This document is taken from Section Three of:-
The Webs They Weave
The activities of eight people led to The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ article - four of whom have a curious shared interest in the British and US intelligence services
Jonathan Boyd Hunt
Dale Campbell-Savours 3
Adam Raphael 4
Bob Cryer 4
Andrew Roth 5
Peter Preston 6
David Leigh 6
David Hencke 8
Mark Hollingsworth 9
Dale Campbell-Savours MP (now Lord Campbell-Savours)
A former backbench Labour MP and a regular member of the Members’ Interests Committee - the parliamentary watchdog on MPs’ probity. He abused his position on the committee routinely in collusion with The Guardian’s Left-wing journalists. Like his fellow Committee member, Labour MP Bob Cryer, throughout his time as an MP he was a vociferous opponent of professional parliamentary lobbyists and a manic pursuer of Conservative MPs accused of failing to register outside interests.
Since the early 1980s Campbell-Savours has been a confidant of several hard-Left journalists for whom he tabled parliamentary questions regularly to acquire information on intelligence matters. In particular he collaborates routinely with Guardian-linked political journalists whose articles, books, TV documentaries or other activities demonstrate a collective keen interest in the workings of the British and American security services. They include Guardian/Granada TV journalists David Leigh, Mark Hollingsworth; and Andrew Roth, with all of whom he conspired to promote The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ campaign and subsequent cover-up.
Typical of the parliamentary questions that Campbell-Savours tabled for these journalists during the 1980s include scores of questions about Polaris & Trident missile systems; the Zircon spy satellite; and the Skynet 4B & 4C military satellites (including questions about their orbit position and purpose).
At all times Campbell-Savours submersed his most sensitive inquiries within a sea of other questions calling for named journalists who had written about security issues — including his collaborator and close friend David Leigh — to be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. Through such crude camouflage Campbell-Savours escaped detection by maintaining the illusion that his motivation for asking sensitive intelligence questions was borne out of a genuine concern for national security.
As mentioned, Campbell-Savours is also a confidant of Guardian political journalist Andrew Roth, who, most interestingly, has since been unmasked as the former US naval intelligence officer Lieutenant Andrew Roth, who escaped America after WWII after being caught by the FBI passing top-secret documents to a Soviet agent named Philip Jaffe. Even more interestingly, during the late 1990s Campbell-Savours sat on Parliament’s Security & Intelligence Committee, which its Conservative chairman Tom King MP described as having “access to the top secret workings of the Intelligence and Security Agencies”. During the three years up to June 2001 that he sat in this most sensitive of posts Campbell-Savours had access to classified documents and toured many top secret establishments, including the British General Communications Headquarters eavesdropping complex based at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (GCHQ); and the top secret US “Echelon” communications surveillance centre at RAF Menwith Hill, Yorkshire.
Campbell-Savours, Leigh, Hollingsworth, and Roth all had leading roles in The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ campaign and in the paper’s subsequent conspiracy to pervert Sir Gordon Downey’s parliamentary inquiry (see the document in Section Two entitled “The brainwashing of a democratic state”).
Campbell-Savours’ collaboration with David Leigh had its genesis during the first weeks of 1984, over an Observer story written by Leigh insinuating that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had broken ministerial guidelines to favour the interests of her son, Mark. Though the Speaker of the Commons issued an early statement clearing the Prime Minister of any impropriety, Campbell-Savours’ and Leigh’s orchestration of the so-called “Cementation affair” resulted in a brouhaha that dogged the Thatcher administration until mid-April.
Their penchant for conspiracy deepened with a brilliant manipulation of the Members’ Interests Committee in 1989, in collusion with Mark Hollingsworth and Granada TV’s Charles Tremayne, which succeeded in destroying a libel action brought by Conservative MP John Browne over a defamatory article written by Hollingsworth & Leigh published during the 1987 general election (see profile of Hollingsworth for more).
