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
Kevin Reid worked for me, paid through the fees office,
from as early as 1989. (Footnote 1) Initially he was engaged on
administrative tasks and remunerated accordingly and latterly,
having taken a degree in Politics and History, as a researcher.
(Fn.2.) Throughout this period he was contracted to work part-time
and I found his performance entirely satisfactory. In September
1997 his contract was renewed on the basis of part-time work,
contracted to work 20 hours (variable) per week. (Fn.3) Like my
other members of staff over the years he had flexibility in the
sense that there were no set daily starting or finishing times
provided his output was satisfactory.
By May 1998, therefore, Kevin Reid had been in my
employment for some 9 years and working under his latest contract
for approximately some eight months. The implication that I took
him on to work for the Labour Party`s campaign is utterly without
As is the suggestion that he did not provide me with
the work and value contracted for. In May 1997 I had become a
Government Minister (Minister for the Armed Forces and, latterly,
Minister for Transport.) The demands of these posts were such
that it was impossible to keep personally abreast of Scottish
political developments in any detail. Kevin Reid`s area of work
was adjusted to do just that. It remained varied according to
events but generally included monitoring of the Scottish press
(Fn.4), national periodicals (Fn.5), drafting of local press releases(Fn.6),
assistance with non-departmental speeches (Fn.7), local press
monitoring (Fn.8) and general political advice.(Fn.9 and 9A.)
He combined this part-time work with studies for his second (legal)
In April/May 1998 I was asked to assist with Labour`s
Scottish Parliamentary campaign planning, which I did willingly.
(Fn.10) In the course of that I drew up a widely circulated organisational
paper for the campaign which included other things, a need for
media monitoring. (Fn.11) Since Kevin already had experience in
that area I indicated quite openly (Fn.12) to officials in the
Labour Party that Kevin would be prepared to work on media monitoring,
that his working hours could be extremely flexible and that he
had time to spare. The reason that he had time to spare was simply
because in May 1998 he finished his degree course, not that he
would give up working for me. (Fn.13)
I also indicated that I would find the money, and
I did from the Labour Party (Fn.14) Kevin Reid started
on a part-time contract for 15 hours with the Labour Party from
the 25th May 1998 (Fn.15) From May until October 1998 he worked
mornings (Monday-Thursday and sometimes Friday) for the Labour
Party (Fn.16) and fulfilled his 20 hour commitment to me in the
afternoons, evenings and week-ends. (Fn.17) There was, therefore,
nothing sinister in the comment I am alleged to have made at a
meeting around April 1998, though I cannot recall exact or verbatim
comments at this distance in time. However, I do recall that I
insisted that there be a part-time contract in place with the
Labour Party precisely so that proprieties be observed. (Fn.18)
In October 1998, approximately six months prior to
the Scottish Parliamentary Elections, the Labour Party in Scotland
went on to augmented staffing and hours. (Fn.19) I insisted that
if Kevin were being asked to do so he should be given a full time
contract with the Labour Party. To do otherwise would have been
wrong in principle and would also have exposed the Labour Party
to attack as well as myself. This was agreed and, along with a
number of other recruits, (Fn.20) he started a full time contract
with the Labour Party on the 15th October 1998 (Fn.21) At that
point I, therefore, terminated his contract from the fees office
with effect from the October 1998 Salary payment, (Fn.22) allowing
two weeks in lieu of holiday, a quite normal procedure. (Fn.23)
He received no payments from the Fees Office thereafter. (Fn.24)
To replace him I employed another History and Politics
student known to Kevin and Labour officials for her voluntary
work for the Labour Party, Suzanne Hilliard. I employed her on
the same contract20 hours variableand the same salary
as Kevin Reid with the initial intention of covering the same
work areas. (Fn.25) However .
I was, therefore, left without not only a researcher but a constituency
secretary/agent (Fn.26) The volume of mail received in the constituency
(up to 200 pieces of correspondence a week, of which perhaps 20-30
require detailed, written casework replies) (Fn.27) was obviously
more than I could possibly personally cope with along with ministerial
duties and such that during this period I had to divert Suzanne
Hilliard onto assisting in Constituency casework and general correspondence.
