Mrs Howard denies jail comment

The wife of Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, yesterday instructed her lawyer to write to Granada TV, two newspapers, the publisher Penguin, and former the Prison Service chief Derek Lewis, denying claims that she had urged her husband to cut the nutritional content of food served to Britain's prisoners.

Granada TV's World in Action, screened last night, contained an interview with Mr Lewis in which he made the allegations about Sandra Howard, the model Sandra Paul. John Turnbull, of Linklaters & Paines, said: "She never said or suggested that any actual or proposed nutritional standards at Her Majesty's Prisons were too generous. Mr Lewis has told World in Action that he was taken aside by Mr Howard's political adviser, David Cameron, in 1994 and told that Mrs Howard believed that "the prison code's requirements to provide a balanced and nutritious diet was somehow too generous for prisoners". Mr Lewis was sacked by Mr Howard in 1995 after the escape of inmates from Parkhurst.