Neil Hamilton (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Neil Hamilton
Neil Hamilton (politician), March 2008.jpg
Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
14 April 1992 – 25 October 1994
Preceded by The Lord Reay
Succeeded by Jonathan Evans
Member of Parliament
for Tatton
In office
9 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Martin Bell
Personal details
Born (1949-03-09) 9 March 1949 (age 65)
Fleur-de-Lis, Monmouthshire (historic) Wales.
Nationality British
Political party UKIP (from 2002)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Conservative (1964-2002)
Spouse(s) Christine Hamilton
Alma mater University College of Wales, Aberystwyth
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Profession Barrister

Mostyn Neil Hamilton (born 9 March 1949) is a British politician and former barrister, teacher, and Conservative MP for the Tatton constituency from 1983 to 1997. In 1997, after becoming involved in a political scandal known as the Cash-for-questions affair, Hamilton was defeated and left politics until 2011 when he was elected to the National Executive Committee of the United Kingdom Independence Party. Hamilton and his wife Christine became media celebrities. In Who's Who, Hamilton is described as a writer, actor, broadcaster and entertainer.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hamilton was born in Fleur-de-Lis, a Monmouthshire pit village near Blackwood Wales. His father was a chief engineer for the National Coal Board. His grandfathers were coal miners. Hamilton grew up in Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. At the age of 15, in 1964, he joined the Conservative party.

Education[edit]

Hamilton attended Ammanford Grammar School. He received a bachelor of science degree in economics and politics (BScEcon) from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1970 and a master of science degree in economics and politics (MScEcon) in 1975.[3] While at Aberystwyth, Hamilton was active in the Federation of Conservative Students, (a member between 1968 and 1974). In 1973, as a representative of the Federation of Conservative Students, Hamilton addressed a conference of the Italian Social Movement (MSI).[4] Hamilton went on to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,[5] where he attained a post-graduate law degree.[citation needed]

Student activity and early political career[edit]

At the 1970 Conservative party conference, Hamilton called for mass privatisation. One year later, in 1971, he opposed Britain's joining the European Economic Community. In 1972, after several years' membership, Hamilton was elected to the executive council of the Conservative Monday Club. In 1973, he left the club and stood as chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students against David Davis and lost. In the early 1970s, Hamilton was a member of the Eldon League, a right-wing social organisation given to having picnics and dinners 'and having a good time'.[6] In the February 1974 general election, Hamilton stood as the Conservative candidate for Abertillery and in the 1979 general election as a parliamentary candidate in Bradford North, but failed on both occasions.

Teaching[edit]

Between 1973 and 1976, Hamilton was a teacher at St John's College (Portsmouth), Southsea. In his spare time, he studied for his bar practice exam. Hamilton also taught constitutional law at the Hatfield Polytechnic between September 1978 and July 1982.

Legal career[edit]

From September 1979, Hamilton practised as a barrister. He specialised in taxation law. However, after Hamilton lost his parliamentary seat in 1997, he vowed never to return to "that constipated profession". In April 2001, Hamilton said, "If I am bankrupt, [which he was the following month] I won't be able to return to the bar but even if I was able to do so, I couldn't contain myself from saying what I thought to some of them judges."[citation needed] Hamilton was also European and Parliamentary Affairs Director of the Institute of Directors during this time.[7]

Political career[edit]

Success in Tatton[edit]

On 12 March 1983, after unsuccessfully contesting Bournemouth West and other constituencies, Hamilton was selected as the Conservative candidate for the newly created Tatton constituency. Three months later, at the 1983 general election Hamilton was elected to Parliament as MP for Tatton. Five days before the election, he married Christine Holman, then secretary to Michael Grylls MP, the Parliamentary spokesman for the Institute of Directors.[7]

Parliamentary career (1984 to 1994)[edit]

Trade & Industry Committee
On entering the Commons, Hamilton was appointed as an officer on the backbench committee on Trade & Industry under the chairmanship of Michael Grylls.[7]

Leaded petrol
In 1984, against party policy, Hamilton opposed the abandonment of leaded petrol in Britain. He argued there was no evidence that leaded petrol was damaging the environment and that jobs would be lost in his constituency if leaded petrol was banned.[8]

Western Goals Institute
Hamilton resumed his activities as a supporter of pressure-groups, notably the Western Goals Institute, led by ex-Young Monday Club Chairman, Andrew V.R. Smith and attracting the support of other parliamentarians such as Sir Patrick Wall, Bill Walker, Nicholas Winterton and the Revd. Martin Smyth he was on their parliamentary advisory board.[9] The Western Goals Institute achieved notoriety by inviting French National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Il Duce's granddaughter, Alessandra Mussolini (a Deputy sitting for the Italian neo-facsist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI)), to address fringe meetings at the 1992 Conservative Party conference. The Conservative Party Chairman, Sir Norman Fowler was outraged and stated the Conservative Party was not related to the Western Goals Institute. In the event the meetings were cancelled as neither le Pen nor Mussolini could come to Britain.[10]

