I have no hesitation in stating categorically that
these allegations are wicked lies. I have therefore today issued a writ for defamation
against the Guardian, its editor in chief, Mr Peter Preston, and the journalist who wrote
the article, Mr Pallister.
Here in Britain we have both the best media in the
world and the worst media in the world. That small latter element is spreading a cancer in
our society today, which I will call the cancer of bent and twisted journalism.
The malignant cells of that bent and twisted
journalistic cancer include those who engage in forgeries or other instruments of deceit
to obtain information for the purposes of a smear story.
They include those who hold grievances or grudges of
their own and are prepared to give or sell false testimony about others to further their
own bitter agendas.
Above all they include those who try to abuse media
power to destroy or denigrate honourable institutions and individuals who have done
nothing seriously wrong.
I have done nothing wrong.
I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes in
30-odd years of life as a writer, businessman, parliamentarian and minister but I am
prepared to stand on my record as a decent and honourable one - in Saudi Arabia and
elsewhere - and to defend it not only before the jury of the courts but before the wider
jury of all fair minded people.