When asked if Todd Barclay lied this morning when he refuted claims that he made a secret recording, Mr English said, “You’ll have to ask him”.
“Looking back I could have handled the situation differently and I regret that”.
The statements in question were him saying, “No”, he did not tell Mr English about secret recordings and, “No”, he had not made any secret recordings.
English on Tuesday released a statement he made past year to police, saying that lawmaker Todd Barclay told him that Barclay left a recording device running in his electorate office and captured criticism from a staffer. I can’t recall where the story came from.
“I read Mr English’s comments to the police and accept it, the period in question was a very stressful one as I was in the midst of a hard employment dispute”.
“I’m sorry if any of the answers I gave this morning were misleading”, Barclay said during a hastily arranged news conference.
“Mr Barclay repeatedly denied allegations that he made secret recordings of a staff member and only after much duress was applied did he own up”.
Mr English has long denied talking to anyone directly involved in the employment dispute, despite himself being the former Clutha-Southland MP with close relationships with all involved including Ms Dickson who worked in the office for almost two decades.
The text from Mr English to Mr Davie, reported by Newsroom, read: “He left a dictaphone running that picked up all conversations in the office. Just the office end of phone conversations”, the message reportedly said. “The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach”.
He said for legal reasons he could not comment further.
“I told the police”.
Mr Barclay fronted media backed by other National MPs including Sarah Dowie and Matt Doocey.
He said he “no doubt” he spoke to Mr English, the previous Clutha-Southland MP, “as the dispute escalted”.
Allegations by Mrs Dickson against Mr Barclay led to a 10-month police investigation.
A settlement was eventually paid to Mrs Dickson from then Prime Minister John Key’s leader’s fund, which is taxpayer money.
Mr English is defending that as money available to Parliamentary Service, as Ms Dickson’s employer, to settle an employment matter.
Mr English said it was “really a matter for [Mr Barclay]” to address the discrepancies in their statements and again stood by Mr Barclay’s decision not to co-operate with the police investigation.
“It seems clear that there has been recording of a private conversation, that there has been a police investigation that looks like it has been stonewalled and obstructed”, he said.
“As far as I was concerned those issues had be dealt with”.
In March, after the Herald revealed Mr Barclay had declined to talk to police, Mr English refused to comment, saying the matter had been resolved.