No Turning Back Group
Hamilton also lent his support to the No Turning Back Group organised by his friend Michael Brown MP. Other MPs active in the No Turning Back Group included Michael Portillo, Peter Lilley, Alan Duncan and Gerald Howarth.[11]

Ian Greer Associates
In 1985, he began working with Ian Greer of Ian Greer Associates, submitting written questions and lobbying on behalf on Mohammed al-Fayeed.[12] Hamilton (together with Michael Brown) became an enthusiastic supporter of US Tobacco's 'Skoal Bandits' product, a tea-bag type of pouch of tobacco designed for chewing. The product was believed to cause serious risk of oral cancer, particularly for minors and the (Conservative) Government was inclined to ban its import. Hamilton claimed he supported the introduction of Skoal Bandits on libertarian grounds and lobbied ministers (including Edwina Curry and David Mellor) to allow its introduction. It transpired that both Hamilton and Brown took payments from Ian Greer Associates. The House of Commons Select Committee on Standards investigation stated; "Mr Hamilton and Mr Brown had a number of contacts with Ministers and officials as part of their campaign to influence Government policy on Skoal Bandits. The departmental papers suggest the following pattern of activity between May 1988 and July 1989 (the period covered by the staged commission payments from Mr Greer for the introduction of US Tobacco)." Hamilton was obliged to concede he had been wrong to make no reference to the payment "when I went on those meetings with Ministers. "[13]

Strategy Network International - Derek Laud
In June 1990, Hamilton was recruited by the right-wing Monday Club activist Derek Laud to work for Strategy Network International, the firm specifically created to lobby against anti apartheid, economic sanctions and for the Apartheid's South Africa's 'transitional government' of Namibia set up in defiance of UN resolution 435 on Namibian independence. Derek Laud was an ex-Monday Club activist and protégé of Hamilton's friend, Michael Brown, who offered Hamilton a fee of £8,000 per year. Hamilton failed to registere the paid-for consultancy. Hamilton took free trips to South Africa in the company of Brown.[14][15]

Thatcher leadership contest
Thatcher made Hamilton whip in July 1990. In November 1990, Michael Heseltine initiated a leadership challenge to Margaret Thatcher. Despite being told by the Chief Whip to stay neutral, Hamilton claims he ignored this instruction. "I naturally ignored this advice and fed all my intelligence into her campaign." He claims too, to have made the fateful suggestion she interview each cabinet member individually, believing they would lack the resolve to tell her to her face, she must go. "Unfortunately, I had miscalculated."[16] Hamilton strongly encouraged Thatcher to persist. At a meeting where Peter Lilley argued that Thatcher could not survive, Hamilton subjected him to a barrage of "sarcasm and heckling".[17] On 21 November 1990, Hamilton and like-minded colleagues met Thatcher at Downing Street. Thatcher did subsequently resign and Hamilton voted for John Major.[18]

John Major's Government
From April 1992 to October 1994, Hamilton was the "minister for deregulation and corporate affairs" in John Major's government.

William Hague's leadership
Following Hamilton's ejection from Tatton and the Conservative defeat in the 1997 election, the new party leader, William Hague, sought to distance the Conservative Party from the disgraced Hamilton and asked Hamilton to stay away from the party conference.[19]

Approach to the Maastricht Treaty[edit]

Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty on 2 June 1992. Hamilton and some other conservative ministers had also opposed the treaty. Despite this, Hamilton remained, for a time, loyal to the Major government which endorsed the treaty. Hamilton urged his colleagues not to resign over the Treaty and other current issues.

After Hamilton resigned in October 1994, he voted in a 1995 leadership ballot. Hamilton supported Michael Portillo, and when Portillo did not contest the leadership, he voted for John Redwood.

Loss of Tatton[edit]

Prior to the 1997 General Election, Hamilton determined to attempt to retain his parliamentary seat. His majority at the 1992 General Election had been almost 16,000 votes. In 1997, Tatton was the fourth safest Conservative seat in Britain. Hamilton was under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (See The cash for questions enquiry, below) and some party members thought he should stand down after the collapse of his case against The Guardian.[20] Disquiet in the local association became public, but the majority gave him the benefit of the doubt.[21] Hamilton resisted the pressure from senior Conservatives and Conservative Central Office to stand down. Indeed, Jeremy Paxman states, Conservative Central Office "begged him not to stand, but in a gesture of overweening arrogance, he refused to go quietly."[22] On 8 April 1997, Hamilton was chosen as the Tory candidate for Tatton (182 for, 35 against, 100 abstained). The Observer commissioned ICM polls in the constituencies of the three Conservative candidates tainted by scandal and seeking re-election: Hamilton, Allan Stewart and Piers Merchant. Both Stewart and Merchant were found to have support consistent with their party's standing, but in Tatton, "there was massive hostility to Hamilton".[23]

When Martin Bell, a well-known BBC war correspondent, announced he would stand as an independent candidate in Tatton, the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates for the area stood down in order to give Bell a clear run against Hamilton. Bell trounced Hamilton, winning by a majority of over 11,000 votes with a swing of 48%. Although Hamilton vowed to return to parliament, this defeat marked the end of his political career in the Conservative Party. In March 1999, George Osborne was selected by the Tatton Conservative Association to be their candidate for the following general election.

