Mates complained of Nadir 'injustice': Continuing leaks put minister's future in doubt

MICHAEL MATES, the beleaguered Northern Ireland minister, could be driven from office by a steady leakage of detail about his defence of Asil Nadir, it emerged last night after one of the private letters he wrote about the Nadir case to Sir Nicholas Lyell, the Attorney General, was published in today's Daily Mail.

The leaked letter contained a complaint about the 'injustice' being suffered by Mr Nadir. More importantly, the leak of such a confidential communication suggested further evidence of a dirty tricks campaign against the minister - with further damaging revelations to come.

Mr Mates will face the Commons tonight, when he is scheduled to open a debate on a Northern Ireland security motion.

While No 10 and Sir Marcus Fox, chairman of the 1922 Committee, showed belated signs of a fightback in defence of Mr Mates earlier in the day, the minister's position will be further eroded by continuing revelations from the Tory tabloids.

In his letter to the Attorney General, dated last 17 March, Mr Mates cast doubt on advice given to him by Sir Patrick Mayhew, when he was Attorney General, in October 1991. Sir Patrick - now Mr Mates's Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office - had said that the Government did not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. For that reason, no 'formal approaches' had been made to investigate Mr Nadir's affairs on the island.

Mr Mates then referred to a letter he had received from Sir Nicholas last February, in which he said repeated efforts had been made to 'undertake such a visit . . . but without success'. However, Mr Mates provided the Attorney General with a photocopied document in which a northern Cypriot police commissioner said a Scotland Yard officer and an officer attached to the Serious Fraud Office had visited the island to pursue inquiries into Mr Nadir. The minister also promised to write further 'with evidence about the involvement' in the Nadir case of an Inland Revenue special investigation unit.

Mr Major, meanwhile, is ready to give his support to Mr Mates in a concerted attempt by the Government to weather the continuing storm over Conservative Party funding.

Sir Norman Fowler, the Conservative Party chairman, also upped the ante by calling on John Smith, the Labour leader, to 'disown' Clive Soley, the Hammersmith MP who read out a letter in the Commons chamber on Tuesday night claiming to link Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, with allegations that Saudi Arabia contributed millions of pounds to the party.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam