22 MAY 1993, Page 24

Sir: In your issue of 1 May (`Truth might out'),

you say, 'If Alan Clark had been com- pletely honest with Customs and Excise, the [Matrix-Churchill] prosecutions could not have been started'. You may be right in your belief, but the suggestion is scan- dalous. The most important plank in our society is the rule of law, which is much more important, and much older, than democracy. Under the rule of law, laws apply to everyone, and certainly to govern- ment ministers. Neither Mr Clark nor any- one else had any right to break the law on exports to Iraq, nor to authorise anyone else, for example the Directors of Matrix- Churchill, to do so. Your proposition should have been that if Mr Clark had been completely honest with Customs and Excise they should have prosecuted him too.

Michael Ashenden

25 Melrose Road, Merton Park, London SW19