HC Deb 28 October 1994 vol 248 c896W
Mr. Byers

To ask the Attorney-General what plans he has to stop the publication and serialisation of works by Mrs. Betty Maxwell; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

As a result of representations made to me, my officials approached Macmillan Publishers Limited to ascertain whether they would be willing to provide an advance copy of the proposed book, "A Mind of My Own", by Elisabeth Maxwell and their co-operation was forthcoming. Having considered the book and taken advice from both junior and leading counsel, I concluded that its contents are not such as would justify an application to the High Court to restrain publication as being likely to create a substantial risk that the course of justice in the forthcoming criminal proceedings arising from the collapse of the Maxwell companies will be seriously impeded or prejudiced.

Macmillan Publishers Limited has been informed of the decision. My officials have made it clear to it that the conclusion reached by me relates only to the material which has been made available to me. If any material generated as part of the process of launching the book gives rise to concern, such material will need to be considered on its own merit. The same considerations apply also to reviews, comment or other reporting which may be triggered by publication of the book.

I have not sought or received material from Times Newspapers Limited, which owns the serialisation rights in relation to the book. It has, however, been informed of the conclusion reached and that it can relate only to the book as a whole. It is aware that separate consideration would need to be given to any serialisation which gave rise to concern as the result of editing or presentation which has been done in such a way as to alter the overall impact and effect of the book.