(Fn.28) I then had any formal letter typing done by the Susan
Hamilton Agency in the House of Commons. (Fn.29) I have asked
them for details of the work done for me and they have estimated
that during the first six months of 1999, the rough period of
Suzanne Hilliard`s employment, they completed over 440 letters
for me. (Fn.30)
Throughout the period of her part-time contract with
me Suzanne Hilliard worked voluntarily in her spare timealong
with many othersfor the Labour Party. (Fn.31) However,
she found working for me and assisting the Labour Party too onerous
to combine with her studies and she gave up the latter in mid
December 1998, some six weeks after joining my employment. (Fn.32)
In short, I absolutely reject the allegations made
by Mr Nelson. I have stated the facts of the case in some detail
to refute the allegations made in his letter. Obviously some of
the information above was, and is, confidential, and not known
either to Mr Nelson or to the parties mentioned in his letter.
I did not reveal to the Labour Party officials to whom I spoke
the nature of the parliamentary work done for me, the length of
previous employment, the salaries, the academic details or the
health problems of any of my employees. I did not expect anyone
who worked for me to do so either. (Fn.33)
I do not for one minute deny that I wished to assist
the Labour Party. Nor that those who worked for me part-time also
worked part-time or voluntarily for the Labour Party in their
spare time. There is nothing mysterious, secret, improper or uncommon
about this. (Fn.34) But my employees were not taken on for that
purpose; they were not paid for that purpose. They were paid for
work for me which they did to my satisfaction. Indeed, at a time
of some considerable personal difficulties I went out of my way
to try to ensure that not only were the proprieties observed,
but were seen to be observed.
(NOTES IN ITALICS AND UNDERLINED REFER TO DOCUMENTATION
WITHIN THE RING BINDER ACCOMPANYING THE FOOTNOTES. MUCH OF THIS
DOCUMENTATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND HAS BEEN PROVIDED ON AN "IN
CONFIDENCE" BASIS. IT HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO ASSIST THE PARLIAMENTARY
COMMISSIONER IN HER ENQUIRIES AND SHOULD NOT RECEIVE WIDER CIRCULATION
WITHOUT THE AGREEMENT OF DR REID.)
Footnote 1: See
Note from the Fees Office re. Kevin Reid`s previous
periods of employment.
Fn.2: Kevin Reid
graduated with an Honours Degree in History and Politics from
the University of Stirling in May 1997. He then proceeded with
a two year Law Degree at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
Fn.3: This was,
therefore over 9 months before and unassociated with the Scottish
Parliamentary Campaign: Contract of Employment
lodged with the Fees Office House of Commons, September 1997.
Fn.4: See extracts
of National Press Summaries, May-Oct 1998.
Fn.5: See one such
Fn.6: See copies
of Press Releases May-Oct 1998. Such press
releases were issued regularly to the local weekly newspapers.
As an indication of numbers, between 2nd July 1998 and Mid September
1998, 33 such press releases were issued.
Fn.7: One such
example illustrates just how much work goes into a major speech.
See drafts and final version of National Consciousness
and National Identity, research, drafts and final
Fn.8: See examples
of Local Press Summaries, May-Oct 1998.
Fn.9: This covered
inputs into a range of topics and articles, speeches, communications
etc. For examples of range of topics and communications see Standard
Response to General Enquiries, Background Briefing/notes for Local
Speeches, List of Transport Speeches August-September 1998,
and article Thinking and Driving, all prepared
May-Oct 1998. The normal procedure is for me to receive the basic
factual draft and then. where necessary I would add political
shape or comment to the basic draft received. This procedure is
similar to that employed with Civil Servants.
Fn.9a: In addition
to the above tasks Kevin Reid performed a range of duties ranging
from. installing office technology to acting as my driver on occasions.
Fn.10: See contemporary
Scottish Press Extracts, April 1998.
