Neil Hamilton

From Academic Kids

This page is about Neil Hamilton, former MP and media personality.

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Mostyn Neil Hamilton (born March 13, 1949) is a former Conservative MP in the United Kingdom. Since his fall from grace and subsequent bankruptcy, Hamilton and his wife Christine have become minor media celebrities.

In 1979 Hamilton unsuccessfully stood as a Parliamentary candidate in Bradford where in a selection speech and an election flyer he advocated "coloured" repatriation.[1] (,2763,195592,00.html) He was finally elected to Parliament in 1983 and served as the MP for the Tatton constituency.

Hamilton, together with Gerald Howarth, subsequently sued the BBC in 1986 after a Panaroma programme, "Maggie's Militant Tendency" (broadcast January 30, 1984), alleged that the MPs had links with far-right groups in Europe and in the UK. The case (financed by Sir James Goldsmith) collapsed when the BBC withdrew, and the plantiffs were awarded damages. The programme also alleged (not admitted as evidence in court, but Hamilton effectively confessed in the Sunday Times), that he gave a Nazi salute in Berlin while on a Parliamentary visit in 1983. (See previously cited article.)

On October 20, 1994 The Guardian, a noted left-leaning publication, published an article claiming that Hamilton, and another minister Tim Smith had received money (paid in the form of cash in brown envelopes) from the Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed for asking questions on his behalf in the House of Commons. The subsequent furore became known as the "Cash-for-questions affair". Tim Smith admitted his guilt and resigned immediately. Neil Hamilton claimed innocence but was eventually forced to resign his position as Corporate Affairs Minister.

During the election of 1997, Hamilton, still claiming his innocence of any wrong-doing, was determined to hold onto his parliamentary seat in what was then one of the safest Conservative constituencies in the country. Conservative Central Office said that selection of candidates was purely a matter for the local party and refused to intervene. The well-known BBC war correspondent Martin Bell was persuaded to stand as an independent candidate. Martin Bell won the seat with a majority of over 11,000 votes, after the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates stood down to give him a clear run at Hamilton's seat. The media coverage surrounding Neil Hamilton and his refusal to stand aside, along with other allegations of sleaze levelled at the party, severely de-railed the Conservatives' election campaign and contributed to the worst defeat the Conservative Party had suffered for 150 years.

Hamilton took Mohamed Al-Fayed to court for libel in 1999, but he lost the trial and the subsequent appeal. In 2001, unable to pay legal fees and costs amounting to some 3m, he was declared a bankrupt. He still has supporters who believe him to have been unfairly treated by the "left-leaning media".

Hamilton's career took an unusual turn in 1997, beginning when he and Christine appeared on the current affairs satire quiz Have I Got News For You. Despite being the subject of numerous taunts about the scandal, including being given their "fee" in brown envelopes at the end of the show, the Hamiltons managed to come through the experience well. At one point Hamilton quipped, "I've found it's much better making political jokes than being one," and many felt that both Hamiltons had shown strong potential. Since then they have often appeared on chat shows and in other formats, including pantomime. In an appearance on a celebrity edition of Mastermind Hamilton described himself as now being, "an object of professional curiosity."

In May 2001 Neil and Christine Hamilton were arrested by police investigating an alleged rape, with an inevitable blaze of publicity. The investigation against them was dropped in August of that year. In June 2003 their accuser, Nadine Milroy-Sloane, was jailed for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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