Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

Tony Baldry MP – a correction

with 6 comments

One of the more amusing libel threats I’ve had since starting this blog came in 2010, on behalf of Tony Baldry MP, who at the time was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Banbury (he is now Sir Tony Baldry, the Member for North Oxfordshire).

Mr Baldry had taken exception to a blog post I had written about his dealings with a notoriously-corrupt Nigerian politician, James Ibori. So concerned was the Honorable Member that he deployed the services of the media law firm Olswang to make his concerns known. Here’s the “Strictly Private and Confidential” letter they sent to WordPress, cc-ing me.

Since then, James Ibori has been convicted by the UK courts of money-laundering on an epic scale.

Following a Freedom of Information request to the UK Foreign Office, I recently obtained a copy of the letter that Tony Baldry had sent in 2009 to the then Foreign Secretary, in which he raised concerns about the “draconian” freezing of James Ibori’s assets by the UK courts.

Due to a failure of file-format savvy at my end, and a lamentable over-reliance on MS Paint, I had initially thought, wrongly, that the Foreign Office had only sent me the first page of the letter – and wrote a somewhat tetchy blogpost.

In fact, they had sent me the entire thing, barring a couple of redactions.

The letter paints an intriguing picture of Tony Baldry’s work on behalf of James Ibori. Sir Tony has been at pains to point out that he wrote it in his capacity as a barrister, not as an MP. He also insists that he was not “lobbying” on Ibori’s behalf, and that he acted entirely appropriately.

I’m publishing the letter in full here (PDF converted from TIF), so Mr Baldry’s constituents can decide for themselves what they think of their MP’s second-job activities.

Private Eye also have a copy of the letter, and have published their take on it in this week’s edition.

Written by Richard Wilson

September 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm

6 Responses

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  1. It was claimed that some of the Metropolitan Officers investigating Former Ibori were also taking bribes from Ibori.

    Environmental Human rights activist Saro Wiwa was also trying to expose Oil Corporations abuses in his State in Nigeria, how many more need to be assassinated for merely trying to speak up?

    Remember Saro Wiwa

    August 23, 2012 at 7:44 am

  2. Any objections to the PDF being reposted Richard?

    Stuart Brown

    August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

  3. Richard, we Nigerians can’t thank you enough, you suceeded where we failed. With your permission I’d like to reproduce this

    Osyman Dias

    August 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    • Thankyou! Though I suspect it was Private Eye’s renewed interest that prompted them to remember my request for an internal review of their refusal to release the letter… Please feel free to reproduce any part of this.

      Richard Wilson

      August 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

  4. You might like to know that the link to the Independent article (at referenced in your post above (“he insists that he was not lobbying on Idori’s behalf”) now leads to a blank page on the Independent site with 0 comments. What did it say before it was censored?

    actuary21c (@actuary21c)

    October 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

    • Interesting… Thanks for the tip-off. I wonder if the Independent have decided to “retract” their apology in light of the facts that are now public?!

      Richard Wilson

      October 18, 2012 at 6:26 am

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