United Kingdom Independence Party[edit]

In September 2011, Hamilton attended the annual conference of the United Kingdom Independence Party and let it be known that he was available to assist it. The party's leader Nigel Farage pledged to support him in the election for the National Executive Committee.[1] Hamilton was elected to the committee on 1 November 2011.[24] He later become deputy chairman of the party.[25] Hamilton was demoted from his role as campaign director in April 2014.[26] In the May 2014 local elections, he stood as a UKIP candidate in the St Mary's Park ward of Wandsworth London Borough Council and finished 8th of the 9 candidates with 396 votes.[27]

Controversy and legal cases[edit]

BBC libel case (1984 to 1986)[edit]

On 30 January 1984, a Panorama programme, "Maggie's Militant Tendency", was broadcast. The programme made a number of allegations regarding Hamilton's past and more recent activities. These included his attending and giving a fraternal speech in 1972 to the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) an Italian neo-facsist party led by one of Benito Mussolini's ex-ministers, Giorgio Almirante,[28] Hamilton's membership of the Eldon League, and his involvement with the Powellite faction of the Monday Club and the far-right activist, George Kennedy Young, the former Deputy Director of MI6. The programme also made the claim that Hamilton gave a Nazi salute in Berlin while 'messing around' on a parliamentary visit in August 1983. A Nazi salute is a criminal offence in the Federal Republic of Germany.[29] In October 1986, Hamilton and his fellow MP Gerald Howarth (one of his closest friends), sued the BBC for libel along with Phil Pedley, a former chairman of the National Young Conservatives, who had appeared on the programme.[30] According to The Guardian newspaper, Hamilton admitted in The Sunday Times that he did give "a little salute with two fingers to his nose to give the impression of a toothbrush moustache."[30]

The prosecution was financed by Sir James Goldsmith[31] and Taki, The Spectator columnist. David Davis, then a director of Tate and Lyle, persuaded that company to donate a sum to the cause. Lord Harris of High Cross (who helped to finance Hamilton's failed libel action against Mohammed Al-Fayed 13 years later), also raised approximately £100,000.[32]

During the case, Hamilton said he saw himself as "the Mike Yarwood of the Federation of Conservative Students,[33] and that he frequently did impressions of public figures such as Frankie Howerd, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, Charles De Gaulle and Enoch Powell. Hamilton claimed he had coloured himself black in 1982 to look like Idi Amin and dressed as Canon James Owen on a boat on the River Cam.[34] He claimed he would have twenty character witnesses: "My main character witness was going to be Norman St John Stevas."[35] In a Sunday Times article, Hamilton denied there was any malicious intent behind the salute. He also pointed out that one person present at the incident, Julian Lewis, was a Jew and that a "number of his relatives were killed by the Nazis during the war".[35]

BBC Collapse
In mid-trial and without cross-examining Hamilton, the BBC capitulated on 21 October 1986. The Director-General, Alasdair Milne, stated he was instructed to do so by the Governors of the BBC. The corporation was directed to pay the men's legal costs. Hamilton and Howarth were awarded £20,000 each and in the next edition of Panorama, on 27 October, the BBC made an unreserved apology.[36] The settlement of the case raised serious concerns regarding political pressure and the intimidation of witnesses. Before the BBC defence lawyers had an opportunity to interrogate Hamilton, the Board of Governors met during the trial and instructed the BBC Board of Management to settle the case. "...the BBC executives at this meeting expressed serious doubts about the decision. It was pointed out the BBC had not even begun to put it's case".[37]

The National Young Conservatives hinted at a stitch-up at the BBC. The chairman, Richard Fuller, told the Eastern Area Young Conservatives, "I find it strange that they have apparently decided to settle now, when things appeared to be going well."[38] Attention focussed on the actions of Malcolm McAlpine, a cousin of Alistair McAlpine, the treasurer of the Conservative Party. "He denied yesterday that he had promised Mr Hamilton that he could "deliver" the governors behind a settlement."[38]

