Saturday, March 6, 1999 Published at 12:54 GMT
Aitken wins delay over £2m libel bill
Jonathan Aitken: Libel case collapsed
The High Court has granted former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken an order preventing anyone taking legal action to recover money from him in the next fortnight.
The move comes as the Guardian newspaper and Granada Television continue to pursue Aitken for the £2m he was ordered to pay them as a result of a failed libel action.
Mr Aitken, 56, is to be sentenced in June after admitting perjury and perverting the course of justice.
A Granada Television spokesman said: "This latest manoeuvre comes as no surprise and is entirely consistent with Mr Aitken's approach to honouring his obligations.
"We will obviously press our claims as a principle creditor."
The Guardian declined to comment.
Mr Aitken's solicitor, Milton Silverman, said he was unable to comment.
£1,000 hotel bill
In 1995 Mr Aitken resigned as chief secretary to the treasury to defend himself from accusations that - as minister in charge of defence procurement in 1993 - he allowed an Arab friend to pay his £1,000 bill for a stay at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
Accepting the payment would have been in contravention of the bible of government conduct, Questions of Procedure for Ministers.
The move came after charges against Mr Aitken's former business associate, Said Ayas, 56, were dropped.
He faced two charges of plotting to pervert the course of justice during the libel action, but the case was dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.