LETTERS : Cherie Blair and the poll tax defaulter

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The Independent Online
Last week, our main front-page article reported that Cherie Blair, a barrister and the wife of the Labour leader Tony Blair, had acted in a series of cases for councils pursuing poll tax defaulters. In one case, she asked a judge to return a bail ed defaulter to jail. We also reported that she had given a conference paper on how to enforce the law, including the threat of prison, against defaulters. A leader explained our decision to publish the story.

In response, we received nearly 100 letters. A large majority of these said we were wrong to give the story such prominence. Below, we publish a selection.

I MUST object to your headline treatment of Cherie Blair, and ask the reason for this story. Are the wives of politicians not permitted to have successful careers independently of their husbands? Are you suggesting that poll tax defaulters should not be prosecuted, or that it is wrong for council officers to be told how to initiate the procedure properly? Or could it be that someone who has two homes should not do her job to the best of her ability whoever she is acting for?

If Cherie Booth was not able to do her job properly because of her political views that, indeed, might be newsworthy. Your story was not.

Diane Holden Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire

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