Campbell-Savours’ most cynical activity, however, was taken at the behest of Guardian editor Peter Preston in cahoots with Leigh between March 1989 and July 1991. Together they hatched an audacious scheme to compel the Observer’s owners, Lonrho, to sell the paper over the head of Lonrho’s chief executive Tiny Rowland - whereupon Preston, who for years had tried to persuade Rowland to sell the paper, would snap it up as The Guardian’s Sunday broadsheet. However, though Rowland shrugged off Campbell-Savours’ parliamentary attacks casting him as a proprietor who ‘dictated’ stories to his staff, Campbell-Savours and Leigh also smeared the Observer’s journalists as ‘Rowland’s lapdogs’ to ensure that the charge would stick. As a result many Observer staff had their reputations ruined, including editor Donald Trelford; political editor Adam Raphael; City editor Melvyn Marckus, and financial journalists Lorana Sullivan & Michael Gillard.
Following the General Election of 2001, after nearly two decades of undetected subversive activities conducted in cahoots with David Leigh, Peter Preston, Hollingsworth, Roth and others, Dale Campbell-Savours moved to the House of Lords with his Guardian-created reputation, as “an assiduous MP”, intact.
[To download the documents chronicling The Guardian’s campaign to smear Tiny Rowland and the Observer’s editor and journalists see Section Eight]
Former Guardian journalist during the 1970s; and the Political Editor of the Sunday newspaper The Observer during the 1980s when the paper was owned by Lonrho plc, headed by controversial chief executive Tiny Rowland.
In 1984 and again in 1989 The Observer published leading articles by Raphael implying that lobbyist Ian Greer paid MPs to table parliamentary questions at £200 a time. These began the rumours about Ian Greer which eventually led to The Guardian's invented 'cash for questions' article of 20 October 1994 accusing Greer of having paid Conservative MPs Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton to table questions at £2,000 a time. But despite the fact that it was his own articles that had started the suspicions about Ian Greer in the first place, Raphael had no direct role in The Guardian's story nor any part in its subsequent cover-up.
Though Raphael worked alongside David Leigh at The Observer, he was not part of Leigh's inner circle made up by Campbell-Savours, Hollingsworth, and Roth. To the contrary, in March 1989 The Observer carried an article by Raphael alleging that BAe Tornado aircraft were being sold to Jordan at inflated prices to facilitate bribes to middlemen. As part of a covert campaign by The Guardian to denigrate Lonrho's ownership of The Observer Leigh complained to the paper's independent directors that the story was false, citing an interest held by Lonrho in BAe's rival, Dassault, to allege that Raphael had written it at Lonrho's behest. Working in league Campbell-Savours tabled several parliamentary motions decrying the article. When his complaint was dismissed Leigh resigned 'in protest', which The Guardian then reported disingenuously - thus creating the impression that the story was indeed a Lonrho 'plant' - and smearing Raphael accordingly [see Section Eight].
Bob Cryer (1934-1994)
A backbench Labour MP, and a regular Member of the Members’ Interests Committee. Like his fellow Committee member Dale-Campbell-Savours MP, since the 1970s up to his tragic death Bob Cryer was a vociferous opponent of professional parliamentary lobbyists (of all political hues) and an ardent campaigner against MPs (of all parties) having outside interests.
During a Commons debate on professional parliamentary lobbyists on 28 June 1993, Bob Cryer berated Conservative lobbyist Ian Greer for failing to disclose the names of two MPs to whom he had given commission payments for introducing clients. It was this, Cryer’s outburst, which prompted The Guardian’s editor, Peter Preston, to instigate an investigation into Greer in early July 1993 to try and find out who the MPs were, which started off the whole ‘cash for questions’ fiasco (see “The brainwashing of a democratic state” in Section Two).
Bob Cryer died in a car accident on 12 April 1994, eight months before The Guardian published its invented article accusing Greer of bribing MPs.
Andrew Roth is known mainly as the US-born compiler of Parliamentary Profiles, the journal on British MPs' interests and voting traits. Roth is also a contributing obituary editor for The Guardian, and a confidant of leftwing activists, in particular Guardian journalists David Leigh & Mark Hollingsworth, and former Labour MP (now Lord) Dale Campbell-Savours.
