Heath accuses Labour MPs over Lloyd's losses report

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The Independent Online
SIR EDWARD HEATH yesterday accused Labour MPs of 'a sleazy desire' to brand some Tory members as being on the way to bankruptcy in their attempts to get details of Lloyd's syndicates.

The former prime minister, responding to a report in the Independent on Sunday, said it was deplorable that the newspaper should have lent itself to such a manoeuvre.

The IoS published figures concerning 14 Tory MPs. It reported that details of individual likely losses were kept secret from Parliament last week. The Speaker, Betty Boothroyd, ordered their deletion from a Commons motion tabled by Peter Hain, Labour MP for Neath. Sir Edward was reported as being at risk for an estimated pounds 700,000.

Sir Edward said the report 'bears no relationship whatever to my own position at Lloyd's. In fact the article does not reveal potential losses; it publishes a guesstimate. As far as I am concerned the figures are not only entirely untrue but they bear no relationship whatever to the proper provision made for loss by myself and no doubt other members of Lloyd's'

Mr Hain said later: 'These are computer estimates from the Lloyd's blue books and the independent Chatset League tables, which estimate the potential Lloyd's losses using the average premium per member of each syndicate in the absence of a disclosed figure.

'I have never pretended that these are anything other than average premiums per member in the syndicate.'

Ian Jack, editor of the IoS, said: 'We made every attempt to contact every MP on the list. We think it is a valid piece of research which should be published, because MPs' interests are a legitimate area of concern.'