British minister expresses regret to Chakrabarti

June 21st, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 21 (IANS) British civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti has said a letter from Culture Minister Andy Burnham appeared to show “genuine regret” after making comments about her and Conservative party MP David Davis. “I am grateful for Mr Burnham’s letter, which seems to show genuine regret for the distress his remarks caused me and my family.

“These remarks coincided with a relentless campaign of Westminster gossip that could only distract from serious issues and discourage young women from entering public life,” said Chakrabarti, who heads the British group Liberty.

Chakrabarti threatened to sue Burnham Thursday after he claimed in a magazine interview that she shared “late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls” with Davis, the former Conservative party spokesman on home affairs who has resigned as MP to launch a public debate on civil liberties.

Burnham wrote to Chakrabarti Friday, saying: “I have been genuinely taken aback at an interpretation placed on my remarks by others that I did not intend,” the Independent newspaper reported.

The paper said Burnham had “stopped short of saying sorry”.

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