Apart from all of the above having key roles in The Guardian's 'cash for questions' affair, over the years Roth, Leigh, Hollingsworth and Campbell-Savours have also demonstrated an abiding common interest in matters relating to the British and American intelligence services.
In his 1999 book Venona: the greatest secret of the cold war author Nigel West (aka former Conservative MP Rupert Allason) reveals that Roth is actually the former U.S. Naval Intelligence officer Lieutenant Andrew Roth, who fled a Grand Jury indictment issued in August 1948 after he was caught by the FBI passing classified documents to a Russian spy named Philip Jaffe, who edited a magazine entitled Amerasia based in offices on 225 Fifth Avenue, New York. Roth only escaped immediate incarceration because the FBI had used illicit surveillance methods.
Shortly after settling in England Roth was taken on by The Guardian as the parliamentary correspondent for its sister paper The Manchester Evening News. In tandem Roth published a political newsletter entitled "Westminster Confidential", which in 1963 broke the sensational story that the Conservative Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had shared the favours of a prostitute with a Russian Naval Intelligence officer by the name of Eugene Ivanov. Given his own contacts with the Soviets it is open to speculation as to how Roth came by the story.
But of all his activities Andrew Roth is most famous for producing Parliamentary Profiles, listing all MPs' registered interests, political hobby-horses, and tittle-tattle. In this regard Roth also compiles and supplies detailed dossiers on MPs for clients to special order as a sideline. Most interestingly, research undertaken during 1994 of the KGB's archives in Lubyanka Square, Moscow, revealed that Roth had supplied the KGB during the 1960s with at least one such dossier on a British MP -- a 9,000 word profile of the Labour MP and publisher Robert Maxwell. Though Roth later admitted supplying the dossier, he denied knowing his client's identity.
Roth’s crucial involvement in The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ campaign began following the publication of Adam Raphael’s Observer article of April 1989 implying that lobbyist Ian Greer paid MPs to table questions at £200 a time. This prompted Roth to make inquiries, whereupon he discovered that Greer had given commission payments to the chairman of the Conservative backbench trade and industry committee, Michael Grylls MP, for introducing new clients to his lobbying company. Roth subsequently developed the hypothesis that Greer’s commission payments were a cover for passing bribes to Tory MPs to reward them for delivering parliamentary services, such as tabling parliamentary questions, in support of his clients.
Accordingly, in the next issue of Parliamentary Profiles published in November 1989, Roth insinuated that Michael Grylls’s commission payments from Ian Greer were really bribes to support the very clients whom Grylls had introduced to Greer. According to Roth’s letter to Sir Gordon Downey, following publication Dale Campbell-Savours visited him, whereupon Roth convinced him of his theory, following which the Labour MP then persuaded his fellow members of the Members’ Interests’ Committee that Ian Greer’s commission payments to Grylls should be investigated.
On 3 April 1990 Ian Greer appeared before the committee to answer questions whereupon Dale Campbell-Savours immediately suggested that his commission payments were actually to reward MPs for ‘delivering parliamentary services’. Greer denied the insinuation but acknowledged giving introductory commissions to two other MPs besides Grylls. Campbell-Savours then barracked Greer with a stream of questions in an attempt to elicit the names of the two other MPs, but Greer refused to provide them on the grounds that it was not his position to do so.
Roth’s theory that Greer’s commissions were bribes subsequently became the bedrock of The Guardian’s original ‘cash for questions’ article of 20 October 1994, accusing Greer of paying MPs Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith, and provided the theme for the book on the affair written by David Leigh, Sleaze: the corruption of Parliament.
Most tellingly, after Tim Smith resigned his ministerial post as a consequence of The Guardian’s article, in the next issue of the New Statesman Roth boasted that Smith’s resignation proved that he was one of the two unnamed MPs whom Greer had acknowledged giving commissions. In other words, Roth had surmised that Smith’s resignation was confirmation that a) Smith had received a commission from Greer and b) the commission was really a bribe to table questions.
