Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 100 - 119)



  100. He did not warn you? He did not say "look, I have to tell you that what you are about to say is going to be taped"?
  (Mr Rafferty) No.

  101. I see. With hindsight do you feel that he treated you shabbily then?
  (Mr Rafferty) I have read The Observer newspaper, I think that he was pursuing a line of inquiry. I cannot tell what the truth is here or not, that is a matter for others to decide.

  102. I only ask you about your feelings. When you discovered that you had been taped did you think that you had suffered some sort of injustice? Did you feel aggrieved?
  (Mr Rafferty) No.

  103. Did you not?
  (Mr Rafferty) I think all of this is unfortunate.

  104. I would. I would have been furious.
  (Mr Rafferty) All of this is unfortunate and I would rather it was not happening.

  105. Just for clarification and to get it on the record, did you have any knowledge at all of a deal whereby either MP would finance part of the costs of staff to work for the party?
  (Mr Rafferty) No.

  106. Thank you. You were startled when Winslow told you of his fears and immediately went and told the General Secretary. If you had learned that earlier in the campaign would you have been possibly even more alarmed in the context of this?
  (Mr Rafferty) I am familiar with issues of propriety. Had there been any irregularity I would have advised that it should be stopped or that a simple log could be taken of who the work was done for, when it was done and the nature of it.

  107. While you were in the same room, and we understand you said there were about 20 people,—
  (Mr Rafferty) At least.

  108. Obviously you could not put tabs on the work that was done by everyone and nobody was expecting you to do so. Coming back to a question that was asked earlier, would you have thought it was impossible for someone working the hours that they were working to have done 20 hours over a week elsewhere?
  (Mr Rafferty) I think it varied throughout the campaign.

  109. You said that it was difficult for you to judge in an earlier answer. You probably were working at least as long as any of them. You were going in at the start, reasonably early, eight or nine o'clock, and you were working until the end of the day?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  110. Some of them were not.
  (Mr Rafferty) As I said to the Commissioner, from time to time Chris Winslow worked from home, Suzanne Hilliard worked with the Media Monitoring Team on a shift basis, and Kevin Reid in Media Monitoring worked from reasonably early in the morning until around lunchtime, early afternoon.

  111. So what sort of hours were you having to do a week then?
  (Mr Rafferty) Eight or nine o'clock in the morning until six or seven in the evening, until the last month when we were there most of the time.

  112. What happened when you finished, did you go home and collapse? If I may ask, how old are you then?
  (Mr Rafferty) I am 48.

  113. You are keeping very well on it.
  (Mr Rafferty) Thank you.

  114. But at 48 you were working those hours. To me these are young kids, these are young people, are they not? Would you have expected that they would be able to work at least the same hours as yourself?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  115. In view of their age and, of course, the sort of enthusiasm you get with youngsters involved in political campaigns, would you have expected them to have been able to work at least the same hours as yourself?
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  116. And even more?
  (Mr Rafferty) I think, given the age difference, probably.

  117. Finally, the circumstances about your departure. You said that you were not dismissed by the First Minister, "we agreed that I should leave my post".
  (Mr Rafferty) Yes.

  118. We, in Parliament, recognise a formula like that because many of us have experienced the agreement, "do you go voluntarily or do I kick you out". It is a rough old life in politics. Why did you agree to go?
  (Mr Rafferty) Much has been written about this, I have never spoken about it. Donald Dewar and I were very close for a very long time. He was very concerned at the continuing interest of the newspapers in me and in my post. It was becoming clear that they were making it impossible for me.

  119. Did he find a successor?
  (Mr Rafferty) No.

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Prepared 22 December 2000