Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 27

Response of the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP to Complaint received from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards dated 27 January 2000 and Questions put to Dr Reid by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards dated 19 May 2000


1.    The complaint in connection with Kevin Reid (KR) is that he worked "full-time" for the Labour Party from May 1998 although he had only a part-time contract with the Labour Party and a part-time contract with Dr Reid. In other words it is said Dr Reid improperly subsidised KR`s "full-time" work for the Labour Party. Other factors Mr Nelson raises in connection with the complaint are that Dr Reid suggested this arrangement to Paul McKinney after a Labour Party Scottish Strategy Group meeting in April 1998 and that in October 1998 Dr Reid sought a change in KR`s employment status presumably to conceal the alleged improper arrangement.

2.    The relevant period in respect of KR is 25 May 1998 to October 1998. KR was employed solely by the Labour Party after October 1998 until June 1999. The complaint must show that KR did not carry out his contracted duties for Dr Reid during the relevant period. It does not do so. To find the complaint established it is necessary to disbelieve Dr Reid and KR. There is no basis to determine they are stating other than the truth.

3.    The material presented by the PCS is analysed to show KR`s hours in the relevant period permitted fulfilment of his contractual duties for Dr Reid, the context of what KR in fact did for Dr Reid and the circumstances of KR`s initial employment in 25 May 1998 and his subsequent full-time employment in October 1998.


4.1  The period of 25 May to October 1998 is the only relevant period arising in respect of the complaint. In November 1998 KR gave up his "20 hour variable" per week position with Dr Reid and thereafter worked solely for the Labour Party until shortly after the elections, viz. June 1999. There is thus no issue that Fees Office money may have been used to fund KR after October 1998. It is important to note that prior to May 1998 KR had in fact been working for Dr Reid for a substantial period of years.

4.2  Mr Rowley states KR`s hours in the relevant period as from before 7.45 am to 1.30- 2.00 pm with an earlier starting hour in August 1998. It is not clear how Mr Rowley can say this as he makes clear he was not in Delta House when KR arrived. (AR para 3) Mr Rowley shows the confusion that runs through the complaint that KR was working a "full-time shift for the Party and I believe Kevin Reid worked full-time for the party..." (AR para 3). He appears to imply that if KR worked the hours stated he could not carry out his duties for Dr Reid. That plainly does not follow. KR states his hours with the Labour Party in the relevant period to be (KR p.5) "Initially my hours for the Labour Party were around about 8 o`clock to 11 o`clock in the morning"; (KR p.5) within about 8 weeks (ie July 1998) it was suggested that we should catch the lunchtime broadcasts as well ... what I would do was do the brief from around seven, half past seven to nine in the morning. I would then have a couple of hours of my own ... and then I would return to the office ... to do the twelve to half past one slot ... and that would be my day over." At page 6 (KR), KR says "I was finished by about half past one, quarter to two." This represents a period of 3 hours per day May to July 1998, and thereafter 4 to 4½ hours from July 1998 onwards. Mr Rowley did not supervise KR nor does he say how he would be in a position to say KR worked "full-time" for the Labour Party. In fact Mr Rowley`s statement appears to support substantially KR`s statement of hours worked, although it appears he was unaware that KR had a break from 9.00 am to 11.00 am. It is Mr Rowley`s use of the term "full-time" and his perception that KR could not do his work for Dr Reid that is unsound.

4.3  KR`s statement provided to the PCS by Dr Reid in February 2000 with Dr Reid`s statement gives KR`s start date with the Labour Party as 25 May 1998, his contracted hours 15 hours per week, his daily hours as 8.30 am-11.30 am, leaving about lunchtime (page 2). This might thus be about 4 hours per day. He states he did not work full time with the Labour Party until October 1998 (page 3). He notes his total contractual hours prior to October 1998 as 35 hours per week (page 4), being 15 hours for the Labour Party and 20 hours variable for Dr Reid.