Fn.11: See early
action points and paper Labour and the
Scottish Nationalists, 19th April 1998.
Fn.12: Mr McKinney`s
recollection that this matter was discussed at the margins of
the meeting is wrong. As the minutes show and my statement made
clear, the matter was discussed openly in the course of the meeting.
See Minutes of Meeting of 26th April, item: "Campaign
Fn.13: There was
absolutely no prohibition in Kevin working part time for me and
part time for the Labour Party. I confirmed this orally with the
Fees Office at the time before proceeding and have since had it
again confirmed orally and in writing by the Fees Office. See
Letter from Fees Office dated 25th May 2000.
Fn.14: Monies were
available from the Labour Party for such staff. The meeting of
26` April discussed the costs and the budget to be negotiated
from Labour Party HQ for such staff. See "estimated
cost of running unit for 1 year£300,000." inMinutes
of Meeting of 26th April, item: Campaign Team structure, in Fn.12
above. Kevin`s initial part-time remuneration from
the Labour Party was £4000See Letter of Appointment
of Kevin Reid to Part-time post. Dated 19th Jun 1998.
of Appointment of Kevin Reid to Part-time post. Dated 19th June
Fn.16: See Kevin
Reid Hours at the Scottish Labour Party, May-Oct. 1998,
paras 4.0-4.7, in the accompanying submission.
Fn.17: KR`s hours
During the period May to October 1998:
Monday to Friday first 8 weeks (May-end July)
8-11am each day.
Monday to Thursday (Aug-Oct)
Kevin`s morning work for the Labour Party constituted around 4
hrs within a 6 hours period, MondayThursday. He left the
office after monitoring the 1 pm news headlines. (Even Mr Rowley
puts his time of departure at no later than 1.30-2 pm). He
had a two hour break between the main news broadcasts, which Mr
Rowley fails to mention. He therefore actually worked a
total of around 4 hrs.
On a Friday( Aug-Oct)
he worked for the Labour Party only until 11am. A fact Mr Rowley
fails to mention. He had a break in between. A total of around
3 hrs actual work.
On Saturday and Sunday
he did not work for the Labour Party, a fact Mr Rowley fails to
These hours constitute part-time work. Kevin`s contract
called it part-time. By the standard of Mr Sullivan`s stated full-time
hours of 14 hours a day every day, and Mr Rowley`s contention
that his day was even longer, a work rate of 4-6 hrs, four days
a week and 3 hrs on a Sunday by Kevin Reid is certainly "part-time".
By the standards of the hours which he later himself worked, after
he had become employed full time by the Labour Party, such hours
However, the matter of how it is described is largely
immaterial to the main question. What is material is the actual
hours worked, and whether the actual hours worked for the Labour
Party precluded Kevin discharging his duties to me. It is quite
clear from all the evidence that they did not.
There is not a shred of evidence that during the
period May-Oct 1998 (when he also worked for me) Kevin was
working such long hours that he was precluded from carrying out
his Parliamentary duties of 20 hrs/variable. All of the evidence
is to the contrary. He was free to do so from a Monday to Thursday
from 2 pm onwards, on a Friday from 1 l am onwards, and all day
Saturday and Sundaya total of over 70-80 free hours
in which to allocate 20 hrs to his duties.
The potential working day is over 16 hours. The potential
working week is 112 hours. Even by Mr Rowley`s account, Kevin
Reid`s split shift of 4 hrs spanned a maximum period of
7 hours a day Monday to Thursday. It covered a maximum
of 4 hours a day on Friday, when he left at 1 lam. He did not
attend Saturday or Sunday.
Thus his maximum total hours occupied including
breaks and free time, even if Mr Rowley`s version is taken was
32 hours. The total minimum time he therefore had to
fulfill his obligations to me was around 80 hours per week.
See also Kevin ReidHours at the Scottish
Labour Party, May-Oct 1998, paras 4.0-4.7.
