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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 18:14 GMT
New Blair row statements in full
The controversy over Cherie Blair's flat purchase continues to roll on with news that she took part in a conference call with Peter Foster's solicitor about his deportation case.

Here are the full texts of Monday's statement from Mr Foster's solicitor and Downing Street's response.

Janes Solicitors have been retained by Peter Foster in his London Solicitors in respect of his immigration status and in Defence of any alleged criminal conduct.

In this context you may be forgiven for being amazed that the proceedings against him are based on a Trade Descriptions Act offence some fifteen years ago in 1988; and Peter Foster's last offence (forgery) in the United Kingdom occurred in 1995. It will be contended that his notoriety is un-deserved and his past misdeeds greatly exaggerated.

Janes Solicitors have been inundated by enquiries from the media. This firm has not thus far responded to any of these enquiries because the essence of the relationship between a Solicitor and its client is one of privacy and confidentiality.

We will not therefore reveal any information without the express authority of our client. Please respect this.

Conference call

There are however certain matters we have been instructed to clear up so as to avoid rumour and further intense speculation emanating from press enquires:

1. We have received only one telephone call from Cherie Booth QC.

This was on the 22nd November 2002. It was a conference call with Carole Caplin.

The avowed and plain purpose of the telephone call was to reassure Carole that the immigration proceedings against Peter Foster were being conducted on a regular and normal basis and there was nothing untoward. We were happy to confirm this.

We wish to emphasise that Cherie Booth QC did not intrude into our conduct of the proceedings and for the avoidance of doubt, had no say whatsoever in our choice of representation of Counsel.

In our opinion she was simply seeking to provide support and assurance to her friend Carole and acted with complete propriety.

Deportation call

2. By complete coincidence Janes Solicitors are acting for one of the defendants in the Jubilee Line fraud allegations to be heard at the Central Criminal Court.

We have been so acting since 1999. He is not one of the defendants involved in the current affair and there is no connection.

3. The 'threatening' telephone call from the Home Office referred to in media reports over the weekend was directed to his firm on Tuesday 3rd December 2002.

The telephone call was not threatening in tone or nature but only in literal sense that arrangements had been made for the removal of Peter Foster to Australia on Friday 6th December 2002.

However we must say that this decision made a day earlier ordering Mr Foster to report for interview on the 18th December 2002.

This has now been put on ice pending appeal. An appeal has been issued and will be served today.

4. We have nothing further to add and will not do so without express instructions from our client.

Janes Solicitors.

In response to that statement, Mrs Blair said: "Mrs Blair stands emphatically by her statement that had she known the details of Peter Foster's past she would have been more circumspect.

"At no point did she interfere in the immigration case proceedings. Nor would she.

"She made one short phone call to Mr Fosters solicitors, as a friend of Carol Caplin, to reassure Miss Caplin that the solicitors were handling the case in the normal way."

The BBC's Guto Harri
"The prime minister has been dragged right into the centre of this rather messy story"
The BBC's Liz Rowley
"Why was a private matter dealt with by the Downing Street press office?"

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06 Dec 02 | Politics
14 Jun 02 | Politics
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