Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report


Response submitted by Mr John Maxton MP


The Election Campaign for the Scottish Parliament April/May 1999

The second allegation made against me is that during the period of the above election campaign Mr Winslow worked such long hours for the Labour Party that he could not have worked for me.

Miss Filkin never defines exactly what she means by the period of the election. Sometimes it is five weeks and sometimes it is four or sometimes just the weeks leading up to the election.

Clearly there appears to be more evidence to substantiate this allegation although members should note that this is not the allegation made by Mr Nelson but has been made by Miss Filkin herself. However even here the evidence presented is second hand and circumstantial. Three witnesses, Mr Rafferty, Mr Sullivan and Mr Rowley all attest to the hours Mr Winslow worked but none can, of course, state categorically that he was not working for me at the same time.

Both Mr Winslow and I told the Commissioner that Mr Winslow had 18 days holiday outstanding and as I knew he was leaving my employment, I allowed him to take this time during the election. If he used this holiday time to work in an election campaign it was a matter for him not me but I would suggest it is a matter for congratulations not condemnation.

Eighteen days is the equivalent of 3 weeks and three days out of the four or five weeks of the election campaign. If during the other one week and two days or two days (depending on whether the campaign is defined as five weeks or four weeks) of the campaign Mr Winslow did not work his full statutory hours for me then I would have to plead guilty to not properly supervising him during this time.

The Committee may ask why Miss Filkin has spent so long and so much effort proving such a insignificant point.

So intent is Miss Filkin on proving my guilt that she places considerable emphasis on the fact that neither Chris Winslow nor myself produced any documentation to show that indeed the holiday entitlement was given as above.

Firstly yet again she is asking me to prove my innocence and doubting my word. Secondly if the members of the Committee read all the correspondence between Miss Filkin, Chris Winslow and myself they will find no request for such documentation or any proof that I gave Mr Winslow permission to take his holidays then. Thirdly given the evidence, as she must, the newspaper cuttings provided by Dr Reid show that the media certainly believed that all four left their employment in unusual circumstances. I would suggest the Committee read these and come to there own conclusions.

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Prepared 22 December 2000