Witness allegations
In the immediate aftermath of the BBC settlement, allegations of witness intimidation abounded. A BBC internal memorandum to the Board of Management claimed some 17 witnesses had been intimidated to change their testimony.[39] A BBC source stated, "Nearly all the defence witnesses have had a quiet word in their ears. Only two or three people connected with Tory politics who would have given vital evidence for us now stick to their testimony. Some previously expressed disgust at incidents they had witnessed. Now they claim to have witnessed nothing."[40]

Howarth and Hamilton said the case against Pedley would not be dropped and Pedley said he would not be joining the BBC decision. The Financial Times reported, "A solicitor for Mr Hamilton and Mr Howarth said later that their linked libel action against Mr Philip Pedley... would continue. Mr Pedley indicated that he intends to continue the case." [41]

The media began to focus on the remaining unsettled case. The Guardian reported that "The spotlight had swivelled to Phil Pedley, the Tory defendant who remained adamant he would fight on alone, backed by independent funds and, he claims, a wide range of Conservative supporters."[42] Pedley did not name the supporters but the then chairman of the Young Conservatives, Richard Fuller, pledged financial support to the fight and in a meeting with Jeffrey Archer, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, and Fuller refused to back down.[43]

Labour accused Conservative Central Office of organising a cover up over claims that Hamilton had given a Nazi salute on a Konrad Adenaur visit to Berlin and sought to question the then party chairman, Norman Tebbit.[44] Dale Campbell-Savours claimed he had evidence in the form of a letter from Phil Pedley to the former Party Chairman, John Selwyn Gummer, demonstrating Conservative Central Office (CCO) had contacted witnesses.[45] Tebbit confirmed one witness had been in touch with CCO. "I am aware that one potential witness sought advice from Central Office but was told that no advice could be given..." Tebbit accused Campbell Savours of making his accusations behind the cloak of parliamentary privilege and left the chamber to make his reply. "My staff are appalled and disgusted. They are filled with contempt for a man who can make these sort of accusations of a criminal offence against a member of staff, who, Mr Campbell-Savours knows damn well, is not guilty of it." [46]

On 25 October, the press reported new evidence of inappropriate witness contact.[47] Later that day, Hamilton announced that he was dropping the action against Pedley. However Pedley reaffirmed he, "had no intention of withdrawing from the case."[48] Hamilton's announcement failed to quell demands for an enquiry and Campbell-Savours denounced Tebbit's tactic of making his statements outside the House of Commons chamber, accusing him of "a deliberate ploy to avoid placing himself in contempt by misleading the House in a personal statement". He invited Tebbit to make a statement in the House. "If he refuses, then the country will know that a conspiracy of silence is being engineered by senior figures to hide the truth."[49][50] More information appeared in the press alleging witness interference, including the Hogan Memorandum, the internal BBC document listing the witnesses who had changed their account.[51] The Independent revealed the existence of a taped conversation of a Tory witness being 'shaken rigid' by Central Office's suggestion that the Berlin events had not happened and "no other witness would substantiate or I've evidence about those alleged incidents".[52]

Campbell-Savours claimed this was proof of BBC nobbling and announced that he was sending his evidence to Sir Michael Havers, the Attorney General.[53] In the Commons, Campbell-Savours stated, "Central Office set about an elaborate attempt to interfere directly with potential witnesses. Attempts were made to manage and rig statements by Mr. David Mitchell. I repeat what I have said previously, but additionally I am able to say today that there is a tape in existence that confirms the nature of the conspiracy to hide the truth, and which identifies persons. Today I have sent a transcript of that tape to the Attorney-General. I have to inform you, Mr. Speaker, that it is but one of two tapes. I await a transcript of the second tape." [54]

Statement contradictions
Press interest turned to Hamilton's past statements about the Berlin visit, over which Tory witnesses were alleged to have been pressured to say that they had seen not goose-stepping or Nazi style salutes. Hamilton had given a categorical denial he had made a Nazi salute in Berlin to John Selwyn Gummer, the Party Chairman, in January 1984:

"Dear John... I make it absolutely clear that, whilst in Berlin, I did not do any goose-stepping nor did I at any time give Nazi salutes. Indeed, I have always thought the latter was a criminal offence in the Federal Republic."

But, writing in the Sunday Times, Hamilton admitted making "a little salute" in the Reichstag.[55]

Dropping of libel action against the Young Conservatives
Hamilton and Howarth reversed their earlier position and dropped their libel action against Pedley. They said that extracting an apology from Pedley was not "worth the bother".[56] On 3 December 1986, Pedley refused the offered settlement terms and asked for a hearing in open court. Justice Simon Brown ruled that Hamilton and Howarth be debarred from alleging Pedley's words were libel and should pay Pedley's costs.[57]

Pedley made a statement from the steps to say, he stood by his words in the Panorama programme and re-stated he had never said the MP's were Nazis, rather their behaviour was part of a pattern that would harm the Party and in the case of Hamilton's Berlin behaviour, the Final YC Report accused Hamilton of 'batty eccentricity.' On the more substantive allegations Pedley said he reiterated the points made in the YC Report had been called into question. 'I consider I have the responsibility to vindicate the good work done by the members of that committee. Several have endured abuse and hate mail following publication of their names in the Young National Front paper Bulldog and other extremist papers. I hope this will now cease, together with set-ups and the surveillance and harassment of other witnesses; in my case by private security companies.' [58][59]

In December 1986, Hamilton was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Mitchell.

Cash-for-questions[edit]

On 20 October 1994, The Guardian published an article which claimed that Hamilton and another minister, Tim Smith, had received money, in the form of cash in brown envelopes. It claimed the money was paid to the men by Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods. In return, the men were to ask questions on behalf of Al-Fayed in the House of Commons. Smith admitted his guilt and resigned immediately. Hamilton claimed innocence but was forced to resign five days later, on 25 October 1994.

The action against The Guardian[edit]

Hamilton brought legal action for libel against The Guardian. Hamilton joined Ian Greer, a parliamentary lobbyist, as a co-plaintiff. In the process, the Bill of Rights 1689 was amended by the Defamation Act 1996 to allow statements made in Parliament to be questioned in court.[60]

On 30 September 1996, the day before the start of the trial, Hamilton and Greer settled, citing a conflict of interest and lack of funds. The Guardian greeted the Hamilton collapse with the headline 'A Liar and a Cheat'. Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said, "The decision by Neil Hamilton and Ian Greer must be one of the most astonishing legal cave-ins in the history of the law of libel" and called for the issues to be examined by Sir Gordon Downey, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and the Inland Revenue.[61] They each paid £7,500 towards paper's legal costs. All the "cash-for-questions" evidence was sent to Sir Gordon Downey, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.[62] On 1 October 1996, Hamilton appeared on the evening television program, Newsnight, and engaged in a live debate with Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian.

The cash for questions enquiry[edit]

The "cash for questions" parliamentary enquiry took place in 1997, led by Downey. Hamilton vowed that if the "Downey report" found against him, he would resign.

Edwina Currie, a former health minister, gave evidence. She told the inquiry that, in May 1988, Hamilton had been unmoved by a set of photographs that depicted smoking related cancers; that is, harm to young people which might be caused by a product (tobacco) that he promoted.[63] Hamilton argued the pictures were irrelevant. Both Hamilton and Michael Brown had received a £6,000 honorarium and hospitality from Skoal Bandits.[64] In late 1989, Thatcher banned the sale of Skoal Bandit products in the UK.

Downey reported that he found the evidence against Hamilton in the case of Al-Fayed "compelling". Hamilton received over £25,000 and had deliberately misled Michael Heseltine, then President of the Board of Trade, in October 1994, when he said he had no financial relationship with Ian Greer. In a phone conversation, Hamilton gave an absolute assurance to Heseltine that there was no such relationship. In fact, he had received two payments from Greer in 1988 and 1989, totalling £10,000.[65] Hamilton had asked for payment in kind[clarification needed] so the money would not be taxable. He also failed to register his stays at the Hôtel Ritz Paris and at Al-Fayed's castle in Scotland in 1989.

On 3 July 1997, the enquiry found Hamilton guilty of taking "cash for questions". The Independent wrote: 'Sir Gordon, contrary to Hamilton's confident expectations, had no compunction about concluding that he did indeed take cash in brown envelopes' and called the new Party Leader to 'expel the miscreants.' [66] Hamilton, Smith (also found guilty), Brown and Michael Grylls were harshly criticised. If Hamilton and Smith had remained in parliament, Downey said he might have recommended long periods of suspension for both. Hamilton rejected these findings, whereas Smith, who had stood down, accepted them, apologised for his conduct, and retired from politics altogether.

The libel action against Al-Fayed[edit]

Hamilton also brought a legal action for libel against Mohamed Al-Fayed. On 16 January 1997, Al-Fayed appeared in an edition of the Dispatches documentary series on Channel 4.[67] He claimed that Hamilton had demanded and had accepted cash payments of up to £110,000,[68] Harrods' gift vouchers and a free holiday at the Hôtel Ritz Paris in 1987, in return for asking questions in Parliament on behalf of Harrods. While Hamilton did not deny the holiday, he continued to maintain that he was innocent of improper conduct.