4.4  KR is to some extent supported in respect of hours worked by Paul McKinney (PM Q7) "Some days 2 to 3 hours, some days much longer". The qualification is unspecific. It is not clear however that Mr McKinney is talking about the relevant period as he left work with the Labour Party on 21 May 1998 prior to KR`s employment (PM Q1). In the "record of an interview" Mr McKinney is said to put KR as arriving at 8 am "but was around for the rest of the day". This of course is Mr Nelson`s note and not Mr McKinney`s words. The transcript provided by Mr Nelson is silent as to hours. Mr McKinney is not in a position to give any direct evidence as to KR`s work in the relevant period. In his complaint Mr Nelson describes KR beginning work in May 1998 "with Paul McKinney as his [KR`s] line manager." This is not borne out by Mr McKinney`s statement. It may be noted that the only direct statement from Mr McKinney is the interview with the PCS. The other material comes through the intermediation of Mr Nelson.

4.5  William Sullivan who did not start with the Labour Party until August 1998 (WS p.2) says of KR`s hours (at WS p.3) "... he was in the office for five or six o`clock in the morning and he went away early afternoon."

He does not say how he would be in a position to know KR`s hours of work. No-one else says KR was in the office at 5 am during the relevant period. Such an early start did however arise for a few weeks prior to the election when KR was working full-time for the Labour Party under his contract. In answer to the statement put to him "He did a full day`s work for the Labour Party" Mr Sullivan does not fully accept the proposition. He says "Yes; well, within those hours" (see WS p.3).

Mr Sullivan does say at WS p.6:

"... I did not really work that closely with any of them (including KR) because what I was doing was party organisation."

It therefore becomes clear Mr Sullivan was not in a position to know KR`s hours. Further Mr Sullivan does not state when he was present at Delta House for that part of the relevant period he was employed by the Labour Party - viz August - October 1998.

4.6  John Rafferty cannot of course give any direct evidence as to when KR worked during the relevant period as he did not start work with the Labour Party until January 1999. By that time KR was contracted to work solely for the Labour Party and had given up working for Dr Reid. Mr Rafferty (1/3/2000 p.7) is asked:

"I understand that Kevin Reid worked for the Labour Party campaign from May 1998 to October 1998 full-time; is that your understanding?"

He replies "I have no knowledge of that", which of course he did not. It is not clear on whose evidence the question relies for the assertion of full-time working. What is remarkable is that in the file note dated 6 April 2000 supplied to Dr Reid on 19th June 2000 Mr Rafferty is noted as saying "that as far as I`m concerned ... Kevin Reid worked full-time for the Labour Party. I believe it would have to be the case that for some of that time (his salary was) paid from Westminster allowances." When KR worked full time for the Labour Party he was paid for by the Labour Party. All Mr Rafferty could have known (as opposed to have speculated about) is the period after January 1999 when KR worked full time for the Labour Party and was paid by the Labour Party. It is curious why Mr Rafferty chose to speculate in this matter on 6th April 2000. It is nowhere explained why Mr Rafferty changed his prior statements at that date. No-one establishes KR worked full time for the Labour Party prior to November 1998. In the transcript of 18th April 2000 Mr Rafferty is recorded as saying KR worked full time. He is asked at para. 9.

"EF  Do you think it was the case then that for some of their time when they were working full time for the Labour Party, very full time, their salaries were being paid from Westminster allowances?

"JR  I can`t say whether they did manage to work in their spare time for the Members of Parliament. But if they didn`t then it`s the only logical conclusion." (Emphasis added).

The passage includes KR within "they". It would be a gross distortion to contend that this shows KR being paid by Dr Reid when he was working full time for the Labour Party. It should also be noted the time frame appears to be about April 1999 (see para 6).

4.7  There is no statement that reliably controverts KR`s hours worked in the relevant period. Not one witness has KR leaving after 2 pm during the relevant period. There is no statement that suggests that KR was not in a position to carry out his weekly "20 hours variable" of duties for Dr Reid. KR did in truth carry out those duties for Dr Reid.


5.1  The proposition underlying the complaint is that KR did not meet his contractual duties for Dr Reid and that the Parliamentary allowance was thus de facto diverted to cover his Labour Party work.

5.2  No statement reliably shows KR as working so materially in excess of his contracted 15 hours for the Labour Party in the May-October 1998 relevant period as to prevent him physically from working for 20 hours per week for Dr Reid. There was no motive to "subsidise" KR with Dr Reid`s allowance as KR was being paid by the Labour Party in respect of his contracted 15 hours. His actual hours worked for the Labour Party appear to have been of the order of 20 hours per week. The theory behind the complaint is that although KR was paid to work 15 hours per week for the Labour Party, his salary for 20 hours for Dr Reid was diverted to KR to subsidise his voluntary additional hours for the Labour Party. This is tenuous in the extreme and presupposes KR did not work for Dr Reid.

