SIR BERNARD INGHAM: You can't tell the truth all the time. You tell white lies to avoid offending people. You won't last as a press secretary if you are consistently lying. You try to answer as truthfully as you can, but you can't tell all that you know - of course you can't.

SUSIE PROFITT, manager, dress hire agency: You have to lie in business or you won't succeed. I tell whoppers. I hate the dresses here, they're hideous, but if a client asks me if I like them I say I do. But I am very blunt about whether a dress suits someone or not. I wouldn't let anyone walk out of here looking like an elephant.

ALISTAIR, estate agent: In the old days before the Misdescriptions Act we'd tell lies all the time. Years ago when I was a junior negotiator the drummer from Siouxsie and the Banshees lived next door to a flat I was selling. The purchasers asked me if the neighbour was noisy and I said I didn't know.

VICTORIA B, publisher: All the time] When I'm returning manuscripts that have been awful I will say they're not bad, but the motive isn't to tell a lie per se. A proper lie is to protect oneself, but a white lie is to protect someone else. I probably tell a few proper fibs as well.

RUPERT ALLASON, MP: Being disingenous, maybe. But I'm not aware of ever having told a lie - except to my children. Father Christmas, I'm afraid. And I seem to remember telling them that they would instantly go to prison if they ever pinched anything.

KAREN, model agent: Yes. I'm not going to turn round to an editor who wants to book one of my girls and say 'that's a crap job and a crap magazine', I just say she's not available. I never lie to the models. If a magazine says they don't want to book a model because she's got a fat bum, I tell her and say, 'Get yourself on a diet, girlie]'

KARAN LAVIDA, clairvoyant: If you omit things it is lying - it obscures reality. Anyway, I don't get a chance; the information comes to me at such high speed I don't get time to make a judgement.

DR RAJ PERSAUD, psychiatrist: If a patient is suicidal and afraid I am going to put him in hospital, I will reassure him that it's a possibility when it is probably certain. A lot of psychiatry comes close to politics.

SANDRA GRANT, car mechanic: There's no point in me telling porkies. My boss checks everything I do. Mechanics only lie if their bosses allow them to. I prefer to be honest because it saves a lot of heartache with customers. If they think they've been robbed you can always show them the old part, but some are never satisfied.

(Photograph omitted)

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