Big Fat Lies

An occasional series available on exploring the flavours of honesty.


Jonathan Aitken's statement on Guardian allegations

'The simple sword of truth'

Minister says he reacted to 'wicked' allegations with shock and disgust. Full statement.

Tuesday April 11, 1995

I was shocked and disgusted by the very serious allegations made against me in the Guardian newspaper this morning.

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.

My fight begins today. Thank you and good afternoon.


The day the sword of truth struck home aitken.bmp (162054 bytes)

Matthew Engel
Wednesday June 9, 1999

With an extraordinary symbolic coincidence, the end linked back to the beginning. Right at the outset, Jonathan Aitken said he was going to fight "the cancer of bent and twisted journalism" with "the simple sword of truth".

And, straight in front of him, all day yesterday, was the sword. The Sword of Justice, to be precise, forged by a master cutler in 1563, and always placed at the Old Bailey behind the highest ranking judge on duty. When Mr Justice Scott Baker sentenced him to nine months' imprisonment, Aitken had nowhere else to stare.

Full coverage and background, including Aitken's correspondence with the Guardian