Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex IV23

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Ms Eileen Eggington QPM

Further to my letter of 8th November 2001.

I enclose copies of two letters sent to me by David Price Solicitors dated 22nd November, and my response dated 6th December. I now wait to see whether Maria Fernandes continues her action against me.

You will wish to be aware that I have spoken to Nick Braithwaite, Associated Newspapers Legal Department, to express my concern about the following paragraph in David Price Solicitors' letter:

"The Mail on Sunday have now admitted that the defamatory allegations levelled against our client are entirely baseless. They have offered to publish an apology and retraction and to pay a suitable sum in damages. However, that cannot undo all the harm caused to her and her clients."

Mr Braithwaite assured me that a final settlement has not yet been made. He also said that the Mail on Sunday has not admitted that the defamatory allegations levelled against Maria Fernandes are entirely baseless. Mr Braithwaite added that the disputed issues will be clearly defined and there will be no blanket apology.

6 December 2001

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