Fayed fumes over passport decision

JACK STRAW yesterday rejected Mohamed Al Fayed's application for British citizenship after expressing doubts about the "good character" of the Egyptian-born Harrods owner.

The Home Secretary based his decision on concern over Mr Fayed's role in the "cash for questions" affair, in which he admitted making payments to MPs, and over a break-in to a Harrods safe deposit box belonging to his former business rival, Tiny Rowland. Mr Fayed described the decision as "perverse" and said he would mount a legal challenge. He said he was a victim of the British establishment and "zombie" politicians. He was particularly annoyed that on Wednesday night he shook hands with Tony Blair and Mr Straw at a conference of the Muslim Council of Britain.

In March, the Home Office asked Mr Fayed - who has lived in Britain since the 1960s - for a written submission in respect of the cash-for- questions and safe deposit box issues. Mr Fayed forwarded a 52-page defence of his actions but Mr Straw was unconvinced.

Mr Fayed said the decision was "unfair and unreasonable" and claimed that the Home Office had reneged on an assurance that the deposit box incident was not relevant to his application. He also claimed that his role in the cash-for-questions scandal had not been criticised in the official report on the affair.

No scandal, says Fayed, page 5

The grand delusion,

Review, front

Leading article,

Review, page 3

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