In fact, Tim Smith had not received a commission payment from Ian Greer. However, Roth and The Guardian did not discover this until two years later, just ten days before the first due day of Neil Hamilton’s and Ian Greer’s libel actions. The news caused mayhem with The Guardian’s planned defence for the trial, and prompted the last-minute coercion of three of Mohamed Al Fayed’s employees into testifying to a new allegation — that they had processed ‘cash in envelopes’ for the lobbyist and the MP [see “The concise true story of the ‘cash for questions’ affair” and “The brainwashing of a democratic state”, both in Section Two].
Former Guardian editor responsible for publishing the paper’s invented ‘cash for questions’ article of 20 October 1994, falsely accusing lobbyist Ian Greer of paying MPs Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton to table parliamentary questions. The article was based on Andrew Roth’s flawed notion that Ian Greer’s commission payments to MPs for introducing new clients were really bribes to MPs to reward them for supporting Greer’s clients in Parliament. Preston hung the article entirely on the evidence-free ‘corroboration’ of one of Ian Greer’s clients, Mohamed Al Fayed, the Egyptian owner of Harrods, whom Preston himself had castigated as a liar and a purveyor of “cock and bull” stories only four years earlier on 8 March 1990 following publication of the damning government report into Fayed’s purchase of Harrods.
Preston had actually instigated The Guardian’s investigation into Ian Greer’s lobbying company over a year earlier, after being prompted by comments made during a Commons debate on lobbyists during the evening of 28 June 1993. However, rudimentary inquiries conducted during July by Guardian journalists David Hencke and John Mullin had come to naught.
A year later on 17 October 1994, just four weeks after Fayed’s demands for a British passport had been rebuffed by Prime Minister John Major, Fayed’s anger hit a peak when he had to pay a £5 million tax bill. The same day Fayed contacted Preston, following which Preston sought and obtained Fayed’s assurance that he would endorse a Guardian article accusing Ian Greer of bribing MPs. Preston immediately instructed his underling David Hencke to write up the article accusing Greer of paying Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton, whom he believed had received commission payments from Greer for introducing clients to his lobbying company. Preston himself wrote an article to be published the day after Hencke’s focusing on Mohamed Al Fayed’s motivation for supposedly ‘revealing’ Greer’s corruption. Preston knew full well about Fayed’s twin rages over his tax bill and passport and he emphasised both issues in his article.
However, after receiving libel writs from Greer and Hamilton upon Hencke’s article appearing, Preston then excised from his article all mention of Fayed’s twin angers before sending it to press that night. Later, in his witness statement dated June 1995, in defence of Hamilton’s and Greer’s libel actions, Preston claimed falsely that Fayed’s passport had not been an issue at the time of the articles and, with scarcely believable mendacity, cited his published, censored, article as being proof of that fact.
In keeping with this deception, and in an effort to show that Fayed had not been motivated by the events of September-October 1994 to make false allegations spitefully, Preston also claimed falsely that as long ago as July 1993, when he first met Fayed, Fayed had then proactively accused his lobbyist Ian Greer of paying Smith and Hamilton and that Fayed had also alleged paying the two MPs out of his own pocket too. However, copious evidence shows overwhelmingly that these claims are also false, and that it was Preston who had proactively visited Mohamed Al Fayed specifically to get the dirt on the lobbyist Ian Greer [see “The concise true story of the ‘cash for questions’ affair” and “The brainwashing of a democratic state”, both in Section Two].
David Leigh is The Guardian’s comment editor and the brother-in-law of The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger. Leigh was also the engine of The Guardian’s invented ‘cash for questions’ campaign, and firmly at the heart of the inner circle of Left-wing zealots along with Andrew Roth, Mark Hollingsworth; and former Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours.
