Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Memorandum submitted by Dr John Reid MP


From a review of the documentation we summarise our findings as:

    (1)  The budgets are working documents, which would be amended on an ongoing basis and do not ostensibly reflect the final actual expenditure.

    (2)  Alex Rowley in his correspondence points out his lack of knowledge and attempts to distance himself from the whole situation. This does not suggest he developed the documents.

    (3)  Annmarie Whyte provides explanations and information which do not in any way indicate cross subsidy indeed she goes further isolating Mr Maxton and Dr Reid from the process and states that the SLP did not regard itself as being subsidised. We see no reason not to accept these explanations.

    (4)  In the case of Jonathan Upton there is no indication of cross subsidy. We see no reason not to accept this.

    (5)  Finally, the position of House of Commons Director of Finance Andrew Walker is most disturbing. On three separate occasions the Director of Finance is recruited to provide damaging corroboration to the existence to cross subsidy and on three occasions this is dismissed by him. In fact Andrew Walker in all of his letters favours acceptance of "innocent explanations" and in his last letter encourages Elizabeth Filkin to conclude her investigation. We see no reason not to accept this.

It is our considered opinion that in the absence of evidence or facts being presented by Elizabeth Filkin in relation to the funding issue of cross subsidy there would appear to be no case to answer. Elizabeth Filkin attempts to construct a case by speculation alone but is rebuffed quite rightly on three occasions by the Director of Finance & Administration.

12 October 2000

Atkinson Donnelly

We contain below a review of the analysis entitled "Section IX" (of Ms Filkin`s Report, paragraphs numbered as below) and would comment as follows:

174.  Supporting Dr Reid`s explanation.

175.  Dr Reid`s explanation is consistent with the materials produced.

176.  We are at a loss as to why Ms Filkin would ignore an acceptable interpretation "taken a face value" and rather adopt a "could be construed" approach to explanations given.

177.  The use of people currently employed by Scottish MPs appears as an efficient way of mustering an effective campaign.

178.  It is not clear why the approach of "could be construed" is adopted and thought to be useful. It seems a large step from the campaign team extract of Section 177 to a speculation of "diverting to party work parliamentary researchers paid from the OCA".

179.  We would assume that this is always the case.

180.  Elizabeth Filkin`s reluctance to accept the timing of Kevin Reid`s full time contract in October 1998 as "coincidental" due to the Scottish Parliament Lobbygate" case is wrong. Elizabeth Filkin is a year out with her "construed explanation", as "Lobbygate" did not occur until 1999.

181.  This should, if anything, add weight to the case of Dr Reid as tangible evidence that he was keen for the correct action to take place. It is not clear why the prejudicial interpretation is put on these facts by Elizabeth Filkin.

182.  Again, the "Lobbygate" question is used as an explanation of Elizabeth Filkin`s stance, perhaps even impacting on her judgement. This in fact took place after the elections in 1999. Indeed, Donald Dewar addressed the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

183.  This reasoning is somewhat unclear. It is not at all clear what has prompted the "sinister" analysis. It seems that it would have been perverse for Dr Reid to act as contended for. Of course the date error regarding "Lobbygate" saga colours Ms Filkin`s reasoning.

184.  Dr Reid on the other hand took action to "regularise his son`s position". Elizabeth Filkin in this paragraph seems to be intent on arriving at conclusions not supported by the facts. Firstly, Dr Reid properly acted in the case of his son. Secondly, the "lobbygate" affair did not occur during the year in question. Thirdly, interpretation of a misguided position would appear to be illogical. Elizabeth Filkin seems to be taking unrelated statements, and trying to utilise those to attack Dr Reid. Dr Reid had in actual fact taken "decisive steps to regularise his son`s position".

185.  Mr Rafferty`s evidence seems to have no bearing in relation to Dr Reid.

186.  As stipulated "there was, in any case, nothing necessarily wrong with such an arrangement". If Mr Rafferty "came to suspect" it is fair to ask what action did he take as a result of his suspicions?

187.  Dr Reid took the action as soon as he became aware of "the load being undertaken" by Kevin Reid, his son. It is important to understand what Mr Rafferty was really doing. Could it be Mr Dewar does not recall the conversation because it did not happen?

