File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
Dr John Reid and Mr John Maxton
26 June 2000
Discussion with Mr Alex Rowley...
...I spoke to Alex Rowley on the telephone to say
that I had had the information provided to me by the Labour Party
concerning the budget projections and the financial reference
for Kevin Reid. I said I would be writing to him about this matter
for his comments. He said he was going to be in London that evening
and could he come and see me. Mr Rowley came to my office and
said that he understood I would be writing to him with the information
that I had collected, but that he wanted me to know he was now
extremely concerned about information that was being given to
him about what was going on on this case. I asked him to tell
me what he knew. He said that he believed considerable pressure
was being put on staff and junior staff in the Scottish Labour
Party to provide answers which did not tell the whole story. He
felt this was very concerning if people were being put under this
sort of pressure.
He had also heard from a colleague of his who is
a friend of Suzanne Hilliard, saying that Suzanne Hilliard has
been extremely distressed since the early part of this year because
of the pressure that she has been put under to lie. I asked Alex
Rowley to tell me the name of the person who had told him this
but he said he did not wish to provide her name as she had given
him that information in confidence because she was so concerned
about Suzanne Hilliard.
I said it was very difficult to establish whether
pressure had been put on people in inquiries because of course
it might be people`s own guilt rather than pressure that other
people had put on them, unless there was some sort of hard evidence.
I said that of course some times people wrote pressurising letters
and that was hard evidence. Mr Rowley said that he had already
informed me that in his first discussion with me that he had had
conversations with Dr Reid and had felt under pressure. He said
John Reid had not said in so many words that he should lie, but
he had made it clear that he should not give any information which
he didn`t have to and that he should stick entirely to the matters
for which he was responsible.
I reminded Mr Rowley that he had told me that he
had been so concerned about the pressure that he had taped one
conversation that he had had with Dr Reid in case he was improperly
implicated in any way. He said yes, but he didn`t wish me to have
that. I said that I really felt that it would be very helpful
if I could have sight of that transcript of that document.
Mr Rowley said he was extremely worried about this
inquiry as he was being ostracised by some people who wrongly
thought that he had provided the information to Dean Nelson in
the first place. I said I had no evidence that he had done that.
He said he had not, and but that he had always been of the view
that he should be accountable for his actions and he had always
been of the view that he should never lieand when he had
first had the inquiries, he felt he had to answer those inquiriesstraight.
He said that he knew that it was being rumoured that
he was conspiring with other people to undermine Dr Reid and Mr
Maxton but this was totally untrue as anyone who knew the situation
knew that he did not get on with John Rafferty and would not have
contact with him about anything.
He also said that it was being said that I was in
a conspiracy with the journalist Dean Nelson and wished to undermine
Dr Reid. He said that he knew this was rubbish but people appeared
to be willing to say anything on this particular case. He said
he was under the impression that considerable waves were being
made in relation to this caselarge numbers of MPs appeared
to have been informed about it.
I said yes, I was concerned too that people were
not happy to let the matter be properly investigated and for the
facts to speak for themselves.
I told Mr Rowley that I would be writing to him the
next day and he said he would reply as soon as he returned to
Scotland at the weekend.