David Leigh’s mendacious, disingenuous style of reporting, of which the ‘cash for questions’ affair makes an excellent case study, and the multitude of conspiracies he has enacted over the years in league with Dale Campbell-Savours and others - including the outrageous smearing of the Observer’s editor and journalists to facilitate the paper’s acquisition by The Guardian* - has shown him to be little other than a conscienceless amoral political warrior. His continued employment in the senior post of comment editor confirms that The Guardian’s transformation, from a standard bearer of liberal ideals into an unaccountable subversive juggernaut, is complete.
Like Campbell-Savours, Roth, and Hollingsworth, Leigh had a key role in The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ campaign and its subsequent cover-up. Like them, too, over the years Leigh has also done his best to undermine the workings of Britain’s intelligence services and their relationships with their American allies.
During the 1980s Leigh worked on the Observer. There, under the trusting freedom allowed by his editor Donald Trelford (whose reputation he would later seek to destroy*) Leigh continually wrote articles that sought to undermine MI5 and MI6. These varied from articles alleging that MI5 was improperly vetting BBC journalists for political extremism, all the way up to an article alleging that MI6 was involved in terrorist bombings in Nicaragua on behalf of the United States government.
During one four month period alone from September-December 1988 David Leigh penned at least eight stories attacking Britain’s security services. They included an article published on 18 September about a supposed bungled joint MI5-CIA operation in London involving the defection of a Cuban intelligence officer; an article published on 2 October alleging that MI5 had undertaken improper surveillance of a leading liberal academic named Fred Halliday; an article on 16 October alleging explicitly that MI5 had been involved in a plot to smear former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson during his tenure of office; an article on 23 October alleging that MI5 had improperly put under surveillance and interrogated the Russian wife of Labour Housing Minister Naill MacDermot during 1968; an article on 30 October announcing the publication of his book The Wilson Plot and alleging that MI5 had been involved in smearing trade union leader Jack Jones; an article on 27 November reporting that legislation proposed by Margaret Thatcher’s government would put MI5 above the law by allowing the service to “burgle homes in pursuit of people who undermine democracy by political or industrial means”; an article on 4 December alleging that the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s research centre at Harwell was involved in research into nuclear weapons; and an item on 11 December denouncing planned reforms to the Official Secrets Act as attacks on freedom of speech.
Leigh’s collaboration and friendship with Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours (now Lord Campbell-Savours) has existed since January 1984. Since then Leigh’s various investigations have been largely facilitated by the scores of parliamentary questions that Campbell-Savours tabled on his behalf.
Through parliamentary motions, oral questions, and points of order, Campbell-Savours also voiced in the Commons the headline allegations in Leigh’s various anti-Conservative articles, which Leigh then reported in the Observer, which Campbell-Savours then championed back in the Commons again, thus creating a “virtuous circle” between the Observer and the Labour backbenches resulting in full-blown political controversies that often dominated the news agendas of the BBC and Britain’s other broadcasters for weeks.
Leigh’s involvement in the conspiracy to destroy Conservative MP Neil Hamilton and the lobbyist Ian Greer on wholly false allegations has been akin to some kind of demented, evil, personal mission (backed by a liberal newspaper). In addition to helping The Guardian’s legal team concoct a bogus defence to Hamilton’s & Greer’s libel actions, Leigh wrote many of The Guardian’s misleading articles that followed the settlement of their actions on 30 September 1996, including a front-page story the next day of 1 October headlined A liar and a cheat.
Leigh authored an equally misleading account of the affair for his book, Sleaze: the corruption of Parliament, published on 16 January 1997. A month after its publication he then journeyed 180 miles from London to Hamilton’s Cheshire constituency, in an official Guardian bus called a Sleazemobile. Upon its arrival in Wilmslow, Leigh and others then endured the winter cold to tour around the constituency (stopping for a photo-shoot outside Neil Hamilton’s house) wearing T-shirts bearing reproductions of his 1 Oct. A liar and a cheat story, and giving away scores of copies of his book to bewildered passers-by.