5.3  In his interview and statement KR demonstrated that he carried out real duties for Dr Reid. His duties were not a sham. His statement provided with Dr Reid`s statement of February 2000 states that KR had been working part-time for Dr Reid between October 1996 and October 1998. He had been working for Dr Reid well before the Labour Scottish campaign. He obtained the additional position with the Labour Party only after he finished his degree studies in May 1998. He had thus been carrying out his duties for Dr Reid on a part-time basis while studying for an LLB for two years previously. In other words KR had "spare capacity" to take on the Labour Party job when he had finished his studies. KR had in fact first worked for Dr Reid as far as back as 10 years previously in 1988 as his statement reveals.

5.4  In his interview with the PCS of 3 April 2000, KR notes at page 5 "... I had been monitoring the press for my dad." He states that his work for Dr Reid was done in the afternoons in the relevant period (May-Oct 1998) at page 6:

"I would then start to work for my father which was a separate job."

At page 7 he notes press monitoring for Dr Reid in respect of defence then transport (Dr Reid`s changing responsibilities as a Minster) and constituency matters. This included monitoring the local press, press releases, fact finding for press releases, putting the political issues into the weekly (What`s happening in the Constituency), researching speeches (see page 7-8). The accusation, the provenance of which is unclear ("at least two other witnesses", page 8), that KR was working "full time for the Party during the time you were drawing a salary as a researcher" is denied by KR (see page 8). The denial is specific and reasoned. The accusation is not based in any of the material provided by the PCS. It is furthermore a somewhat surprising accusation. Unless someone were in a position to know what KR did each day including weekends it is at least very difficult to see how someone, might truthfully make such an accusation. There is of course no person who was in such a position during the relevant period other than KR.

5.5  It may be noted that Suzanne Hilliard supports the content of KR`s job as something real. SH`s interview of 7 April 2000 broadly confirms the content of KR`s job at page 6-7:

"I was basically to take over the duties Kevin had had, had done previously which was dealing with any, you know, sort of press in a sense of keeping an eye on his local papers, what were the local issues ..."


" ... the work I was doing for Dr Reid was specific to Dr Reid ... keeping an eye on anything to do with transport in Scotland ... that sort of idea."

5.6  Thus KR was doing a real job for Dr Reid over the relevant period. The accusation to the contrary is without any foundation in the material provided by the PCS. It is of course also simply untrue.


6.1  It is alleged that in April 1998 Dr Reid in some way offered KR as a worker for the Labour Party with some surreptitious understanding that Dr Reid would in effect pay him by directing a Westminster allowance and that he would thus be cost-free to the Labour Party. Dr Reid did not do so. It is then alleged fear this arrangement would be discovered prompted Dr Reid to seek a full time contract for KR. This is untrue.

6.2  The basis of the allegation does not come from Mr Sullivan who is wholly silent on these two matters. In the "record of interview" provided by Mr Nelson, Mr McKinney is reported as saying :

"I think his Dad [Dr Reid] said I will help you out. You can have my boy and I will pay for him."

"He [Reid] said my boy`s not doing anything, he can come in and I will find a way of paying him."

These are of course Mr Nelson`s words.

The "transcript of interview", the second document, from Mr Nelson has Mr Nelson putting leading questions to Mr McKinney.

Eg. "DN: "I`ll help out, I want to be a part of it, here`s my boy, he`s doing bugger all, you can have him and I`ll pay him. But the actual deal was worked out in detail between Alex Rowley and Reid.

PM: Right"

It is very significant that the accusation is formulated in Mr Nelson`s words. PM`s assent is hardly specific. What is revealing is PM`s statement in his own words at the end of the transcript. Having been pressed by Mr Nelson, PM says:

"... what I can say is this is my recollection that at some stage in the month of April towards the end of April that that offer was made ... and that`d be the truth, but I just don`t know that I could go further than that."

PM`s words are not supportive of the gloss Mr Nelson`s seeks to place on them. It is especially instructive to examine PM`s actual words in the meeting note dated 22 March 2000. He reports at para 4

"He [Dr Reid] said something like "my boy Kevin isn`t doing anything he could come and help."

