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Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Christine Hamilton: Full text of interview
Christine Hamilton with husband Neil
The couple say they do not expect to be charged
Former Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine have been accused of committing a serious sexual assault.

Interviewed by presenter John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mrs Hamilton, 51, vehemently denied the allegations.

PR consultant Max Clifford also appeared on the programme.

This is a full transcript of the interviews.

John Humphrys: When did you hear about the allegations?

Christine Hamilton: We heard the detailed allegations yesterday afternoon at Barkingside police station when they were given to our solicitor and he then relayed them to us.

We had gone willingly to the police station, because it was explained to us that if we didn't go, they would come for us, as it were at five o'clock in the morning.

We were arrested and formally cautioned and then these utterly appalling and disgusting allegations were put to us via our solicitor and then Neil and I were interviewed separately by the police about them.

Humphrys: And the outcome of the interview with the police was what?

Hamilton: Well believe it or not we are on bail. They haven't asked for any money for our bail, but we are officially on police bail, while they make further investigations.

The whole thing is just a monstrous, outrageous waste of police time frankly and I think they probably know that.

Humphrys: There has been no charge?

Hamilton: There has been no charge. We were not at all surprised when the final question that was put to both of us, we were interviewed independently, I think for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half each, the final question was 'did the name Max Clifford mean anything to us'?

Well when the police ask you 'does the name Max Clifford mean anything to you' all your suspicions, which we had anyway, were confirmed and he has apparently now been on the airwaves saying 'yes he has had something to do with this'.

So the jigsaw is fitting in rather nicely. I've recovered my sense of humour now, it was not funny, it was the most ghastly, grotesque, humiliating experience. We've had six policemen, can you believe it?

Six policemen have been up to our home in Cheshire searching our house while we've been in London.

We've had I don't know how many policemen searching our flat. They have a search warrant. They have taken our computers.

It is mind boggling just because a woman who may or may not have been raped. I don't know - if she has I'm very sorry - it may just be a trumped up charge. The whole thing is just nonsense on stilts.

Humphrys: Well the whole thing as I understand it, correct me if I'm wrong, the woman went to Max Clifford and he said to her, 'go to the police'.

Hamilton: You're better informed than I am, yes.

Humphrys: Have you ever met this woman?

Hamilton: Never, absolutely never. I've never been to Ilford, which is where it is alleged to have taken place. Of course I have never met the woman.

Humphrys: Have you ever been involved in the sort of Internet sex arrangements?

Hamilton: Of course not, of course not.

Humphrys: So why do you think you and your husband should have been chosen as the victims of this, if that is what has happened?

Hamilton: Well you'd have to ask Mr Clifford that. You'd have to ask him why we were chosen. Apparently the girl says she recognised us from news bulletins, so the upshot of this is it is actually very serious for people who are remotely in the public eye because it means anybody can make allegations of this sort.

They can say 'I recognise John Humphries' from the news bulletins and before you know where you are, you John Humphrys are in the police station.

Humphrys: What do you believe will happen to you now? Are you expecting charges?

Hamilton: No we are not expecting charges. Frankly I think the police have wasted enough time on this. I couldn't count, eight, nine, ten policemen who we were led to believe were specially there yesterday afternoon for our benefit as it were.

But no we are not expecting charges. If charges are brought, I really give up on this country frankly. I give up on the British legal establishment anyway.

But if charges are brought it's mind boggling. When all the details are known, it is mind boggling it's got this far. If they bring charges, well, in the famous words of somebody else, 'I'm a banana'.

John Humphrys then questioned Max Clifford.

Humphrys: The phrase that Christine Hamilton used was that you 'had something to do with this'. Can we clear up what happened. Is it the case that a young woman, whom obviously we cannot identify, went to see you and made these allegations?

Max Clifford: The young lady came to see me at the beginning of May and she made allegations concerning the Hamiltons, allegations that went on over a period of several months.

During the course of a couple of discussions, I said 'what evidence have you got to substantiate this, can you prove it'? She said 'yes I will get the evidence and come back'.

A couple of days later, after visiting me, she phoned me to tell me in her words that 'she had been raped, she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault and rape'. I said 'you've got to go to the police'. And that's what she did.

The police came to see me on 14 May and I told them everything that she had said to me, all the previous allegations and leading up to the allegations of the serious sexual assault.

That was as I say 14 May. They have been investigating since then and apart from a couple of conversations with the lady when she has phoned me to tell me what's been going on, and she phoned me, yesterday was the last time I spoke to her. I've not been involved at all.

As far as I'm concerned, these were her allegations. I wasn't making any allegations. The police were looking into it. The fact that after three-and-a-half months of investigation they decided to bring the Hamiltons in, you make your own conclusions.

Humphrys: Why didn't you tell her to go to the police from the moment she knocked on your door?

Clifford: During the course of an average week, my office probably gets on average 40 to 50 calls, sometimes from people alleging all kinds of things.

Because I've been in this business for 40 years, I tend to try to make sure that there's some kind of evidence, there's something there to back up allegations, whatever it is.

Humphrys: But that's the job the police are supposed to do isn't it?

Clifford: No, I'm not supposed to do anything John. When it was an allegation of rape, I immediately said 'contact the police'. What she was talking about before was not an allegation of rape. It was a story which would have been extremely interesting, were it to be true, to the British public.

Humphrys: It didn't involve a crime?

Clifford: It didn't involve crime.

Humphrys: So the moment she said 'rape' you said 'go to the police'?

Clifford: Exactly, what would you have done?

Humphrys: I hope exactly that, though I suppose it's unlikely anybody would have come to me with such a story. She made various allegations, Christine Hamilton, some of which might be difficult to discuss on this programme, but there are suggestions that you have ulterior motives for your involvement in this.

Clifford: No, I've got no ulterior motive at all. I have got no interest in the Hamiltons whatsoever. I've only ever regarded them as light relief. Most of what they do I find incredibly amusing.

So I've got no interest in the Hamiltons, I've got far more interest in the clients I represent and the people I do PR for around the world. I've had nothing to do with any of the things that have gone on in their past.

Humphrys: In the case of this woman, are you surprised that she should, if the appalling things happened to her that she alleges happened to her.

Are you surprised that she would have come to you, a publicist, rather than gone straight to the police in the first place. If you knew somebody who'd been raped, you'd expect them to go to the police immediately.

Clifford: At that time John she hadn't been raped. When she first came to me, absolutely right, she came to me with a story involving the Hamiltons which had gone on for some time, but it wasn't a crime and she wanted to go to the media. I didn't ask her to come to me.

I didn't suggest she went to the media. She came to me. That's what she wanted to do. She wanted to bring these allegations into the public domain so that they would stop and the problems that she said she'd encountered, because of the Hamiltons, for a long period of time, would stop.

Humphrys: Have you been asked to give evidence to the police?

Clifford: The police came to see me and I told them everything I knew. I haven't made any allegations, the young lady has. Three-and-a-half months later, the police have made these moves, not Max Clifford.

Christine Hamilton
"It was the most ghastly, grotesque, humiliating experience"
See also:

10 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Profile: Neil Hamilton
22 May 01 | UK
Hamilton declared bankrupt
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