A couple of months later on 9 April 1997, during the general election campaign, Leigh journeyed up to Cheshire again, this time with the supposed co-author of Sleaze, The Guardian’s Washington correspondent Ed Vulliamy. Leigh had made the trip to advise Neil Hamilton’s opponent, the independent candidate and ex-BBC war reporter, Martin Bell, on ‘wrongdoing’ allegations that he had conjured up against Hamilton from scrutiny of his 14 years as an MP. (The trip had been necessary because Sir Gordon Downey’s report into The Guardian’s ‘cash for questions’ allegations had yet to be published at that time. By concocting the ‘wrongdoing’ allegations, Leigh enabled Bell to claim that he had not pre-empted Downey’s verdict on ‘cash for questions’ whilst allowing Bell to benefit from The Guardian’s press campaign on that very issue.)
Six months later on 24 October 1997 David Leigh telephoned freelance journalists Jonathan Boyd Hunt & Malcolm Keith-Hill and threatened that The Guardian would issue libel actions against them if they released their report, as planned, accusing The Guardian of a cover-up. Four days later on 29 October Leigh turned up early at Hunt & Keith-Hill’s press conference, accompanied by David Hencke (and followed by a researcher working for Dale Campbell-Savours) whereupon he threatened Hunt & Keith-Hill with libel actions again and warned them of the damage to their media careers that would be caused by going ahead. Having failed in his intimidation, when the conference got underway, Leigh then began heckling as soon as Hunt began discussing the evidence against The Guardian.**
A year later on 19 October 1998 Hunt launched his book Trial by Conspiracy in the Palace of Westminster. Leigh turned up with Mark Hollingsworth, whereupon he disrupted the conference with the same fervour as the year before.** Three other Guardian political reporters also attended.
A year later again in November 1999 Neil Hamilton began his new libel action against Mohamed Al Fayed. Five weeks later in December the jury dismissed Hamilton’s action largely on the basis of “highly convincing” testimony given by Fayed’s employees and Fayed’s personal tax adviser of 14 years.
Three months later it transpired that the three employees’ testimony had been enhanced by their having foreknowledge of the questions they would be asked in the witness box. On 13 February 2000 The Mail on Sunday reported that prior to the trial Fayed had paid £10,000 to Mark Hollingsworth for draft cross examination documents that had been stolen from the chambers of Hamilton’s barristers by a certain Benjamin ‘the binman’ Pell, who makes his living from such activity. Later still Pell admitted that he had stolen the papers on the express instruction of Hollingsworth’s fellow expert on MPs’ probity — David Leigh.
[see “The concise true story of the ‘cash for questions’ affair” and “The brainwashing of a democratic state”, both in Section Two].
*The Guardian’s covert smear campaign against the Observer’s proprietor, editor and journalists is covered in Section Eight. **Photographs of Leigh disrupting these news conferences can be found in News Releases dated 29 Oct. ’97 and 19 Oct. ’98 in Section One]
The Guardian Westminster correspondent who penned The Guardian’s original invented ‘cash for questions’ article of 20 October 1994, falsely accusing lobbyist Ian Greer of paying MPs Tim Smith & Neil Hamilton to table parliamentary questions, and falsely accusing Neil Hamilton and his wife of having ‘free shopping at Harrods’.
In his witness statement dated June 1995 in defence of Ian Greer’s and Neil Hamilton’s libel action, Hencke claimed that he and his colleague, John Mullin, had conducted fulsome inquiries into all of Mohamed Al Fayed’s allegations during July 1993, supposedly refuting the suggestion that Fayed had made his allegations out of spite by events that took place during September-October 1994 i.e. immediately prior to the publication of his article.
However, the evidence shows that Hencke & Mullin’s July 1993 inquiries were concerned only with lobbyists Ian Greer Associates and Hamilton’s stay at the Ritz, and had not been prompted by Fayed making allegations at all. To the contrary, the evidence shows that The Guardian had set about investigating Greer in July 1993 on the instruction of its editor Peter Preston, having been prompted by ten years of rumours about Greer which had come to a climax during a major Commons debate on lobbyists a few days earlier on 28 June.
