LETTER:Honours of ownership

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The Independent Online
From Mr Michael Cole

Sir: In your profiles of men who might aspire to be press barons ("To be king of the fourth estate" 14 November), you mentioned the chairman of this company and said that Mohamed al-Fayed has probably resigned himself to doing without a knighthood, which you said was part of the appeal of media ownership.

Mr al-Fayed considers that his ownership of two national institutions, L'Hotel Ritz, Paris and Harrods of Knightsbridge is honour enough for any man, but you appear to have overlooked the fact that as an Egyptian he is not eligible to be "Sir Mohamed". As this Government has denied him British citizenship, against all the tenets of natural justice, and has gone out of its way to prevent him acquiring a newspaper or a radio station, it is hardly likely that the Prime Minister will be recommending him for an honorary knighthood - notwithstanding the fact that Mr al-Fayed almost certainly contributes more in personal income tax to the national exchequer than the entire membership of the House of Commons, including the Speaker.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Cole


Director of Public Affairs

London, SW1

15 November