Gore-Booth carpeted

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The Independent Online
FORMER ambassador Sir David Gore-Booth is to be reprimanded by a House of Commons committee over his remark about British women in Saudi Arabia, writes Marie Woolf.

Sir David, who served as high commissioner in Delhi and as ambassador in Riyadh during his 34-year diplomatic career, will be rebuked in a report by the Administration Committee to be published this week.

During his term in Saudi, he wrote to the chief executive of British Aerospace about complaints he had received from Paul Surtees, a BAe employee. Following his letter, in which he dismissed women married to BAe executives as "company wives", Mr Surtees lost his job.

Sir David's actions will be condemned outright by the MPs, who questioned him about the letter at a hearing in January, during which he was accused of being "extremely offensive" and "incredibly disrespectful". "Where do you acquire that sort of arrogance?" asked Labour MP Peter Bradley. "Was it at your father's knee? Was it at Eton? Was it in 34 years in the diplomatic service?"

Sir David - who, during the Scott Inquiry into arms to Iraq, coined the phrase "Of course, half the picture can be accurate" - courted further controversy this year when his valedictory telegram on leaving the diplomatic service was leaked to the press.

The telegram, which landed on the desk of Robin Cook, accused the Foreign Secretary of losing the trust of diplomats and destroying morale in the service.