[see “The concise true story of the ‘cash for questions’ affair” and “The brainwashing of a democratic state”, both in Section Two].
Hard-Left former Observer and Granada TV journalist, and a confidant of David Leigh, Andrew Roth, and Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours.
Hollingsworth is best known as the co-author of the book Defending the Realm, which catalogues the revelations of renegade MI5 intelligence agent David Shayler, and as the co-author of a number of articles featuring Shayler’s disclosures for the Mail on Sunday during 1997, prior to the dismissal of the paper’s then editor, Jonathan Holborow.
Hollingsworth’s association with Leigh came about at the Observer during early 1987, where they co-authored articles attacking Conservative MPs. Their liaison began with a series of articles during the run up to the June 1987 general election implying that the Conservative MP for Winchester, John Browne, had improperly failed to declare his business interests in the parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests. Following publication Browne immediately issued libel writs.
During 1988, while Browne prepared his case, Hollingsworth moved to Granada TV’s World in Action programme, where he researched several documentaries focusing on the outside business interests of Conservative MPs. The first focused on John Browne. Broadcast in April 1989 and entitled The Private World of John Browne, it followed the line of his & Leigh’s Observer articles by implying that Browne had dishonestly broken the rules governing the registration of MPs’ interests. A few days after transmission David Leigh then submitted a complex complaint to his collaborator on the Members’ Interests Committee, Dale Campbell-Savours, supposedly after having received a letter at the Observer from a constituent of Browne who had watched the programme. Significantly, Leigh’s complaint comprised of the same two allegations of improper non-registration of interests contained in the original article that Browne had issued writs over.
Having received the complaint, Dale Campbell-Savours successfully persuaded the Conservative committee members that they should accept it for their consideration. Subsequently, Leigh submitted several supplementary, highly convoluted complaints, which were also accepted for consideration. The committee held a total of five hearings. These comprised of two sessions in June 1989 hearing Leigh’s complex allegations concerning Browne’s business dealings over the previous decade, followed by three sessions in July when Dale Campbell-Savours interrogated Browne in time-honoured quick-fire ‘Star Chamber’ fashion.
Six months later the committee were still arguing over the nuances of interpretation of the fledgling rules of registration. Eventually Campbell-Savours proposed a ‘compromise’: - that all of Leigh’s supplementary complaints should be rejected, but that his original two should be upheld. Faced with this seeming reasonableness, and under pressure from Conservative Whips to show that the new system of self-regulation worked, the committee reluctantly adopted Campbell-Savours’ suggestion. The upholding of Leigh’s original two allegations completely destroyed John Browne’s libel action.
When the committee announced its findings in February 1990 Browne made several efforts to have his case reviewed but Leigh’s disingenuous articles created so much negative publicity that the Conservative hierarchy deselected Browne behind his back and undertook every effort to ensure that the matter would not be discussed again.
Two years later Browne won an MPs’ ballot to debate an issue of his choice. Accordingly, on Friday 28 February 1992, over five years since the publication of Hollingsworth & Leigh’s article, and speaking to an almost empty chamber, Browne explained to the Commons how he had been the victim of a conspiracy to sink his libel action involving Hollingsworth, Leigh, Campbell-Savours and Granada TV executive Charles Tremayne. During his speech Browne related how he had approached Campbell-Savours in a corridor and asked him why he had worked so hard to convince the committee to find in favour of the very two allegations about which he, Browne, had issued libel writs. Browne quoted Campbell-Savours as having replied:
”Look, you had libel suits out on those two complaints and I couldn’t allow my friend [Leigh] to
hang with a million pound suit. That’s why I pressed you hard on that point when we took evidence.
You should have dropped it”.
Later in the debate Campbell-Savours intervened and asked Browne directly whether he had:
”ever recorded with a taping device a conversation with any Member of the House of Commons
without their knowledge and approval?”
