Video: Bill English changes his story - releases police statement confirming Barclay told him of secret recordings (read the statement)

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Bill English has changed his story over what he knew of a secret recording made by National MP Todd Barclay, which resulted in hush money being paid to an MP's staffer.

This afternoon Mr English said, after looking back at a police statement from the time, it was apparent that Mr Barclay did tell him of a recording.

A page from Bill English's Police statement about the alleged Todd Barclay recording
Another page of Bill English's statement to Police about alleged covert recordings made by Todd Barclay

Mr Barclay had previously denied to media that such a recording existed.

Part of the statement:

Police: "You must have had a conversation with Mr Barclay, how did you become aware of this, the fact he was recording phone calls in his office?"

Mr English: "I had a conversation with him regarding Glenys Dickson leaving his office and he said to me that he had recordings of her criticising him."

Police: "Did he [Mr Barclay], did, he say how he had recorded them, or how he had used a Dictaphone to record them?"

Mr English: "Yeah he said he had just left the dictaphone on."

Police: "Were you aware that it was Glenys Dickson that had been recorded?"

Mr English: "Yes I was."

Police: "Did you ever hear the recordings or were you shown the dictaphone?"

Mr English: "No, no."

Earlier today, Mr English admitted to sending a text that acknowledged a disgruntled electorate staff member was paid-off to keep quiet about it.

Although, from whom he heard this pay-off had occurred, he said he isn't sure.

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Allegations had emerged Mr English was aware of hush-money paid to an employee of Clutha-Southland MP Mr Barclay in 2015.

Speaking to media today Mr English acknowledged he sent a text message saying a "settlement" between Mr Barclay and his staff member Glenys Dickson "was larger than normal because of a privacy breach".

"Yes I know [that it was his own text]. I was relaying what I had heard, and I can't recall where that came from, this is now a couple of years ago." English said.

Investigative news website Newsroom is reporting former Prime Minister John Key was involved in the alleged pay-off of Mr Barclay's employee, and that text messages reveal Mr English knew about it too.

They say part of the pay-off came out of former Prime Minister John Key's leader's budget. 

Former employee of Mr Barclay, Glenys Dickson, was allegedly paid money after she complained she was secretly recorded following a meeting in Gore, and hired an employment lawyer to deal with it.

It is believed the money was paid to Dickson to make the issue go away.

Answering questions from the media today to what extent Bill English knew of the details of the Dickson employment settlement, Mr Barclay said: "I don't know, you'd have to ask Bill English".

Police said in a statement the investigation into the matter is closed, but any new information provided will be assessed.

Mr Barclay refused to speak with police about the matter at the time, as was his right. 

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office said, given the dispute was an employment matter, it would be inappropriate to discuss the details.

"This matter has already been well covered in the media," the spokesperson said.

"It's pretty clear there was a breakdown in the employment relationship. 

"The matter has been investigated by Police and they decided not to press charges.

"Todd Barclay has been reselected in the Clutha/Southland seat and we are focused on working for the people in the area."