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Judge tells Grieve to publish prince's letters to ministers

No 'reasonable grounds' to keep secret 27 letters sent to six government from Prince Charles

A blackout imposed on letters to ministers from meddling Prince Charles was yesterday overturned by the second most senior judge in England and Wales.

Lord Dyson said there were no "reasonable grounds" to keep secret 27 letters sent to six government departments between September 2004 and April 2005.

Tory Attorney General Dominic Grieve had denied a request for access to the letters by Guardian journalist Rob Evans under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Evans's request was initially upheld by a High Court judge at an upper tribunal, but later vetoed by Mr Grieve using special ministerial powers.

The Tory argued that they were part of Charles's "prep-
aration for becoming king."

But Lord Dyson declared: "The mere fact that he reached a different conclusion from the Upper Tribunal in weighing the competing public interests involved was not good enough."

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) welcomed the decision to ensure the release of Prince Charles's "lobbying letters" and praised Mr Evans's "tenacity."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: "The union is appalled at the government's decision to appeal against the decision to quash the attorney general's veto on publishing the correspondence.

"Ministers have objected to interference from the prince's so-called 'black-spider memos' and while the NUJ accepts that a king and a cat have a right to lobby government, it should be transparent and on an equal basis."

Mr Grieve immediately announced he would launch an appeal in the Supreme Court.

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