Major is pressed on Thatcher arms deal

A LABOUR MP who obtained secret documents detailing claims that Mark Thatcher and the Conservative Party earned 'huge' sums from the Al Yamamah arms deal is demanding to know what action Baroness Thatcher took when he passed the papers to her in 1989.

Jeff Rooker, MP for Perry Barr and a former member of the influential Public Accounts Committee, sent copies to Lady Thatcher more than five years ago and was assured by her that she had given them to 'the appropriate authorities'.

However, after being pressed by Mr Rooker to explain what Lady Thatcher did to check the allegations, John Major failed to say what action was taken or who the 'relevant authorities' were.

In a letter to Mr Rooker, Mr Major said: 'I am told that the anonymous document which you sent contained a number of clear inaccuracies and that there was no evidence to support the allegations made.'

The papers, which were sent to Mr Rooker anonymously and obtained separately by the Independent in 1992, are entitled 'Newspaper articles on BAe and HMG bribes to obtain Tornado etc business'. They form an internal memorandum detailing deals in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. It is not known who wrote the memorandum to whom.

The allegations were impossible to prove at the time, but the information it conveys about Malaysia has turned out to be remarkably accurate, given the revelations over the Pergau dam arms-for-trade affair.

On Saudi it says: 'There are constant phone calls between Mrs T and King Fahd and Sir Peter Levene (then Chief of Defence Procurement) and Prince Sultan. Levene was in fact the person that made the crude oil arrangement which was invented to enable HMG (Her Majesty's Government)/BAe (British Aerospace) to pay the huge commissions to the Saudis and their middlemen whilst still enabling HMG and BAe to sanctimoniously declare 'there are no commission payments by us'.'

The memo says a BAe source alleged that the Saudis were invoiced 120 per cent of the usual price charged to the RAF for Tornado fighter- bombers, allowing them to draw the money from the Saudi exchequer, pay the real price to BAe and pocket the difference. The total paid by the Saudis was pounds 21bn, making the deal the largest ever between two countries.

It continues: 'The same source also states that there is a sizeable payment to the Conservative Party ('a huge sum') which is being administered by Wafiq Said (a Syrian- born arms dealer) in conjunction with Mark T'

Mr Rooker wrote to Mr Major again yesterday questioning what inquiries made by the Thatcher administration. 'Mr Major's first reply to me seemed non-committal but it has left the way clear to go forward because he says the document contained 'clear inaccuracies',' he said. 'I want to know what exactly is inaccurate so I can see just what is accurate within the document.'

A Downing Street spokeswoman said last night that Lady Thatcher had passed on the documents to the Cabinet Office for scrutiny. The Cabinet Office confirmed it had received tham and passed them on to the 'relevant authorities', but not what authorities were involved.

Suggested Topics
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Control Manager - Regulatory Reporting

£400 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Financial Control Manager - Regulatory Reporting ...

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices