TORIES IN CRISIS: Unrepentant Hamiltons resigned to losing home start life as have-nots

OTHERS WOULD have kept quiet after the disaster at the High Court and the public ignominy that followed, but that is not the style of Neil and Christine Hamilton.

Not much was seen of them until they left their flat opposite Battersea Park in south London for their home in Cheshire late in the afternoon. The couple, both sporting red jumpers, forced a smile and posed for pictures before being driven away under police escort. But the Hamiltons had made much use of the telephone to attempt to portray themselves as victims of injustice, a latter-day "Mr and Mrs Dreyfus".

The couple are having to reconcile themselves to the loss of their pounds 700,000 home, the Old Rectory, at Nether Alderley, near Macclesfield, which has been pledged to the former MP's solicitors, Crockers Oswald Hickson. The London flat, said to be worth about pounds 300,000 should be safe if Mr Hamilton declares himself bankrupt because it is owned by his wife.

They also face a bleak future earning a living. Mr Hamilton had thought about returning to politics if he had won the case, but that is no longer a possibility. After Mr Hamilton's general election defeat in Tatton at the hands of the "anti-sleaze candidate" Martin Bell, the couple had embraced the media, appearing on chat shows. But now they are said to fear that after initial interest, they will be forgotten. They have, however, arranged a reputed five-figure sum for an interview with Mrs Hamilton in The Mail on Sunday.

Mr Hamilton, a picture of abject despair at the end of the case on Tuesday, was composed, despite a sleepless night. He said: "Juries can make mistakes and we know there have been lots of miscarriages of justice in the past. I am not protesting and kicking and screaming about it. I know that the system has worked against me ... [but] I am not blaming the jury in any way."

Asked if he regretted embarking on what turned out to be a disastrous libel action, Mr Hamilton said: "If I had known what was going to result in 1999 I would have drawn stumps in 1995 when I was stopped from taking my first legal action against The Guardian. Then at least I would have preserved my life savings. But I had to fight to clear my name and I don't regret doing that even though we have lost at the end of the day. A lot of people won't believe me but if I had not been able to continue I would never have been able to live with myself."

But did he find the experience humbling? "We have had to get used to humility in a big way for quite a number of years now. But being humbled does not mean that I can now un-say all the things I have been saying for the last five years. Thousands of people don't believe yesterday's case was right and they are right not to believe it."

Mr Hamilton admitted, however, that his employment prospects were now bleak. "Christine and I have lived on our wits for the last two and half years largely through the media. I have no idea whether we will be able to continue earning a living in that way."

Mrs Hamilton added: "We don't know where we got from here. There probably aren't any [legal] avenues open to us. I believe we probably would have done it again, because having the opportunity to put our case in court means that now a lot of people know more about this. We fought for five years. Neil has changed the law, we fought Fayed through the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords and we've now had this five-week battle.

"It will be dreadful, but we have got to face up to it. We've got the most important things in life. We've got each other, we've got the truth, we've got wonderfully supportive families, we have got our health, even when we've lost our house and we are bankrupt. And we have got the most unbelievable group of friends."

Lord Harris of High Cross, who ran the Hamilton legal fund, said: "I don't have any regrets because the whole case was conducted against a tidal wave of prejudice and media pressure over five or 10 years."

But Martin Bell said the loyalty of the people of Tatton had been stretched to the limit. "There are a lot of shattered people out there," he said. "There are the hardcore supporters who believed in them through thick and thin and I think the Mobil allegations were very hard for them to take. There is some sympathy but there is a general recognition, even among his loyalists, that this is a chapter now closed."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones