28. Joint written statement by Miss
Annabelle Eyre and Mr Andrew Whitby-Collins, 7 January 2004|
Comments and response to testimony from Mr Adrian
As has been discussed previously, whilst the set
up envisaged by David Maclean for the office had a number of merits
to it, ultimately it was let down by some of the people involved.
Annabelle Eyre made it clear to David Maclean that
she did not think that the volunteers who had worked on the leadership
campaign would successfully transfer to working in the Leader's
Office, however it was decided that they ought to be given the
Annabelle Eyre's role was defined, but the remainder
of the staff had very little direction as to what their roles
would be. For practical reasons Andrew Whitby-Collins had to assume
the duties of the diary secretary quickly.
Jonathan Caine was a support speech writer for William
Hague. He carried out this task when he was not fulfilling his
main role as research support to the spokesman for Northern Ireland
in the Shadow Cabinet. He was not involved in the running of the
Leader's Office either before Iain became Leader or after.
Andrew Whitby-Collins concerned by the observations
of Adrian Muldrew particularly in regard to the planning of the
tours during the campaign which Andrew Whitby-Collins planned
almost entirely on his own. It is also not correct that Andrew
Whitby-Collins assumed any official title for himself.
With reference to Adrian Muldrew's belief that a
"barrier" went up between the inner core of the Leader's
office and the rest of the staff, we would point out that those
described as the core were the staff of the Private Office and
there was a natural division both physically and for the sake
of confidentiality, between them and other staff of the Leader's
Office. However at no time were we aware that there was any feeling
of resentment as a result of this arrangement.
If there was a meeting (pg 12), its occurrence and
conclusions were not communicated to the rest of the office, we
were not aware that Adrian Muldrew had been given lead responsibility
for briefing for events and visits. On her arrival, this responsibility
was given to Rebecca Layton, who liaised with Andrew Whitby-Collins
We dispute the reference to "relative anarchy"
in the office. The Private Office was functioning perfectly satisfactorily.
However, the problem with the remainder of the staff was because
they had no specific job titles, or specific duties. Unfortunately,
despite being proposed for the role as Chief of Staff by David
Maclean, Jenny Ungless was unable or unwilling to take a grip
on the situation and sort out the workings of the office.
We disagree with assertions about the arrangements
in the Leader's Office. Letters to supporters were dealt with
by Christopher Montgomery and Bunny Smedley, and any delay arose
here; Iain replied individually to the donors who had funded his
campaign. We also disagree with his comments about the way correspondence
from various people in the party and diary requests were dealt
The comments about the phone system are incorrect.
Annabelle and Andrew's calls were only answered in the private
office, unless our phones were specifically diverted to another
member of staff. When we were on the phone, calls would go through
to voice mail automatically, it would not have been possible for
another member of staff to have intercepted the call. When we
were out of the office, more often than not we would divert our
phones to our mobile phones, and when we the House was sitting
and during the afternoon we moved over to the Commons, we would
divert our phones to the office there. There were occasions when
we would ask Adrian to pick up our calls, but this was generally
at lunchtime on a Friday when the volume of calls was lighter
and was certainly not at all a regular occurrence.
As Adrian states, he was unlikely to be aware of
Betsy's involvement because there were a number of areas that
he was not involved in. His position was such that he wouldn't
have been involved in the constituency, or diary related matterssuch
things would have been dealt with in the private office.
With regard to his queries about the Christmas Cards,
Annabelle Eyre totally refutes that she discussed the Christmas
Card list with Christopher Montgomery. Betsy was consulted about
its compilation in 2001. The difference between 2001 and previous
years is that it was a much bigger and more complex list.
7 January 2004