Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Lewis Silkin Solicitors

  We act for and are instructed by Mr Mihir Bose the well known sports journalist for The Daily Telegraph.

  We refer to the meeting of the Culture Media and Sport Committee which is being held at the House of Commons over the past few weeks. In particular we refer to the examination of Mr Ken Bates, Chairman of Chelsea, which took place on 1 March 2001

  During the course of his examination Mr Bates is reported to have said:

  "As I have said already, I do not think the Government should have interfered in the first place; they should have been on the sidelines cheering us on and we could have got the project done. We have had 19 months — I know she will be here in due course to give her point of view—and this has been consistently undermined and she has been feeding it to the press all the time. It is known that she has been using the conduit to feed it to the press based totally on ignorance and unfortunately some members of the press, and Mihir Bose is an extreme example, have just printed what she has told them without any checking of the facts at all."

  The allegation that our client is prepared to prostitute his journalistic integrity in order to simply act as a conduit for a Minister of the Government is an outrageous and serious allegation. In addition, there is a second allegation made against Mr Bose that he has published information provided by the Government Minister without bothering to check any of the facts. Again, this is a most serious allegation to levy against an experienced journalist.

  There is of course no truth whatsoever in any of these allegations.

  Our client has already been the subject of vilification by Mr Bates in articles published by him in The Sunday People, particularly in The Sunday People of 29 October 2000 when similar allegations were made against our client, and also in correspondence sent to our client's sports editor. In both instances we have written and sought apologies and are advising our client as to his rights in this regard.

  Our immediate concern on behalf of our client is that he has the opportunity to respond to these allegations made by Mr Bates prior to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee concluding the taking of evidence. We would be grateful if you would please allow him to do so, personally. Should you not be prepared to do so then we would hope you will communicate the text of his rebuttal to such allegations, in which ever way you felt appropriate, at one of the Committee's sittings and have it incorporated in your published report.

  Select Committees are known for their fairness and thoroughness, and as Chairman of the Committee we are sure you will be concerned to ensure that any individual who is gratuitously attacked should be given the right to respond, and indeed to answer any questions your Committee may wish to ask. Naturally, Mr Bose understands that he should not use such an occasion, nor would he wish to, to deal with other than rebutting the specific allegations made to the Committee and we give an assurance on his behalf to that effect.

  We look forward to hearing from you.

March 2001

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