LETTERS: 'Terrorist' should be forgiven

I AM not a member of the Labour Party. I met John Lloyd but once and briefly, and I abhor the use of violence against person or property in pursuit of political ends, just as I found apartheid also abhorrent.

Nevertheless, it is absurd that on the one hand Mr Lloyd is reviled by some Conservative MPs as a "former terrorist" while on the other hand some of his erstwhile comrades claim that he is not fit for public office because, in a state of shock and horror - presumably distressed by the injury and loss of life of which he was told while in custody as happening at Johannesburg railway station - he consented to, and did, give evidence against the man who planted the bomb ("Bombs and betrayal haunt would- be MP", 29 October).

Ought we not, on all sides, to heed in this case and others the injunction of St Matthew to "Judge not, that ye be not judged"? Should we now say, for example, that all those who supported apartheid and the violence and deprivation of liberty which went with it must be hounded from office even when they have seen the error of their ways and truly regret what happened.

Better, surely, on all sides to follow the tolerant example of President Mandela, Vice-President De Klerk and Archbishop Tutu and to practise forgiveness.

Stanley Best