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. Dr Reid was aware of the Fees Office
rules. No rule forbids a Parliamentary researcher taking another
separate and concurrent part time position. Advice was taken from
the Fees Office at the time and same in writing.
2. Mr Nelson`s and Mr McKinney`s words are
discussed at paragraph 6.2 in "The complaint involving Kevin
Reid". Dr Reid did not say (nor does Mr McKinney say he said)
"I will pay for him." These are Mr Nelson`s words. The
actual words of Mr McKinney in the Nelson transcript are closer
to Dr Reid`s statement of 14 February.
3. Dr Reid persuaded the Labour Party to
employ KR on a part time basis. The Labour Party found the resources
to employ a number of people for the Scottish Election Campaign,
including KR on a full time basis after October 1998. The April
1998 meeting which discussed the drawing up of a budget of £300,000
for the campaign also touched on KR being employed part-time by
the Labour Party.
4. When the Labour Party increased the effort
for the campaign in the run up to the election it was clear KR
would require to work exclusively for the Labour Party. Dr Reid
was insistent that a full time contract be provided for KR if
he was going to be unable to carry out his duties for him. It
would have been wrong in principle for him to receive a salary
from him for work not done.
5. Dr Reid insisted on every occasion the
matter was raised in Autumn 1998 that KR be put on a full time
contract not because of press criticism of misuse of parliamentary
researchers but because the campaign was moving to a point where
KR was plainly needed exclusively for Labour Party work. On several
occasions it was put to Dr Reid on KR that KR`s services would
be required on a full-time basis by the Labour Party as the campaign
developed. Dr Reid does not recollect referring Mr Rowley to the
press criticism but accepts he may have done so to illustrate
why a contract for KR was necessary to reflect the proposed change
in KR`s duties.
6. Dr Reid does not know whether Mr Rowley
spoke to Mr Upton what words he used nor what he may have meant
8. No. In any event Dr Reid was not in a
position to instruct Mr Rowley.
9. Reference is made to paragraphs 6.7 and
6.8 in "The complaint involving Kevin Reid". Dr Reid
was unaware of the conference call, of what Mr Rafferty says occurred
and unaware of any of the various and differing interpretations
Mr Rafferty places on Mr Winslow`s concern.
10. Dr Reid is unaware of Mr Rafferty making
such a report and has not discussed the matter with the First
11. Mr Rafferty is correct that KR worked full
time for the Party for part of the campaign ie. from October 1998
onwards. Similarly KR worked long hours during that period when
of course he did not work for Dr Reid. Mr Rafferty is only in
a position to speak directly to what occurred from January 1999
as beforehand he was not working for the Labour Party. Otherwise
Mr Rafferty`s speculation is unfounded. Reference is again made
to paragraph 6.7 and 6.8 (above).
12. Reference is made to paragraphs 4 to 4.7
of "The Complaint involving Kevin Reid". None of the
statements of Mr Rowley or Mr Sullivan suggest hours worked by
KR that would have precluded carrying out 20 hours work for Dr
13. No. It may be observed that Mr Rowley actually
states in his interview of 21 March 2000 at Q3 "Kevin Reid
... was working part time for John Reid as a researcher."
14. KR was not "working extremely long hours
for the Party" when he was employed by Dr Reid. Reference
is made to paragraphs 4 to 4.7 (above). KR had ample time to fulfil
his obligations to Dr Reid and did so.
15. Parliamentary work was specific to Dr Reid`s
constituency and responsibilities. Party work was relative to
the election campaign. If the suggestion is that KR, in some way
misled Dr Reid doing Party work "under the guise of Parliamentary
work" that is not the basis of the complaint. Furthermore
the complaint is not that duties overlapped but that the duties
for Dr Reid were a sham and not carried out at all. Further KR
had been carrying out these duties for Dr Reid for about 2 years
before his work for the Labour Party and these duties had not
16. The political work KR did for Dr Reid is
included within the description at paragraph 5.4 of "The
complaint involving Kevin Reid".
17. Dr Reid`s understanding of SH`s work accords
with SH`s statements noted at paragraph 7 and 8 of "The complaint
involving Suzanne Hilliard". Dr Reid does not recollect that
he would see SH as frequently as "every two or three days"
(p.10 SH`s transcript of 7th April 2000). He did meet her frequently
however and at those meetings new work was passed across and completed
18. The main method of communication was by personal
contact. Dr Reid telephoned SH rather than vice versa. On occasions
SH contacted Dr Reid and he would telephone her. Dr Reid did not
receive nor expect to receive claims for reimbursement of expenses
19. Reference is made to paragraph 4-12 of "The
complaint involving Suzanne Hilliard".
20. Reference is made to "The complaint
involving Suzanne Hilliard". That neither long hours precluding
SH carrying out her responsibilities nor overlap of duties are
demonstrated by the material provided to Dr Reid. A great deal
of SH`s work came to consist of constituency cases for which there
was no possibility of "overlap". Furthermore an "overlap"
of duties is not the basis of the complaint "compare paragraph
21. Dr Reid was unaware of the existence of the
budgetary projections what they represent or the basis on which
they were developed. It is not clear how the documents take account
of researchers` money. The person or persons responsible for creating
the various documents should explain the position. Dr Reid did
not give any basis for an assumption that KR`s salary was topped
up by his Parliamentary researcher`s salary in the sense that
it be used improperly to fund Labour Party campaign work. The
figures in Document 1 show KR being paid monthly £1100 (incl.
