Cherie Blair, the poll tax and what barristers have to do : LETTERS

YOUR correspondents who sprung to the defence of Cherie Blair's conduct (Letters, 29 January) protest too much. Admittedly, barristers are obliged to represent clients to the best of their ability. But this still leaves me with lingering misgivings about her actions. Two years ago I wrote a biography of William Prowling Roberts, a Victorian lawyer who devoted his life to defending the poor. Never did an employer or government approach him to act on their behalf. Presumably, they felt W P Roberts,not having his heart in the prosecution, may not do a good job. Nor would Michael Mansfield, QC, say, be asked to represent the authorities in a trial where they were attempting to further curtail civil liberties.

Yet Cherie Blair appears to go beyond the call of duty. Nothing compelled her to ask in court for the imprisonment of a poll tax defaulter who had no means of payment.

Raymond Challinor Whitley Bay, Tyne Wear