Lobbyist offers his memoirs for sale

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The Independent Online
Ian Greer, the disgraced arch lobbyist at the centre of the cash- for-questions row, is attempting to rebuild his reputation by publishing the "truth" about recent events.

Mr Greer's book, which is sitting on his desk in manuscript form, is designed to "set the record straight" in the run-up to the general election. The lobbyist is understood to have approached Noel Edmonds's production company Unique Television about the possibility of a television programme to coincide with publication of the book.

But while his memoirs have the potential seriously to embarrass the Tories - one opposition MP described a book by Mr Greer as "potentially dynamite" - a leaked internal memorandum from the publisher HarperCollins suggests that he is more interested in repairing his own image than destroying the Tories'. The memo says that although Mr Greer has it in him to produce a book which would "so hideously mire the Government in sleaze as to effectively destroy its poll chances", he seems more concerned to "repolish a badly tarnished reputation" than "to spill the beans".

"If he did tell us what was really happening with [Mohamed al-Fayed] and Harrods, British Airways, the mechanics and financing of John Major's leadership challenge, the Thatchers' Middle-Eastern arms connection and so on, and one could avoid an injunction, then it would be a truly heart- stopping proposition," it said.

A final note suggests that even if the book were to contain sensational revelations, the publishing house owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, would still not commission it. "It would be hard to conceive News Corp participating in what would, in all likelihood, destroy the Conservatives," it says.

Adrian Bourne, managing director of HarperCollins' trade division, said in a statement: "We are not publishing this book and we have no further comment."

Mr Greer insists he has found a publisher, but refuses to say whom. "Perhaps the reason why HarperCollins turned it down - and I say perhaps the reason - is because I'm telling the truth and the truth isn't always as sensational as it would like it to be," he said. "The book, when it's published, is going to be the truth."

One source close to Mr Greer expressed surprise that he had found a publisher. "I'm interested he's found one," he said. "He had to publish his last book, Right to be Heard, in 1985 himself in the end.

"It would be fair to say that the book has the potential of being dynamite if he can jump through all the legal rings of the circus. There are aspects of the litigation which have never come out which reveal the tactics of the Guardian and Al Fayed which I think the Guardian, as a liberal newspaper, will find very embarrassing."

This time last year Mr Greer asked Perry Miller, who now works for AS Biss and Co, which grew out of Ian Greer Associates, to do some research for the book. "Ian asked me to do a note of a chronological series of events that had taken place because they spanned such a long time," Mr Miller said. As for Mr Greer's motivation, Mr Miller suggested: "The Guardian has published theirs. I suppose he wants to publish his."

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