Letter: Westminster took legal advice

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The Independent Online
From Dame Shirley Porter

Sir: In his letter of 25 February, Cllr Peter Bradley refers to the "charge" against Westminster Conservatives that, inter alia, they knew that their policies were not reasonable, lawful or in the public interest. Mr Bradley has apparently entirely ignored the evidence which was put before the appointed auditor during the public inquiry into housing in Westminster.

In particular, he appears to be unaware that Robert Lewis, the then deputy chief city solicitor, has made it abundantly clear that he advised the members that the proposed designated sales policy was lawful and that in doing so he was accurately reflecting the advice given by both Jeremy Sullivan QC and Alan Wilkie (now QC). In particular, Mr Lewis told the district auditor, John Magill, that he explained to Mr Sullivan the political background to the proposed policy, a fact the latter has never disputed. It also emerged in the evidence before the inquiry that the then chief solicitor, Matthew Ives, himself specifically advised the whole council that the proposed policy was lawful.

My counsel made very clear and detailed submissions to the auditor. He left no one in any doubt as to the exact and specific answer I have to all of the unfounded allegations that have been made against me. I have maintained throughout this inquiry that, in arriving at his "provisional findings", Mr Magill got both the law and the relevant facts completely wrong.

The injustice of the situation is that because of the way this inquiry has been conducted, my reputation has been wrongfully imputed, and until I am vindicated in due course by the courts, Mr Bradley appears to consider himself free to make political capital as and when he wishes.

Yours faithfully,

SHIRLEY PORTER

London, W1

1 March

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