Letter to Mr Andrew Walker, Director of
Finance and Administration, House of Commons, from the Registrar
of Members` Interests
I understand that the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards has already been in touch with you to discuss the
possibility of enlisting your assistance in analysing some financial
documentation in connection with a current investigation into
a complaint against Dr John Reid and Mr John Maxton.
I gather also that the Commissioner indicated that
I would write to you setting out the background, enclosing the
relevant papers and indicating the areas in which we are in need
The substance of the complaint is that Dr Reid and
Mr Maxton misused public funds by allowing researchers paid for
out of the Office Costs Allowance to engage in campaigning for
the Labour Party during hours when they were contracted to work
for the two Members concerned. The names of the three researchers
are Kevin Reid, Suzanne Hilliard and Chris Winslow.
In reaching a conclusion about the validity or otherwise
of this complaint, the Commissioner needs to be able to establish
exactly what amounts were being paid by the Fees Office to the
three researchers during the period in question (May 1998 to June
1999) and how this correlates, if at all, with salary projections
contained in Labour Party budget documents which have been supplied
to the Commissioner. (One suggestion which has been made to the
Commissioner is that the Labour Party projections assumed that
the salaries of Mr Reid and Mr Maxton would be topped up from
other sourcesie the Fees Office).
I attach two tables summarising this information.
The first is an analysis of the Labour Party budget monthly salary
projections for Mr Reid and Mr Winslow at three different points.
The second is a compilation of the total monthly contracted earnings
for Mr Reid and Mr Winslow from the Labour Party and the Fees
Office combined. (Ms Hilliard does not appear in these tables
since she was never formally employed by the Labour Party). You
should know, by way of background, that Mr Reid was originally
employed on a part-time basis by the Labour Party in June 1998
at an annual salary of £4,000, but that in mid-October 1998
he went on to a full time contract at a salary of £18,132.
Mr Winslow`s initial salary in June 1998 was £6,000 and this
was increased to £12,000 in November 1998.
The Commissioner would be grateful if you could let
her have the following information:
(i) are the figures
in the table for the salary payments from the Fees Office accurate?
(ii) what is the precise wording of the rule which prohibits
the misuse of public funds in the way alleged in the complaint,
when was it introduced and on what authority?
(iii) how is this rule brought to Members` attention?
(iv) is the practice of making payment of salary in lieu of
notice approved by the Fees Office (even where this can result,
for a short period, in a researcher drawing salaries in respect
of more than one Member at the same time)?
(v) are you able to shed any light on the apparent discrepancies
between the monthly salary figures contained in the Labour Party
budget documents and the actual amounts the researchers were contracted
to receive (for example, a figure of £1,100 appears against
Chris Winslow, whereas 1/12 of £12,000 is £1,000; and
a similar discrepancy exists between the figure of £366 per
month attributed to Kevin Reid, when 1/12 of £4,000 is £333)?
(vi) do you see any evidence from the two tables (assuming
the relevant Fees Office figures to be correct) that the Labour
Party`s budget projections incorporate any assumption that the
salaries of Mr Reid and Mr Winslow would be topped up in the way
Perhaps when you have had a chance to study the figures
we could arrange to meet with the Commissioner to discuss your
Many thanks in advance.
4 May 2000