This is a very long way from Mr Nelson`s allegation. Indeed it supports Dr Reid`s account. PM says nothing else to the PCS to support Mr Nelson`s allegation that Dr Reid offered some unlawful arrangement to subsidise the Labour campaign. It should be noted PM puts Dr Reid`s alleged offer as being made at the end of April (supra). A minute of 26 April 1998 "weekly strategy meeting" is produced herewith. The penultimate item "Campaign Team Structure" contains the phrase "Potential to draft in people currently employed by Scottish MP`s". PM is shown present. This reveals two matters at least. Mr Rowley was not present at this meeting and that there is documentary support for Dr Reid`s statement concerning the meeting of April 1998 (see paras 4 and 5 of statement of 14 February 2000) that the matter was discussed openly and within the context of financial provision being made by the Labour Party.

6.3  As to the allegation that in fear of discovery Dr Reid sought to have KR placed on a full time contract with the Labour Party, Mr McKinney says at para 10 of the 22nd March 2000 note to the question:

"EF: At what point did you know that Kevin Reid was employed by John Reid and then by the party?

PM: I did not know that until I saw the newspaper article. I knew nothing about the employment arrangements."

Mr McKinney is thus not in a position to support the allegation. Mr Sullivan is in the same position. The documents provided by Mr Nelson relative to Mr McKinney may of course have been edited by him. It is respectfully suggested the PCS should be cautious in looking at those documents without having satisfied herself that they are full and unedited versions of what they report Mr McKinney as saying.

6.4  It is necessary to turn to Alex Rowley`s statement of 21st March 2000. He states he was General Secretary of the SLP May 1998 to May 1999 (para 1). Mr Rowley does not support what is alleged about Dr Reid having made the unlawful offer at such a meeting. He makes no mention of any such offer. On being asked directly (AR para 9) Mr Rowley says he has no recollection. What he does say at para 4 is:

"Yes, I discussed the arrangement that Kevin Reid was working full time but was being paid part time by John Reid, with John Reid and I discussed the arrangement with Anne Marie Whyte."

There is no specification of when Mr Rowley says he had this discussion or what was the content. More importantly and critically it is central to Mr Rowley`s allegation that KR was taken on in May 1998 as working "full time". It is clear from the analysis in the topic "KR hours" that not only was KR not working "full time" between May and October 1998 no-one shows he was working full time. Mr Rowley himself gives no detail to back up the notion that KR was working full time. The only conclusion is that at best Mr Rowley is critically mistaken. Mr Rowley cannot of course say what KR did for Dr Reid after KR left Delta House each day.

Mr Rowley has thus committed himself to an accusation against Dr Reid. It is assumed he made this or a similar accusation to Mr Nelson. It is for consideration that having made some such statement to Mr Nelson which presumably was tape recorded, Mr Rowley may feel he cannot back out from this serious attack on Dr Reid`s probity.

6.5  Mr Rowley`s second allegation concerns Dr Reid`s motive for KR`s move from part time to full time employment with the Labour Party in October 1998. It is a fact that KR did move from part time to full time status after October 1998. As in the foregoing paragraph the critical aspect of this allegation is that KR must be assumed to be in fact working full time for the Labour Party and not carrying out his duties for Dr Reid. Otherwise Dr Reid would have no motive such as Mr Rowley contends for to bring about the change of status. If KR were in fact part time, Mr Rowley`s story that there was a fear of being found out in some way becomes obviously wrong. As is demonstrated in the analysis in "KR hours" KR was not in fact working full time in the relevant period. Further Mr Rowley could not speak at all to what KR did for Dr Reid. Mr Rowley`s second allegation is therefore also baseless. It is not necessary to speculative why Mr Rowley should have made this second allegation. It is clear however it must be rejected. When Mr Rowley carries forward his allegation somewhat tentatively to Suzanne Hilliard, its falsity becomes more apparent. On Mr Rowley`s theory, Dr Reid, allegedly fearful of discovery of an unlawful use of funds and allegedly determined to conceal this unlawfulness allegedly proceeds to replicate the same unlawful arrangement with some other person, namely Suzanne Hilliard. That is what Mr Rowley would have one believe (see AR para 6, 14). Mr Nelson appears to have believed this (see "transcript of interview" page 2) where he tells Mr McKinney

"But as far as I am aware they just separated the father-son link and moved his money on to somebody else."

