the party"
    (v)  Q21—the reference for Rowley`s explanation of the "SLP budget projections"
    (vi)  Q24—where do Rowley, Rafferty and Sullivan say that neither my son nor Ms Hilliard could have met their obligation to me during their employment with me?

6)  Confirmation that you do not expect me to research and answer matters relative to Mr Winslow.

May I remind you I await responses to my letters of the 30th of May and 2nd June. Again I should say a speedy response will facilitate preparation to my statement to you. I am at least as keen as you that this investigation be brought to a conclusion but you will appreciate I must know the full extent of what is apparently said against me in order that I may rebut the complaint if it is to proceed.

6 June 2000

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