189.  There is nothing to suggest that "part of their total salary be paid to them through the office costs allowance". Indeed, Andrew Walker, the Director of Finance and Administration states that there is "no evidence of wrong doing". There is nothing to support why Mr Rowley`s view is correct. The bonus contributes nothing.

The Scottish Labour Party`s Budgetary Arrangements 189

190.  Mr Rowley`s explanation of the budget figures is incorrect. Budgets are precisely that, namely estimates of expenses to be incurred and do not represent actual expenditure or action taken at a later date. It is also a dangerous position for Elizabeth Filken to use "Mr Rowley`s explanation" as Mr Rowley was hesitant and cautioned Ms Filkin on the dependability of his evidence. At the same time Ms Filkin is ignoring the evidence of other participants and inexplicably seems to diminish the evidence of other parties such as the House of Commons Director of Finance and Administration as Clause 207. Elizabeth Filkin has also ignored the effect of National Insurance Contributions which contradicts her attack on Dr Reid and Mr Maxton.

191.  This would not appear to be backed by Mr Upton or Ms Whyte. Indeed, their written evidence is contrary to the claim.

192.  National Insurance contributions should have been brought into the calculation.

193.  Mr Rowley`s explanations have no independent support.

194.  It must be emphasised again that figures used in the budget are estimates of expenditure. To try to use a budget to draw conclusions as Elizabeth Filkin is attempting to do is dangerous and inconclusive and can result in misleading conclusions.

195.  As for 194 above.

196.  This is not the view shared by Andrew Walker the Director of Finance and Administration for the House of Commons. Furthermore, it must be stressed that from 196 onwards it is merely the "interpretation of Elizabeth Filkin" NOT facts of evidence. This is extremely dangerous as surely any considered thought process must be based on evidence and facts. It is not a view shared by us. We prefer the view of Mr Walker.

From clause 197 through to clause 206 Elizabeth Filkin attempts to draw correlation between budget document 1 in May 1998, budget document 2 in October 1998, budget document 3 in January 1999 to show that there has been cross-subsidy from the OCA. This is done by attempting to illustrate through her assumptions and suggestions that her "theory" has merit. The facts of the matter are that this does not seem to be borne out in reality. The original budget for Kevin Reid as per Ms Filkin`s clause 201 was £13,200. For the period May to October 1998 per clause 201, Ms Filkin shows a figure of £14,200 for Mr Reid as a way of explanation and an attempt to show that the figures are relatively close. In actual fact, the total salary for May to October 1998 was £15,620 and for the period from October onwards £19,945. This does not correlate with £13,200. Elizabeth Filkin`s theory therefore is not based on fact.

207.  In this clause whilst Ms Filkin accepts that the House of Commons Director of Finance and Administrations explanation is possible she rejects this. She rejects this in favour of the evidence of Mr Rowley who by his own admission is cautious about his interpretation. It is very difficult to understand why the individual with the expertise, namely the Director of Finance and Administration to the House of Commons, has his opinion ignored. We consider the view to be sound.

208.  It must be reiterated that Mr Rowley is cautious about placing any reliance of the data. Despite this, Elizabeth Filkin seems to support possible explanations given by Mr Rowley and vigorously discounting all explanations and evidence from other sources.

209.  Elizabeth Filkin accepts that there is no conclusive evidence of cross subsidisation borne from an examination of the figures. This is an extremely important fact.

We would argue strongly that the figures are not close enough, see 206 above, to be compatible with Mr Rowley`s contention and would indeed conclude that they contradict the evidence, the actual salaries paid being significantly different from the original budget documents.

210.  See below.

211.  See below.

212.  See below.

213.  Elizabeth Filkin again seems to be only accepting explanations and "opinions" which match her "theory". Is there any material to suggest that Mr Rowley`s version of events is any more credible than Mr Maxton`s, Mr Winslow`s, or Miss Whyte`s? We find none.

214.  We are of the opinion that Mr Rowley`s contentions, are merely unsupported views which are not borne out by the documentary evidence available. We cannot see any reason to reject the views of the Director of Finance and Administration for the House of Commons.

215.  We are of the opinion that Mr Rowley`s contentions are merely unsupported views which are not borne out by the documentary evidence available. We cannot se any reason to reject the views of the Director of Finance and Administration for the House of Commons.

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