Mr Nelson does not give a source for this story. No-one else advances such a far-fetched theory. Mr Rowley cannot be regarded as a reliable witness to his allegations against Dr Reid. The allegations are central to the complaint and the complaint must fall with those allegations. Mr Rowley`s reliability as a witness is touched on elsewhere.

6.6  The matter should properly end with Mr Rowley`s unreliability. There are however two further matters. Firstly there is an allegation by Mr Rowley as contained in PCS question 27 of some kind of threat to him by Dr Reid. The alleged threat is denied and the fact of conversations between Mr Rowley and Dr Reid is dealt with in Answer 27. Secondly there are the statements of Mr Rafferty.

6.7  Mr Rafferty`s statements are not consistent. When accompanied by Mr Sharp on 1 March 2000 Mr Rafferty had very little to say about KR. By 24 March 2000 the question of a "conference call" is raised (at page 2). Mr Rafferty puts the call as occurring in June 1999 (page 3). At page 4 he states Chris Winslow as saying something. He says:

"... I think what he said was "I hope journalists will not start making mischief around the fact that I was engaged/employed by John Maxton for a time as was Kevin by his father from their parliamentary allowances". That is it. No dates were mentioned. I actually have no knowledge of the periods of employment, of when they were engaged and on what terms they were engaged. That is it.

EF: Did you take that to imply from what he had said that he was employed on a Westminster researcher`s salary while he was working for the Party.

Mr Rafferty: No."

Mr Rafferty is expressly saying he did not infer that some unlawful or dubious arrangement had occurred. That is plain in any event from the terms quoted as to Mr Winslow`s statement. Mr Winslow`s concern was mischief making not the existence of impropriety. Mr Rafferty went on to point out on the same page that working on the campaign and for an MP could be legitimate. He envisaged a concern that newspapers may make allegations about such a position, the fair implication being such allegations might be made mischievously by newspapers, (page 4). Mr Rafferty`s narration of Mr Winslow`s apparent concern is entirely consonant with concern that mischief might be made by newspapers.

On 6 April 2000 Mr Rafferty is noted as saying :

" ... it seemed to me that it possibly was the case that Westminster salaries had been used to carry out campaign work."

And then in contradiction of his statement of 24 March 2000 (para 7 supra)

"The clear implication when he [Winslow] spoke to me was that while he had been working on the campaign Kevin Reid had been employed on a Westminster allowance by his father ..."


"... I was lead to believe by these conversations (sic) that there had been misuse of Westminster allowances ..."

Thus Mr Rafferty has changed his position. It is unclear why he should have done so. What he previously stated as Mr Winslow`s concern is entirely consonant with no wrong doing but a real concern about mischief making by newspapers. Nothing is said to explain this change of position.

By 18 April 2000 Mr Rafferty`s statements have become more tentative. Paragraph 9 is not relevant to KR as he was a full time employee, when Mr Rafferty was employed by the Labour Party. At paragraph 10 he says "it possibly was the case that Westminster salaries had been used to carry out campaign work."

Interestingly Mr Rafferty despite his apparent "distinct impression that there may have been a very serious problem" did not seek to clarify the matter with Mr Winslow (nor indeed KR).

It is not clear why he did not follow such an obvious course of action. At para 12 he relates "my immediate concern was that there may have been a misuse of public funds if the period in which they worked on the campaign and the period when they were employed by MP`s overlapped" (emphasis added). The same conditional type of answer is given at paragraph 15.

6.8  Mr Rafferty`s view of Mr Winslow`s expression of concern is a slim basis for support for Mr Nelson`s complaint. It is not direct knowledge by Mr Rafferty of the factual position. It is speculation by him. Further the reliability even of this speculation is questionable given that Mr Rafferty apparently and inexplicably drew completely different implications on different days (see para 7 supra : no misuse of allowance 24 March 2000; misuse of allowance 6 April 2000; possibility of misuse of allowance 18 April 2000).


These documents do make reference to KR. They were not created by Dr Reid nor has he seen them before. He was not consulted by whoever created the documents. The documents appear to refer to KR in a somewhat contradictory manner. An explanation of the documents should be sought from whoever created them. Mr Rowley who presumably provided the documents does not seek to explain them.


Mr Nelson`s complaint in respect of KR and Dr Reid is revealed as without sensible support. It is untrue and denied by Dr Reid.

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