Mellor Resignation: Women express sorrow for talent gone to waste

THE THREE principal female players in the David Mellor drama expressed regret at his resignation last night.

Antonia de Sancha, Mr Mellor's former mistress, Mona Bauwens, who paid for the Mellor family's Marbella holiday, and Judith Mellor, the politician's wife, said that they were saddened by the story's ending.

But Ms de Sancha added that she felt no guilt about the minister's downfall; she had played no part in it. 'If he was going to resign over our affair he would have done so long ago. You take certain decisions in your life. Whatever the consequences are, you have to deal with them. He knew the risks.'

Ms Bauwens said she had invited the Mellors on holiday when she had her own personal problems. 'I am very grateful to David and Judith for their support both at that difficult time and since. My heart goes out to them and to their children.'

Mrs Mellor was brief. 'I am just very, very sad that someone with such ability is not able to serve his country in the way he can do best.' Her father, Professor Edward Hall, who emerged as one of the drama's leading support players, praised his daughter, an 'innocent victim', for her courage. When the de Sancha scandal broke, Professor Hall, 75, a retired scientist, was critical of his son-in- law, questioning his loyalty to his country if he could be unfaithful to his wife. His performance later at a staged family photo-opportunity by his garden gate, designed to paper over the rift, was unexpectedly wooden.

Last night Professor Hall was both critical and complimentary. 'It was inevitable. We all get our just deserts, don't we?' Then he added: 'He is a first class politician and an extremely good minister. He will now continue as a backbencher, but I am sure this is not the end of his career. He will make a comeback - don't they all?

'David himself has said he's been foolish and we might well have to take his word for it . . . I never argue with David. I don't know what his views of the situation are because I've not spoken to him for some time.

'But I'm sure both Judith and David have been hurt, as we have been, but it was not all of his making. The press must bear some degree of blame at the outcome. '

Joan Hall said that her son-in- law reached his decision to resign some time ago. 'He decided this was the obvious time to announce it, because pressure had been boiling up. You get to the point when it is no use hanging on.'

She also criticised the newspapers. 'The press have really hounded him. I think that is really bad. He is a very able man, and a very good minister. But he has only himself to blame. The public has got to judge.'

Mr Mellor's father Douglas, 75, an ex-army officer, refused to discuss his son's resignation.

Lord Parkinson, the former Tory cabinet minister who resigned over his affair with his secretary, said on BBC's Question Time: 'He (David) is going to face a totally empty diary and he's going to have to come to terms with that.'

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