Response of the Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP
to Complaint received from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards dated 27 January 2000 and Questions put to Dr Reid by
the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards dated 19 May 2000
1. The accusation against Dr Reid is to
the effect his employment of Suzanne Hilliard (SH) and Kevin Reid
(KR) was a sham. The accusation is not made out.
2. SH states she worked mornings for Dr
Reid in the relevant period. No witness controverts this. She
was thus able to combine her voluntary work for the Labour Party
and her 20 hours per week for Dr Reid. She did so. The accusation
that she was in fact paid by Dr Reid to work for the Labour Party
is thus demonstrated to be unsupportable. Dr Reid denies the accusation.
3. KR worked for both Dr Reid and the Labour
Party over some 5 months. Both positions were part-time. Exceeding
his contracted hours for the Labour Party would not and did not
prevent him from carrying out his contractual duties for Dr Reid.
These duties were real and he carried them out. There is nothing
in the material before the PCS that establishes the accusation
or contradicts KR`s statements. The accusation is unsupportable.
Dr Reid denies the accusation.
4. Dr Reid provided in February 2000 a rebuttal
to the complaint together with statements from SH and KR. He was
provided with materials and a series of questions sent by the
PCS on 19 May 2000. In correspondence he discovered the existence
of a further note which was subsequently provided to him on 19th
June 2000. Dr Reid has consistently repudiated the accusations
against him with reasons as may be seen from examination of his
correspondence with the PCS.
5. The statements and materials adduced
in support of the accusation contain vague, speculative, contradictory
and at times odd assertions. Precise and specific support for
the accusation is absent. No case to answer is demonstrated.
6. The provenance of the accusation is a
journalist, who has in the past unsuccessfully accused Kevin Reid
of being in breach of the standards of the Scottish Parliament.
It is unclear whether he revealed this history to the PCS. Further
the journalist (as the PCS is now aware) has been the subject
of criticism in the South Wales enquiry for making accusations
7. The individuals referred to by the journalist
in support of his accusation have all left employment with the
Labour Party in circumstances that do not appear to have been
revealed by them to the PCS.
8. Given the terms on which material has
been provided to Dr Reid (viz. that only where conflict was revealed
with his statement were transcripts provided), it is assumed that
the four individuals` transcripts aside, the other eight persons
named in the complaint have supported Dr Reid`s denial of the
complaint. In addition it is assumed that Lesley Quinn, the current
General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party, who was present
at the Scottish Labour Party at the relevant periods and familiar
with SH`s and KR`s work support Dr Reid`s denial of the complaint.