'If they charge us, I'm a banana' says Mrs Hamilton

By Cole Moreton
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Christine Hamilton came out fighting yesterday morning, hours after she and her husband left Barkingside police station on bail. "The whole thing is nonsense on stilts," she said of allegations that the couple had been involved in a serious sexual assault. "If they bring charges, well, in the famous words of somebody else, then I'm a banana."

A young woman has claimed that Mrs Hamilton and her husband, Neil, the disgraced former Conservative MP, committed indecent acts while she was raped.

Mrs Hamilton used the BBC's Saturday morning radio shows to deny she had ever been to Ilford, where the assault is alleged to have taken place. Nor had she met the woman concerned. "It is mind-boggling that it has got this far," she told Radio 4's Today. "The whole thing is a monstrous, outrageous waste of police time. I think they probably know that."

The police searched her family home in Cheshire on Friday. Detectives are examining hundreds of e-mails sent from computers owned by the Hamiltons in search of "pornographic and threatening" messages. Barry Lehaney, 61, at whose flat the assault is alleged to have taken place, has also answered questions from police and is now on bail.

The Hamiltons later retreated to their flat in Battersea. Police had asked them if they knew who the publicist Max Clifford was, said Mrs Hamilton."The jigsaw is fitting in rather nicely," she said.

Mr Clifford confirmed that he was approached by the woman but had advised her to go to the police. The woman's former husband claimed last night that she had lied about being sexually assaulted before. He described her as living in a "sexual fantasy land".