-- thus demonstrating unwittingly that Browne had quoted him verbatim. Browne replied:
”Yes, I have... I realised at the very outset... of this fixing operation that I did so, just to make sure
that the record was clear.”
Hollingsworth’s second programme on Conservative MPs’ outside interests, entitled MPs for Hire, was broadcast on 15 January 1990. The third, entitled An MP’s Business, was transmitted on 30 March 1992 (i.e. in the final days before the general election of 9 April). Both these programmes implied that Conservative MPs were greedy and corrupt. No Labour MP’s business interests featured in either programme though many held outside interests.
While he was on Granada’s payroll Hollingsworth co-authored a political book with Tremayne and authored two books focusing on Conservative MPs’ outside interests, entitled MPs for Hire and A Bit on the Side, published in September 1991 and April 1994 respectively. Hollingsworth wrote both of these books with the assistance of Andrew Roth, David Leigh, and Dale Campbell-Savours. Like his Granada documentaries, both of these books implied that Conservative MPs were corrupt, and insinuated that lobbyist Ian Greer’s commission payments to Michael Grylls and two other unknown MPs were covert bribes for supporting Greer’s clients.
Most interestingly, on 19 October 1998 Hollingsworth attended the launch of Jonathan Boyd Hunt’s book Trial by Conspiracy, and sat silently alongside David Leigh while Leigh disrupted the conference.
Sixteen months later on 13 February 2000, three months after Neil Hamilton had lost his libel action against Mohamed Al Fayed largely on the testimony of Fayed’s three employees, the Mail on Sunday reported that prior to the trial Hollingsworth had provided Fayed with reams of draft cross examination papers stolen from the chambers of Hamilton’s barristers in exchange for £10,000 cash. The papers had been taken by a certain Benjamin ‘the binman’ Pell, who makes his living rifling dustbins for confidential information to sell to Britain’s voracious press. It transpired later that Pell had stolen the documents on the express instruction of The Guardian’s comment editor, David Leigh — i.e. Hollingsworth’s fellow expert on supposed corruption among Conservative MPs [to download the Mail on Sunday article return to the web page from which this text is taken].
[The web pages from which this text is taken also carries several photographs. These include:
1. A photograph of Dale Campbell-Savours bearing the caption: Dale Campbell-Savours. He had a key role in The Guardian's conspiracy to pervert the parliamentary inquiry into its 'cash for questions' allegations. He routinely colludes with journalists, including a former Soviet spy, who specialise in denigrating the British and US intelligence agencies. He also sat on Parliament's Security & Intelligence Committee with access to the most sensitive classified information.
2 & 3. Photographs of Andrew Raphael and the late Bob Cryer MP
4. A videograb of Andrew Roth bearing the caption: Former Soviet spy Andrew Roth opines on corruption in the Tory Party for BBC TV (The Mayfair Set 08/07/99). In 1948 Roth fled the US Navy to work for The Guardian after being caught passing secrets to the Russians, whereupon he soon became a confidant of Left-wing journalists and Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours.
5 & 6. Photographs of Peter Preston and David Leigh.
7. A reproduction of a press cutting bearing a photograph of Leigh outside Neil Hamilton’s Cheshire home, headlined “Fayed turns knife as Sleazemobile pays Neil a visit”, which bears the caption: “David Leigh gives away copies of Sleaze:The corruption of Parliament outside Neil Hamilton's Cheshire home (reproduced from the Guardian-owned Wilmslow Express, 20 Feb. 97)”
8. A videograb from a TV programme about the 1997 general election, bearing the caption: “David Leigh arrives in Tatton during the 1997 general election to advise Martin Bell on Neil Hamilton's 'wrongdoings'”
9 & 10. Photographs of David Hencke and Mark Hollingsworth
11. A reproduction of the front page of the Mail on Sunday headlined AL FAYED ‘PAID FOR LIBEL SECRETS’, which bears the caption: 13 Feb. 2000. The Mail on Sunday reveals that Hollingsworth sold Fayed confidential papers stolen from the chambers of Hamilton's barristers for £10,000