Major libel case 'in court soon'

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The Independent Online
JOHN MAJOR'S libel complaint against the New Statesman could come before a jury as early as June, it emerged yesterday.

The trial of the left-wing weekly and Scallywag, a satirical monthly, would take place in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court. The claims by the Prime Minister and Clare Latimer, the caterer named in the magazines, are uncomplicated compared to many actions. The upshot turns on whether the material was libellous when taken as a whole, and the interim stages could be completed within three months.

Mr Major's lawyers have made it clear that he intends to go into the witness box.

The New Statesman said yesterday that it was pleased with the response to appeals for funds to fight the action. Pat Coyne, managing editor, said a 'good deal' of money had come in. A fund-raising campaign will be launched on Thursday next week.