Former Thomas Cook chief executive Harriet Green has denied trying to gag a Labour MP in a row over the deaths of two children in a Corfu hotel.
Mary Creagh, MP for the family of Bobby and Christi Shepherd who were killed by gas poisoning while on a Thomas Cook holiday, claimed Green tried to use a solicitor’s letter to discourage her from raising the issue in Parliament, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The claim came ahead of a Commons debate this week when shadow cabinet minister Creagh is due to demand new safety standards to prevent a repeat of the 2006 tragedy.
The Wakefield MP is also expected to accuse the government of blocking EU-wide moves to improve carbon monoxide safety in hotels and holiday homes.
Creagh said Green’s solicitors sent her a letter two months ago just as the MP prepared to publish a Commons motion critical of her and Thomas Cook.
The letter, from solicitors Withers and emailed at 4.57am on May 28, began: “We act for Harriet Green. We note that you intend to submit an Early Day Motion for debate in the House of Commons.”
It stressed it was “in no way seeking to interfere with Parliamentary debate” but was trying to give the MP the “relevant facts”.
Creagh said: “This letter was clearly designed to silence me and to have a chilling effect on me speaking out about the behaviour of Thomas Cook.
“They may claim it was only intended to clarify and put me in full possession of the facts as Harriet Green saw them. But sending an MP a solicitor’s letter at 5am is hardly the way to do that.”
A spokeswoman for Green denied the claim, telling the newspaper: “It is a misrepresentation to suggest the letter tried to silence this MP who is, and always has been, free to choose to be factual or not. Anyone who reads the letter will see that it does not seek to do what she claims.”
She added: “Harriet fully supports public debate on the serious issue of carbon monoxide, which is why she has donated a significant amount of her own money to help this crucial cause, despite not having joined Thomas Cook until six years after the tragedy took place.”
Green, who left Thomas Cook last November, has also insisted that she did not refuse to meet the children’s parents, Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd.
She has agreed to donate a third of a £5.6 million bonus she received to charities agreed by the parents.
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