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June 8, 2002

SPIN doctor Dan Corry yesterday apologised for his political muck-raking against Paddington rail disaster survivors.

His former boss, ex-Transport Secretary Stephen Byers, had already said sorry over Corry's email shame.

The spin doctor had asked Labour officials to find out whether any members of the disaster action group, who were putting pressure on the Government, had Tory links.

When the e-mail's existence emerged, members of the group, including former chairwoman Pam Warren, who suffered massive burns in the crash which killed 31, were outraged.

Yesterday, Corry, who is at the World Cup in Japan, issued his own statement, apologising "unreservedly" for his conduct.

He said: "It was wrong to send these e-mails. I would like to apologise unreservedly to the Paddington Survivors Group, Pam Warren, the relatives involved and to anybody who has taken offence at this.

"I profoundly regret what I did on this occasion."

The e-mail to Labour's Millbank HQ about survivors taking over the PSG from Mrs Warren said: "Basically, are they Tories?".

Corry resigned when Byers quit but the survivors are demanding an undertaking from Tony Blair his tactics will not be used in future.

Blair, who issued a statement expressing his "regret" at the situation on Thursday, is expected to be asked to make a full apology on behalf of the Government when MPs return next week.

Survivors Group chairman Simon Benham said: "I was very shocked when I heard about this, I felt quite sickened by it as well.

"I have no political affiliations whatsoever. That goes for the rest of the group, the members I have spoken to."

The latest scandal from the Transport Department also provoked fury from some Labour MPs who want to see an end to the culture of spin.

Dr Tony Wright, who chairs the Commons public administration committee, said: "My first reaction was one of sheer disbelief.

"You would think by now the computer screen of every special adviser in the department Transport would have a sign saying, 'Don't do it even if you think about it'."

Corry tells of shame. Source:


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