On 31 July 1998, Hamilton's action was approved for a court listing. Funds for the action were donated by Lord Harris of High Cross, the Earl of Portsmouth and Taki, who raised £50,000.[69] Other contributors to the fund included Simon Heffer, Norris McWhirter (a Scots Tory), Peter Clarke, Lord Bell, Gyles Brandreth and Gerald Howarth (Hamilton's co-plaintiff in the BBC action). Some Tory MPs (approximately 40 of the 165) also made contributions. In total, approximately £410,000 was raised.[70]

The jury trial commenced in November 1999. Hamilton and his wife were cross-examined by George Carman QC. Carman put to Hamilton that he had acted corruptly to demand and then take £10,000 from Mobil Oil in 1989 for the tabling of an amendment to a finance bill. At the time, Hamilton was a member of a Commons select committee on finance.[71] Al-Fayed said Hamilton had taken the money either in brown envelope cash payments or through Ian Greer. Hamilton said in his own evidence: "I have never received a penny from Mr Fayed; I have never asked".[72] His counsel, in the closing comments, argued that Al-Fayed's assertions had destroyed his client's reputation.[73] On 21 December 1999, the jury unanimously decided in favour of the defence.[74]

A year later, Hamilton lost an appeal against his loss of the libel case.[75][76]

Appeals[edit]

On 14 October 1997, Hamilton made an appeal to a new committee. On 6 November, the committee only partially endorsed Downey's report, but still criticised Hamilton's behaviour whilst an MP.

In April 2001, Hamilton was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords. On 22 May 2001, unable to pay his legal fees and with costs amounting to some £3m, Hamilton declared bankruptcy. He was discharged from bankruptcy in May 2004.

Wrongful rape accusation[edit]

On 10 August 2001, the Hamiltons were arrested by police who were investigating an alleged rape. The Hamilton's claimed they could not have been present at the alleged rape scene because they were hosting a dinner party and produced alibi's including Derek Laud.[77] The investigation against the couple was dropped when it became apparent that the accusations were entirely false. This event was recorded on film by Louis Theroux, who, at that time, was embedded with the Hamiltons for an episode of his documentary series When Louis Met....[78]

In June 2003, the woman who had fabricated the accusation of rape, Nadine Milroy-Sloan, was sentenced to three years in jail for perverting the course of justice.[79][80] In February 2005, the publicist Max Clifford, who had acted for Milroy-Sloan, settled, paying Hamilton an undisclosed sum.

Television personality[edit]

Hamilton's career took an unusual turn on 9 May 1997 when he and his wife, Christine, appeared on the current affairs satire quiz Have I Got News For You. The episode was recorded one week after Hamilton lost his seat. Angus Deayton, the presenter of the panel game, wore a white suit instead of his usual brown one. This was a humorous reference to Martin Bell, who wore just such a suit throughout the 1997 general election campaign. As a further taunt, at the end of the show, the Hamiltons were handed their "fee" in brown envelopes. At one point Hamilton quipped, "I've found it's much better making political jokes than being one."

Since then, the Hamiltons have appeared on chat shows. They have also appeared on programmes such as The Weakest Link and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, as well as in pantomime. In an appearance on a celebrity edition of Mastermind on Boxing Day 2004, Hamilton described himself as being "an object of professional curiosity". He appeared in Da Ali G Show in 2000.

Political ideology[edit]

Hamilton held strong conservative views. He opposed trade unions, immigration and child benefits. He supported free market economics, privatisation of public bodies and the continuance of capital punishment. Hamilton was in favour of coal mine closures and the development of nuclear power as an alternative. He also encouraged the preservation of the Welsh national language.

Hamilton argued for the individual's right to smoke. He was the only member in committee to oppose the Conservative government's bill to outlaw trafficking in human organs.[81] In April 1986, Hamilton was one of ten MPs to vote against the government on an EEC bill. Hamilton was a member of the "No Turning Back group", a part of the Conservative Party calling for the privatisation of schools and the National Health Service, which he described as "vast monoliths".

Parliamentary wit[edit]

Hamilton was a provocative and outspoken parliamentarian. He was combative in the House of Commons. Although he made jibes against the Labour Party, he respected Eric Heffer and a few others.[82] (Hamilton attended Heffer's memorial service on 10 July 1991). In November 1989, Hamilton won the Spectator parliamentary wit of the year award. He jokingly remarked that when told of winning the award, he thought it was for being the "Twit of the year".[83]

  • During a debate about amputees: Frank Dobson "does not have a leg to stand on". (January 1987)[84]
  • To Jeremy Corbyn: "some of [his] IRA friends could be used to get rid of pensioners by shooting them."(1987)[85]
  • During a debate when Greville Janner said he had lost half of his family in the Holocaust: "Unfortunately, the wrong half." (2009)[86]

Personal life[edit]

