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.    Dr Reid was aware of the Fees Office rules. No rule forbids a Parliamentary researcher taking another separate and concurrent part time position. Advice was taken from the Fees Office at the time and same in writing.

2.    Mr Nelson`s and Mr McKinney`s words are discussed at paragraph 6.2 in "The complaint involving Kevin Reid". Dr Reid did not say (nor does Mr McKinney say he said) "I will pay for him." These are Mr Nelson`s words. The actual words of Mr McKinney in the Nelson transcript are closer to Dr Reid`s statement of 14 February.

3.    Dr Reid persuaded the Labour Party to employ KR on a part time basis. The Labour Party found the resources to employ a number of people for the Scottish Election Campaign, including KR on a full time basis after October 1998. The April 1998 meeting which discussed the drawing up of a budget of £300,000 for the campaign also touched on KR being employed part-time by the Labour Party.

4.    When the Labour Party increased the effort for the campaign in the run up to the election it was clear KR would require to work exclusively for the Labour Party. Dr Reid was insistent that a full time contract be provided for KR if he was going to be unable to carry out his duties for him. It would have been wrong in principle for him to receive a salary from him for work not done.

5.    Dr Reid insisted on every occasion the matter was raised in Autumn 1998 that KR be put on a full time contract not because of press criticism of misuse of parliamentary researchers but because the campaign was moving to a point where KR was plainly needed exclusively for Labour Party work. On several occasions it was put to Dr Reid on KR that KR`s services would be required on a full-time basis by the Labour Party as the campaign developed. Dr Reid does not recollect referring Mr Rowley to the press criticism but accepts he may have done so to illustrate why a contract for KR was necessary to reflect the proposed change in KR`s duties.

6.    Dr Reid does not know whether Mr Rowley spoke to Mr Upton what words he used nor what he may have meant by them.

7.    No.

8.    No. In any event Dr Reid was not in a position to instruct Mr Rowley.

9.    Reference is made to paragraphs 6.7 and 6.8 in "The complaint involving Kevin Reid". Dr Reid was unaware of the conference call, of what Mr Rafferty says occurred and unaware of any of the various and differing interpretations Mr Rafferty places on Mr Winslow`s concern.

10.  Dr Reid is unaware of Mr Rafferty making such a report and has not discussed the matter with the First Minister.

11.  Mr Rafferty is correct that KR worked full time for the Party for part of the campaign ie. from October 1998 onwards. Similarly KR worked long hours during that period when of course he did not work for Dr Reid. Mr Rafferty is only in a position to speak directly to what occurred from January 1999 as beforehand he was not working for the Labour Party. Otherwise Mr Rafferty`s speculation is unfounded. Reference is again made to paragraph 6.7 and 6.8 (above).

12.  Reference is made to paragraphs 4 to 4.7 of "The Complaint involving Kevin Reid". None of the statements of Mr Rowley or Mr Sullivan suggest hours worked by KR that would have precluded carrying out 20 hours work for Dr Reid.

13.  No. It may be observed that Mr Rowley actually states in his interview of 21 March 2000 at Q3 "Kevin Reid ... was working part time for John Reid as a researcher."

14.  KR was not "working extremely long hours for the Party" when he was employed by Dr Reid. Reference is made to paragraphs 4 to 4.7 (above). KR had ample time to fulfil his obligations to Dr Reid and did so.

15.  Parliamentary work was specific to Dr Reid`s constituency and responsibilities. Party work was relative to the election campaign. If the suggestion is that KR, in some way misled Dr Reid doing Party work "under the guise of Parliamentary work" that is not the basis of the complaint. Furthermore the complaint is not that duties overlapped but that the duties for Dr Reid were a sham and not carried out at all. Further KR had been carrying out these duties for Dr Reid for about 2 years before his work for the Labour Party and these duties had not changed.

16.  The political work KR did for Dr Reid is included within the description at paragraph 5.4 of "The complaint involving Kevin Reid".

17.  Dr Reid`s understanding of SH`s work accords with SH`s statements noted at paragraph 7 and 8 of "The complaint involving Suzanne Hilliard". Dr Reid does not recollect that he would see SH as frequently as "every two or three days" (p.10 SH`s transcript of 7th April 2000). He did meet her frequently however and at those meetings new work was passed across and completed work collected.

18.  The main method of communication was by personal contact. Dr Reid telephoned SH rather than vice versa. On occasions SH contacted Dr Reid and he would telephone her. Dr Reid did not receive nor expect to receive claims for reimbursement of expenses from SH.

19.  Reference is made to paragraph 4-12 of "The complaint involving Suzanne Hilliard".

20.  Reference is made to "The complaint involving Suzanne Hilliard". That neither long hours precluding SH carrying out her responsibilities nor overlap of duties are demonstrated by the material provided to Dr Reid. A great deal of SH`s work came to consist of constituency cases for which there was no possibility of "overlap". Furthermore an "overlap" of duties is not the basis of the complaint "compare paragraph 15 above).