NIC) from June 1998. In Document 2 KR is shown as being paid £366
(incl. NIC) June to September 1998 then £1650 (incl. NIC)
from October. Arithmetically, deducting £850 (+ £85
NIC) from £1100 as the question suggests leaves £165.
It is unclear what point is being made. The KR salary from Dr
Reid in the relevant period was £10,200 pa plus £1020
NIC. He was paid £4000 pa by the Labour Party plus £400
NIC for part-time work in the relevant period. This is a total
of £15,620. This does not match £13,200. When KR was
taken on full-time his salary was £18,132 plus £1813
NIC, a total of £19,945 which plainly does not correlate
with the £13,200 in Document 1.
22. Reference is made to answer 21. Dr Reid did
not pay £ 10,000 to the Labour Party.
24. Yes. Reference is made to the discussion
in "The complaint involving SH and "The complaint involving
25. As SH was a volunteer with no contractual
obligation to the Party it is assumed £406 represented a
"bonus" for working at least 25 hours for the Party.
Dr Reid is not however in a position to know the basis of the
payment. Of course 25 hours working for the Party would not have
precluded SH from discharging her duties to Dr Reid.
27. If it is suggested Dr Reid threatened Mr
Rowley to give true evidence it is a very serious allegation.
The terms and date of alleged threat are not given. Dr Reid has
not threatened and would not threaten Mr Rowley to prevent him
giving true evidence.
Dr Reid has been approached on two occasions by Mr
Rowley since the investigation began. He has not approached Mr
Rowley on his own initiative.
The first occasion was at the Scottish Conference
of the Labour Party in Edinburgh. Mr Rowley approached Dr Reid
and asked for a "quiet word". Dr Reid was in company
at the time. Dr Reid and Mr Rowley then sat apart from the company.
Mr Rowley said that he required to meet the PCS. He said "I
will have to tell the truth". Dr Reid told Mr Rowley he did
not have a problem with that and that he wanted Mr Rowley to tell
the truth but that it had to be "the truth the whole truth
and nothing but the truth". He told Mr Rowley that if Mr
Rowley suggested KR was not doing work for Dr Reid that would
be a lie; as it was untrue but also as Mr Rowley was not in a
position to have known the truth and had never shown any interest
in knowing what KR did for Dr Reid. The conversation ended on
The second occasion was on 20 March 2000. Mr Rowley
sent a message to Dr Reid`s pager. A copy of the pager message
from Mr Rowley has been provided by LDC Pagers Direct. Dr Reid
telephone Mr Rowley. There was no reply. Dr Reid spoke by telephone
to Mr Rowley in the evening of the same day. Mr Rowley repeated
his statement that he would have to tell the truth. Dr Reid repeated
what he said to Mr Rowley on the first occasion adding it was
not the truth to invent or speculate on things Mr Rowley did not
know. Mr Rowley then said that "some people" were saying
that Mr Rowley would not be able to become a candidate or that
he would face prosecution if he told the truth. Dr Reid repeated
that speculative was not the truth and that the logic of claiming
that Dr Reid had agreed with Mr Rowley to fund the Labour Party
unlawfully meant that both Mr Rowley and Dr Reid had conspired
and that if this untruth were believed there were consequences
for both Mr Rowley and Dr Reid.
On neither occasion could Dr Reid`s words sensibly
be taken as a threat to Mr Rowley. Dr Reid has not been shown
a note or transcript of what Mr Rowley in fact has claimed. As
the PCS states this is a very serious allegation. If it is to
be proceeded with full details of Mr Rowley`s claim must be provided
to Dr Reid.
28. Other than the discussion with Mr Rowley
Dr Reid has not discussed evidence with the persons identified
as giving statements or interviews to the PCS. He has checked
factual matters with his son, Kevin Reid, concerning specific
items of work done for him during the relevant period and whether
KR retained copies of work done. It is not recollected when precisely
this was done but it was probably in February and March 2000.
KR also informed Dr Reid that he was being asked by the PCS about
a Labour Party reference in early June. Dr Reid has spoken to
SH socially on occasion. He has not discussed evidence with her.
29. Dr Reid gave duties to SH and KR and had
those duties carried out by them. This is not a matter of competing
recollections but the truth. The duties were carried out in the
relevant periods by SH and KR in a proper manner consonant with
their contracts with Dr Reid. Persons who deny the truth of this
can only do so on the basis of speculation. Why they would do
so is not known. Dr Reid was initially concerned that Mr Rowley
held Dr Reid partly responsible for his departure from the position
of General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party and bore him
ill will. From the two conversations with Mr Rowley, Dr Reid has
formed the view that Mr Rowley was unaware KR previously worked
for Dr Reid and is misinterpreting facts rather than acting out
of malice. It also has become clear Mr Rowley was under the impression
that KR had been first hired by Dr Reid in May 1998. This may
be the root of Mr Rowley`s misinterpretation of events. Mr Rowley`s
recollections and the conclusions he draws from them are however
not correct. Of course Dr Reid`s statement is supported by SH
and KR and those unknown others who statements have not been provided
to him on the basis they apparently are not in conflict with him.
Much of what is actually said by Messrs Rafferty, McKinney and
Sullivan is either not supportive of the complaint or merely speculative.