On 4 June 1983, five days before polling day in the 1983 general election, Hamilton married Mary Christine Holman in Cornwall. She was the secretary to the Tory MP, Michael Grylls.[87] In September 2003, after living in the Tatton constituency for twenty years, the Hamiltons moved to Hullavington, Wiltshire. They purchased a home there in October 2004.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Neil Hamilton joins UKIP's Nigel Farage show". BBC News. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "HAMILTON, (Mostyn) Neil", Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2012; online edn, November 2012, accessed 19 September 2013
  3. ^ Aber Connect: Mr M N Hamilton
  4. ^ "Notes of the month: Parliamentary privilege". Socialist Review (180). SWP. November 1994. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  5. ^ BBC News Election 97 (Archived at Wayback Machine.) Accessed 23 May 2014
  6. ^ Guy Rais, "Goose-step not backing Nazism says Tory MP", Daily Telegraph, 16 October 1986
  7. ^ a b c David Leigh & Ed Vulliamy, Sleaze, the Corruption of Parliament, pages 48/49, ISBN 185702-694-2
  8. ^ "Petrol (Lead and Benzene Content)". Hansard. 1984:69. House of Commons. 4 December 1984. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Labour Research, November 1988, p.2.
  10. ^ Independent: Anti-fascists plan Tory protest, 30th September 1992
  11. ^ David Leigh & Ed Vulliamy, Sleaze, the Corruption of Parliament, page 76, ISBN 185702-694-2
  12. ^ David Leigh & Ed Vulliamy, Sleaze, the Corruption of Parliament, pages 65/70, ISBN 185702-694-2
  13. ^ Hansard: Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report: VI. SUMMARIZING THE EVIDENCE - Continued 7. ALLEGATIONS RELATING TO NON-DECLARATION OF INTERESTS b. The Campaign relating to Skoal Bandits
  14. ^ Patricia Wynn Davies, "The Attack on Sleaze: How apartheid regime set out to woo Tories", The Independent, 26 October 1994
  15. ^ David Leigh & Ed Vulliamy, Sleaze, the Corruption of Parliament, page 136, ISBN 185702-694-2
    Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report iv. STRATEGY NETWORK INTERNATIONAL, Hansard
  16. ^ Neil Hamilton in Iain Dale (ed) Memories of Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait, By Those Who Knew Her Best (Biteback Publishing, 2013) ISBN 184954607X
  17. ^ Bruce Anderson, John Major – Making of the Prime Minister (1991)
  18. ^ Christine Hamilton's autobiography – 2005
  19. ^ "Profile: Neil Hamilton", BBC News, 10 August 2001
  20. ^ The 1997 General Election edited by D. T. Denver Page 83. ISBN 0714649090
  21. ^ "Neil Hamilton should step down as Knutsford's MP now, a true blue Tory argued this week", Warrington Guardian, 9 October 1996
  22. ^ Jeremy Paxman, The Political Animal, 2002, ISBN 9780141032962
  23. ^ Bruce Page, The Murdoch Archipelago, 2003, ISBN 9781849837798
  24. ^ "Hamilton back with NEC post". UKIP. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "NEC", UKIP
  26. ^ Lucy Fisher, "Ukip demotes Neil Hamilton as party fears over sleaze grow." The Observer, p24, 20 April 2014. Accessed 23 May 2014.
  27. ^ "St Mary's Park Ward results". Wandsworth London Borough Council. .
  28. ^ "Parliament Debate on Recommendation to Strip Msi Leader of His Immunity", JTA, 24 May 1973
  29. ^ Robert Kahn, Holocaust Denial and the Law: A Comparative Study, p. 15. (2004) ISBN 9781403964762
  30. ^ a b Wilson, Jamie (22 December 1999). "Who will listen to his story now?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  31. ^ Marcel Berlins "Price of backing a loser", The Guardian, 31 January 2000
  32. ^ Sengupta, Kim (22 December 1999). "The Hamilton Affair: The cost – Right-wing donors united by their loathing of Fayed". The Independent (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  33. ^ Daily Telegraph, 17 October 1986
  34. ^ The Daily Telegraph, October 1986
  35. ^ a b Neil Hamilton, Sunday Times News in Focus feature, 26 October 1986
  36. ^ The Times, 28 October 1986
  37. ^ Simon Freeman and Henry Porter, "BBC to settle Tory libel case", Sunday Times, 19 October 1986.
  38. ^ a b Peter Fiddick and Dennis Barker, "BBC in crisis over libel case deal", The Guardian, 20 October 1986
  39. ^ Hamilton and Howarth v. British Broadcasting Corporation, Hansard, HC Deb 31 October 1986 vol 103 c272W
  40. ^ John Merritt, "Tories Nobble BBC Claim", The Daily Mirror, 20 October 1986
    Anne Spackman, "New evidence emerges in BBC Libel Case", The Independent, 25 October 1986
  41. ^ David Thomas, Raymond Hughes and Michael Cassall, "MP urges resignations at BBC after libel settlement", Financial Times, 22 October 1986.
  42. ^ "Fighting on alone", The Guardian, 22 October 1986
