Letter: Working for Cyprus

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The Independent Culture
Sir: On 7 September you devoted the front page of the Review to a story about me which followed from a leaked Labour Party document concerning their efforts to attract funds. I have very serious concerns about the consequences for the Greek Cypriot community and myself as a result of the article.

I am the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in Great Britain. This exists to work towards a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem in the interests of all Cypriots. I am also President of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, which was formed to lobby and campaign in the interests of Cypriots in the UK. The Federation and the Brotherhood are non-party political organisations. We do not now and never have supported individual political parties here or in Cyprus.

We offer support to individual MPs who have demonstrated their understanding and support of the Cypriot cause. In doing so, we are blind to their party allegiance. Visits to Cyprus by MPs are pretty evenly divided between Conservative and Labour Members. Liberal Democrats have also visited the island.

The leaked document from the Labour Party shows a record of support for the Party, which simply has never been made. There has been no promise of pounds 1m from the Federation, the Brotherhood or any individual, including me.

My name will appear in the list of donors to the Labour Party because I attended the annual fund-raising dinner at pounds 500 per head, at which I arranged for a table and coordinated payment for tickets from participating individuals. I and other officers of the Federation have also paid for and attended fund-raising events for Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs or candidates.

The company I work for - Joannou & Paraskevaides (UK) Ltd - cannot possibly benefit any more than any other company from legislation or policy changes by the British Government.

Reference was made to my citizenship in a manner that suggested that it was somehow irregular. I was born a British citizen. I have had a British passport since I first carried one, and I live and work in the UK.

John Prescott hired a villa in Cyprus through me, and that was the extent of my involvement. I know the owner but do not own the villa. However, I know that John Prescott paid the rent on both occasions he hired it.

I have never been a member of any political party either in the UK or in Cyprus. I do, however, care passionately about the situation in Cyprus and am doing everything that I properly can to influence the opinions of those who are in a position to do something about it.

HARIS SOPHOCLIDES

Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire

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