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The Attack on Sleaze: Hamilton promises to clear his name: Extracts from the exchange of letters between Neil Hamilton and the Prime Minister:

Dear Prime Minister Following your request to me today, it is with regret that I offer you my resignation. I wish to make it clear that I have at all times, whilst a Member of Parliament and a minister, conducted myself with integrity and due regard for propriety and probity. I have not been paid by Mr al-Fayed nor have I acted for him in return for favours.

In the House today, you confirmed that the allegations of impropriety made against me are unsubstantiated and I thank you for that.

However, you announced also that the combined effect of the allegations disabled me from carrying out my responsibilities as Minister for Corporate Affairs and that you had no alternative but to ask for my resignation.

I think it is sad and deeply disturbing that I have been forced to leave office because of foully motivated rumour and a media witch-hunt.

I shall clear my name . . .

Yours ever Neil And from Mr Major: Dear Neil Thank you for your letter. I am very sorry at the way events have turned out. I am most grateful for your work in Government, particularly at the DTI where you have made a significant contribution to the deregulation initiative that is so important to commerce and industry in this country.

When the allegations against you surfaced last week I was, as you know, entirely prepared to accept that you had not acted improperly. Sir Robin Butler's report confirmed that the allegations were unsubstantiated, and I know you are taking legal action to clear your name.

However, I must be concerned at the general perception of the Government and capacity of ministers to carry out their work without damaging distractions.

I believe that the cumulative impact of the allegations that you face - even though I accept that they are unsubstantiated - did make it impossible for you to continue to carry out your responsibilities as Corporate Affairs Minister . I am grateful to you for the readiness with which you recognised that it was impossible for you to continue in Government in these circumstances . . .

Yours ever John