Fn.18: See confirmation
from Fees Office re. the propriety of these arrangements in Fn.13
Fn.19: This involved
enhancing full time staff and volunteers up to a total of over
70. This included recruitment and secondment of, e.g. Hilary Perrin
(tours), Bridget Sweeny (visits), lan Austin (Press), numerous
students who were brought in to supplement media monitoring (Rafferty
1st March p.8, Sullivan PPs. 3,4) party staff moved
from part-time to full time. status and increased numbers of part-time
volunteer. Kevin Reid`s move was not in any way exceptional, but
was part of a general pattern of augmentation of staff as the
campaign was stepped up a gear with six months to go to the elections.
Fn.20: See above,
at Fn.19. This also included a considerable
number of volunteers for media monitoring who were then arranged
into "shifts" of around 4 hours.
Letter of full-time appointment to and employment by Labour
Party dated 18th October 1998.
Fn.22: These facts
can easily be verified from the Fees Office and no doubt already
orally in conversation with Archie Cameron of the Fees Office
in January 2000. If required this can also be obtained in writing.
Fn.24: Again this
will be confirmed by the Fees Office.
Fn.25: See Fees
Office Contract of Employment for Suzanne Hilliard.
Fn.26: See Letter
to Constituents which was supplied with HoC envelopes
and handed out by doorkeeper in my office block to any callers
in the first half of 1999. Medical details could if necessary
be verified ... but I hope this will not be necessary due to the
extremely personal and confidential nature of this illness.
Fn.27: Based on
a survey of my office correspondence and mail which I have had
done. More detailed analysis can be supplied if necessary.
Fn.28: See examples
of Constituency Correspondence from this
period. Much of the correspondence from this period has been destroyed
under our "six months procedure", but luckily some letters
have survived, including several which incidentally refer to my
constituency secretary`s prolonged absence through illness. See,
eg. Letter to Mr D Sproull dated 31st March 1998,
and letter to Mrs Peters, dated 31st March 1998.
Fn.29: See Letter
from Susan Hamilton Agency, dated 3rd February 2000.
Fn.30: See Letter
from Susan Hamilton Agency, dated 3rd February 2000.
Fn.31: At the Labour
Party, Suzanne Hilliard worked as part of a team of unpaid volunteers,
working on `shifts`. (Rafferty 1st March. P. 8, Sullivan
PPs. 3 and 4) She did the evening shift, at its
most extended from around 5 pm until around 11 pm. She therefore
also normally had at least around 80 hours in which to complete
her work for me, similar to Kevin Reid. Ms Hilliard has informed
you that in the 2-3 weeks immediately prior to the Election she
may have doing somewhat less than 20 hours per week. This was
completely compatible with the "variable" nature of
her contract and would have been compensated for by those other
occasions on which she worked more than 20 hours.
Fn.32: She had
actually stopped attending classes by the end of November 1998,
though her official leave of absence was from the end of the winter
term in December. See Statement by Suzanne Hilliard.
Fn.33: Mr Rowley`s
employment with the Scottish Labour Party ended in some controversy
in May 1999, within days of my appointment as Scottish Secretary.
See Scottish Press References, May 1999.
Prior to this Mr Rowley showed no interest in my employees work
for me during his period of employment with the Scottish Labour
Party. Nor did he convey any reservations regarding them hold
two concurrent positions. Indeed, the fact that after his departure
from the Labour Party Mr Rowley combined working for a Member
of the Scottish Parliament with working concurrently with not
one but two other jobs in the political sphere suggests that he
still does not see any objection.
After the investigation began, Mr Rowley raised the
investigation with me in very general terms on two occasions to
my recollection. The first, on or around the 10th March at the
Scottish Conference where witnesses recall him approaching me
and asking for a word; and the second when he paged me at 4.10
pm on 20th March asking me to call himSee Pager
Message dated 20th March 2000. On neither occasion
did he enquire as to the nature of work which had been done for
me, by whom or when.
I understand that Mr Rowley also made approaches
to Ms Hilliard who refused to discuss matters with him.
Fn.34: See letter
from Fees Office Dated 25th May 2000.
97 Confidential information concerning Dr Reid's secretary's