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Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Max Clifford: Behind the headlines
Max Clifford
Max Clifford: Says he could have exposed more people
Max Clifford is the UK's best known publicist and a consummate media manipulator.

Name an individual involved in a high profile news story in recent years and more often than not, he is somewhere there in the background. Even Jimi Hendrix was an early client.

And he has admitted that the woman who has made allegations of sexual assault against former Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife, Christine, came to him for advice.

In the last few years alone he has helped expose Jeffrey Archer and liaised with the media over the story of Siamese twins Jodie and Mary.

Some of Clifford's targets
David Mellor
Neil Hamilton
Jeffrey Archer
Sophie Wessex
Ron Davies

Sophie Wessex - herself a public relations businesswoman - has been on the receiving end of his professional attentions.

And while he is a Labour supporter and an admirer of Tony Blair, this did not stop him tipping off the Mirror that Cherie was pregnant.

But Mr Clifford is a much more complex character than just a purveyor of sleaze, as many of his victims have branded him.

While he makes a very good living for his business, what motivates him is much more than just money.

He cannot stand hypocrisy in public life, and reserves a particular disgust for lying politicians.

Charitable

And bringing up a disabled child - his only daughter Lousie, who has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since childhood - is also a motivating factor behind many of his decisions.

Although he does not criticise the NHS treatment she has received, he says he has watched with growing anger at what has happened to the health service over the past 20 years.

He blames much of this on the Conservatives and for a long time his targets tended to be Tories.

Now they can be Labour as well - Ron Davies's adventures on Clapham Common was another Clifford exclusive.

Leo, Tony and Cherie Blair
Clifford tipped off the papers about Cherie Blair's pregnancy
He applies his own standards and code of conduct when deciding what stories to take on.

He says that while he has broken scandals on politicians, he could have broken 30 or 40 more, but held back because he did not think what they were doing was wrong.

And he sometimes works for free as in the case of a contestant on gameshow the Weakest Link who turned out to be a call girl.

She turned to Max Clifford for help with tabloid harassment. He didn't charge her because he felt sorry for her.

There was also Martyn and Kay Tott, who are trying to get 3m from Camelot on the winning lottery ticket they bought and mislaid. He did not charge them for his advice.

Despite these acts, there still remains an arbitrary nature to his decisions.

However he stands by his principles and while he is hated by some, he says he is happy with his career.

Death threats

This has not prevented him sometimes being the victim of more than just verbal attacks about the way he makes his living.

He received death threats demanding he axe links with the five men who were suspected of the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

He said he had not represented them, but had merely put them in touch with ITV interviewer Martin Bashir.

He also received death threats when he represented OJ Simpson.

Public relations has never been such a risky business but when Max Clifford is involved the stakes are often high.

See also:

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