21.  Dr Reid was unaware of the existence of the budgetary projections what they represent or the basis on which they were developed. It is not clear how the documents take account of researchers` money. The person or persons responsible for creating the various documents should explain the position. Dr Reid did not give any basis for an assumption that KR`s salary was topped up by his Parliamentary researcher`s salary in the sense that it be used improperly to fund Labour Party campaign work. The figures in Document 1 show KR being paid monthly £1100 (incl. NIC) from June 1998. In Document 2 KR is shown as being paid £366 (incl. NIC) June to September 1998 then £1650 (incl. NIC) from October. Arithmetically, deducting £850 (+ £85 NIC) from £1100 as the question suggests leaves £165. It is unclear what point is being made. The KR salary from Dr Reid in the relevant period was £10,200 pa plus £1020 NIC. He was paid £4000 pa by the Labour Party plus £400 NIC for part-time work in the relevant period. This is a total of £15,620. This does not match £13,200. When KR was taken on full-time his salary was £18,132 plus £1813 NIC, a total of £19,945 which plainly does not correlate with the £13,200 in Document 1.

22.  Reference is made to answer 21. Dr Reid did not pay £ 10,000 to the Labour Party.

23.  No.

24.  Yes. Reference is made to the discussion in "The complaint involving SH and "The complaint involving KR".

25.  As SH was a volunteer with no contractual obligation to the Party it is assumed £406 represented a "bonus" for working at least 25 hours for the Party. Dr Reid is not however in a position to know the basis of the payment. Of course 25 hours working for the Party would not have precluded SH from discharging her duties to Dr Reid.

26.  Yes

27.  If it is suggested Dr Reid threatened Mr Rowley to give true evidence it is a very serious allegation. The terms and date of alleged threat are not given. Dr Reid has not threatened and would not threaten Mr Rowley to prevent him giving true evidence.

Dr Reid has been approached on two occasions by Mr Rowley since the investigation began. He has not approached Mr Rowley on his own initiative.

The first occasion was at the Scottish Conference of the Labour Party in Edinburgh. Mr Rowley approached Dr Reid and asked for a "quiet word". Dr Reid was in company at the time. Dr Reid and Mr Rowley then sat apart from the company. Mr Rowley said that he required to meet the PCS. He said "I will have to tell the truth". Dr Reid told Mr Rowley he did not have a problem with that and that he wanted Mr Rowley to tell the truth but that it had to be "the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth". He told Mr Rowley that if Mr Rowley suggested KR was not doing work for Dr Reid that would be a lie; as it was untrue but also as Mr Rowley was not in a position to have known the truth and had never shown any interest in knowing what KR did for Dr Reid. The conversation ended on that note.

The second occasion was on 20 March 2000. Mr Rowley sent a message to Dr Reid`s pager. A copy of the pager message from Mr Rowley has been provided by LDC Pagers Direct. Dr Reid telephone Mr Rowley. There was no reply. Dr Reid spoke by telephone to Mr Rowley in the evening of the same day. Mr Rowley repeated his statement that he would have to tell the truth. Dr Reid repeated what he said to Mr Rowley on the first occasion adding it was not the truth to invent or speculate on things Mr Rowley did not know. Mr Rowley then said that "some people" were saying that Mr Rowley would not be able to become a candidate or that he would face prosecution if he told the truth. Dr Reid repeated that speculative was not the truth and that the logic of claiming that Dr Reid had agreed with Mr Rowley to fund the Labour Party unlawfully meant that both Mr Rowley and Dr Reid had conspired and that if this untruth were believed there were consequences for both Mr Rowley and Dr Reid.

On neither occasion could Dr Reid`s words sensibly be taken as a threat to Mr Rowley. Dr Reid has not been shown a note or transcript of what Mr Rowley in fact has claimed. As the PCS states this is a very serious allegation. If it is to be proceeded with full details of Mr Rowley`s claim must be provided to Dr Reid.

28.  Other than the discussion with Mr Rowley Dr Reid has not discussed evidence with the persons identified as giving statements or interviews to the PCS. He has checked factual matters with his son, Kevin Reid, concerning specific items of work done for him during the relevant period and whether KR retained copies of work done. It is not recollected when precisely this was done but it was probably in February and March 2000. KR also informed Dr Reid that he was being asked by the PCS about a Labour Party reference in early June. Dr Reid has spoken to SH socially on occasion. He has not discussed evidence with her.

29.  Dr Reid gave duties to SH and KR and had those duties carried out by them. This is not a matter of competing recollections but the truth. The duties were carried out in the relevant periods by SH and KR in a proper manner consonant with their contracts with Dr Reid. Persons who deny the truth of this can only do so on the basis of speculation. Why they would do so is not known. Dr Reid was initially concerned that Mr Rowley held Dr Reid partly responsible for his departure from the position of General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party and bore him ill will. From the two conversations with Mr Rowley, Dr Reid has formed the view that Mr Rowley was unaware KR previously worked for Dr Reid and is misinterpreting facts rather than acting out of malice. It also has become clear Mr Rowley was under the impression that KR had been first hired by Dr Reid in May 1998. This may be the root of Mr Rowley`s misinterpretation of events. Mr Rowley`s recollections and the conclusions he draws from them are however not correct. Of course Dr Reid`s statement is supported by SH and KR and those unknown others who statements have not been provided to him on the basis they apparently are not in conflict with him. Much of what is actually said by Messrs Rafferty, McKinney and Sullivan is either not supportive of the complaint or merely speculative.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 22 December 2000