Examination of Witness (Questions 360
TUESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2000
360. They are not included in the transcript.
I think that you would do well to wait and comment on the wider
transcript and not commit yourself necessarily to the shorter
transcript which you have had access to up to now.
(Dr Reid) Can I just ask on this, Chairman, because
this is a very important question
361. Can I ask you a simple question which,
if possible, I would like an answer yes or no to. Irrespective
of whether there was any agreement in the way suggested by Alex
Rowley, irrespective of whether there was or not, are you saying
that everything you did, you did with the prior approval of the
(Dr Reid) You mean did I phone the Fees Office at
the time just to confirm that somebody could also take a contract
with the Labour Party? Yes, I did.
362. You phoned the Fees Office and what did
you actually say to them, if you can recall?
(Dr Reid) No, I cannot, I will be quite truthful with
you. It was not something that I was doing for the record.
363. But it was prior to any of these arrangements
being entered into?
(Dr Reid) Yes. I phoned on numerous occasions, as
most MPs do, the Fees Office to find things out. I phoned them,
for instance, at the time the model contract came out.
364. I understand that, but is there anything
about this specific series of events that you recall raising with
the Fees Office?
(Dr Reid) Only the one question of whether it was
okay for someone who was working for me to work for the Labour
Party. That was the only thing.
365. Thank you.
(Dr Reid) Can I just clarify something because Mr
Campbell-Savours has said something very important there. Am I
to understandI do not know whether this is the case or
notthat I am being interviewed on the basis of accusations
which are known to Mr Campbell-Savours, or perhaps to other Members
of the Committee, that have not been revealed to me before I am
366. No. All I am saying to you is that the
transcript of the tape, which I understand you have seen, is not
a full transcript because in the translation of the transcript,
when it was transcribed, it was not possible to get all of the
(Dr Reid) That is interesting because, as you know,
367. I think it is important that you be told
(Dr Reid) First of all, nobody has told me that. Secondly,
and I do not want to be churlish here, I did ask to take these
tapes away to examine them in my own time with my own advisers
and Ms Filkin felt that was not possible, I had to do it in her
office despite the fact of getting legal safeguards. If you are
now telling me that the transcript I was provided with, having
been refused the chance to examine that tape, is not an accurate
reflection of what was on the tape, I would just want to record
Mr Campbell-Savours: I think he is entitled
368. Let me make the position clear. We will
be trying to get a better transcript of that tape. If we are successful
in that it will, of course, be provided to you.
(Dr Reid) Yes.
Chairman: Thank you.
Mr Campbell-Savours: And there will be
more on it.
369. One quick point following on what Shona
said. This is coming back to this question of the oath. In the
transcript that we have, document 145, on page six, as you rightly
say, about three-quarters of the way down, "What you must
not do is tell anything which is not the truth" which emphasises
something you said yourself.
(Dr Reid) Can you just hold on a second so I can get
the document out?
370. Yes. It is 145, the thin document.
(Dr Reid) Yes. I think I have it.
371. This bit you do not need to find, it is
nothing you would want to challenge. You do say a little later
"What you mustn't do is tell anything that isn't the truth".
(Dr Reid) This is page what, sorry?
372. Page six, three-quarters of the way down.
You say "What you mustn't do is tell anything that isn't
the truth". There is no problem with that. Go back again
(Dr Reid) I am sorry, can you hold on, I cannot find
373. That confirms what you have already told
us that is what you did tell him, you said that you said that
to him. Going back slightly to a couple of points before, he says:
"It also says in the letter I shall ask if you prefer to
give evidence to me under oath" and you then say "Yeah,
well, you can say no. John Rafferty said no. ... Say no I don't
know the status of these meetings, where they're going. I will
tell you what happened. I've no wish to take the oath, this is
not a court of law." Why did you immediately tell him that?
I know you have said that he was nervous about taking the oath
but surely the right thing, if anything, would have been to encourage
him to underline the veracity of what he was saying? Why did you
not discuss the options with him?
(Dr Reid) First of all, remember that these discussions,
whether it was this call or the previous one, were at the instigation
of Alex. He is seeking advice on matters that presumably he wants
clarified or whatever. One of these that comes up is something
that he has brought up on several occasions before which is, from
the very first call he got from Dean Nelson, Dean Nelson apparently
said something about being "dragged in and told under oath".
The second thing is that Alex did not know all of the information
and that was what I did throughout this, as I did in the first
conversation some months before, I said to him, "Alex, you
do not know the whole background to this, you do not know what
I have done, you do not know what work these people did".
The other point he kept going on about was "I must take an
oath". It can be a very frightening thing, as Lesley Quinn
said in one of her statements. I said to him "look, you do
not have to take the oath, it does not have to be taken".
He was saying to me, "I have to take the oath, I am being
pushed to take the oath".
374. He does not say that in this conversation.
(Dr Reid) I am sorry. It also says "... in the
letter I shall ask if you prefer to give evidence to me under
oath". It is quite clear what he is saying to me, "she
is asking me to take the oath", and I am saying, I will just
read it to you, "Yeah, well, ..."
375. She is asking if you prefer to give evidence
(Dr Reid) I know but
376. If you prefer.
(Dr Reid)let us remember this is a telephone
conversation, we are not doing necessarily a syntactical analysis
during a telephone conversation. Alex says at one point, "I
don't want to say anything"because he does not have
all the information, remember, he is relying on me to give him
it"I do not want to say anything that someone can
walk in the next day and prove is not true." I say to him,
"Alex, they cannot prove that because they did work for me.
It is a lie what they are trying to prove." So I reassured
him of what he is constantly worried because he does not have
the information. He did not know that I had found out from the
Fees Office it was perfectly proper to do what we had done. He
did not know that Kevin Reid worked for me. Incidentally, he did
not even know that Kevin Reid worked for me for a long time before
the Scottish election campaign. Alex seems to have thought at
the beginning that I had just hired him for the campaign. So he
is worried about all of these things he does not know and then
he suddenly says to me, "Yes, but it also says in the letter,
`I shall ask if you prefer to give evidence to me under oath.'"
I say to him, "But you can say no. Rafferty said no."
I did not bring up the question of the oath. I did not say to
himLet me put it this way, it is not as if there was something
in this where I said to Alex, "Look, Alex, we all know the
reality but for the sake of the Party we must tell a lie".
If you look through the rest of that you will find that on every
occasion I say what I said to Alex Rowley on the first occasion,
"Alex, you must tell the truth, it must be the whole truth
but it must be nothing but the truth", you must not go into
speculation because if you go into speculation, that is a lie.
Mr Williams: Thank you, Chairman.
377. We have come to the end of a very long
session for you. We appreciate you have not had the opportunity
to read the transcript of this morning's evidence. It will be
provided to you of course, and when you have examined it perhaps
you may wish to put in a further memorandum which the Committee
will be happy to receive. Meanwhile, thank you for coming along
for a very long session.
(Dr Reid) I thank you and the Committee
for your courtesy. Thank you very much indeed.