  43. ^ David Sapsted, "MP's get damages", The Times, 20 October 1986
    Dennis Barker and Peter Fiddick, "Young Tory in Archer Meeting", The Guardian, 21 October 1986
  44. ^ PMQs, Hansard, HC Deb, 21 October 1986 vol 102 cc940-6
    Ivor Owen, "Labour calls for statement on alleged libel case interference", Financial Times, 22 October 1986
    John Pienaar, "Tebbit leaning on Tories over BBC", The Independent, 22 October 1986
  45. ^ BBC (Court Case), Hansard, HC Deb 23 October 1986 vol 102 cc1307-10
  46. ^ Anthony Bevins, "Top Tory named in BBC Row", The Independent, 24 October 1986
    Alan Travis, "Labour accuses Tories of Libel Pressure", The Guardian, 24 October 1986
  47. ^ Anne Spackman, "New Evidence emerges in BBC libel case", The Independent, 25 October 1986
  48. ^ David Hencke, "MP drops Young Tory libel action", The Guardian, 27 October 1986
  49. ^ Anthony Bevans, "Tebbit challenged to make statement on BBC case", The Independent, 28 October 1986
  50. ^ Alan Travis, "Tory Squeeze Claim", The Guardian, 28 October 1986
  51. ^ Alan Travis, "Tory Squeeze claim", The Guardian, 28 October 1986
  52. ^ Anne Spackman and Anthony Bevins, "BBC witness shaken rigid", The Independent, 29 October 1986
  53. ^ James Naughtie, "MP claims tape proof of BBC nobbling", The Guardian, 5 November 1986
  54. ^ BBC Libel Action, Hansard, 4 November 1986
  55. ^ Neil Hamilton News in Focus feature, Sunday Times, 26 October 1986
    David Leigh and Paul Lashmar, Nazi Salute storm refuses to die down", The Observer, 2 November 1986
    Paul Foot, "Spot the Goose", Daily Mirror, 3 November 1986
  56. ^ The Times, 27 October 1986
  57. ^ The Financial Times, 4 December 1986
    High Court written judgement, 14 July 1987
  58. ^ Pedley Prepared Court Statement 3rd December 1986
  59. ^ Time Out: A thoroughly moderate man 17th December 1986
  60. ^ Robert Shrimsley, "Guardian Case MP seeks law change", Financial Times, 15 February 1996
    Only Flattery is Safe': Political Speech and the Defamation Act 1996
  61. ^ David Hencke, David Leigh and David Pallister, "A Liar and a Cheat", The Guardian, 1 October 1996
    The Guardian front page, 1 October 1996
  62. ^ BBC News Timeline of Hamilton Cash for Questions Case
  63. ^ The Independent, 5 July 1997
  64. ^ The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons – Standards and Privileges – First Report". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  65. ^ The Independent, 4 July 1997
  66. ^ Donald McIntyre, "A clear response to the cash for questions MPs", The Independent, 4 July 1997
  67. ^ "Appendix 33 - continued: Appendix 1 Channel 4 and Fourth Estate Press Releases", Select Committee on Standards and Privileges First Report, House of Commons, January 1997
  68. ^ "Hamilton loses libel case", BBC News, 21 December 1999
  69. ^ "The odd couple behind the odd couple", BBC News, 23 December 1999
  70. ^ The Independent, 23 December 1999
  71. ^ "The undoing of Neil Hamilton". BBC News. 22 December 1999. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  72. ^ Matt Wells "'I lacked candour but I am not corrupt'", The Guardian, 11 December 1999
  73. ^ "Hamilton's 'tragedy' was to help Al Fayed", The Guardian, 16 December 1999
  74. ^ Matt Wells, et al "A greedy, corrupt liar", The Guardian, 22 December 1999
  75. ^ "Neil Hamilton loses libel appeal", theguardian.com. 21 December 2000
  76. ^ "Neil Hamilton loses libel appeal". BBC News. 21 December 2000. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  77. ^ Telegraph: Dinner guests whose testimony will count. Tara Womersley and Peter Foster 13th Aug 2001
  78. ^ "Theroux hits gold with Hamiltons". BBC News. 11 December 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  79. ^ "Hamiltons relieved as accuser jailed". BBC News. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  80. ^ "Nadine Milroy Sloan, Christine and Neil Hamilton, false accusation". Deabirkett.com. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  81. ^ Robert Barr (Associated Press), "London Kidneys-for-Cash Scandal Prompts Action to Ban Sale of Organs", Los Angeles Times, 16 July 1989
  82. ^ Hansard, 15 December 1989
  83. ^ The Times, 22 October 1994
  84. ^ 3.32 pm (29 January 1987). "J. E. Hanger and Co. Ltd.". Hansard. House of Commons. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  85. ^ "Elimination of poverty in old age etc.". Hansard. House of Commons. 1 December 1987. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  86. ^ [1][dead link]
  87. ^ Andrew Roth, "Sir Michael Grylls: Conservative MP exposed in cash-for-questions investigation" (obituary), The Guardian, 24 February 2001

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Tatton
19831997
Succeeded by
Martin Bell