Justice minister Bridget Prentice has come under fire for `dismissing' arguments made by MPs in a debate on libel laws.
In a letter to Prentice (pictured), seen by the Gazette, Rotherham MP Denis MacShane, who led the adjournment debate in December, said: `I regret deeply you could not be more positive in supporting the views expressed by MPs. I hope the DCMS Select Committee which is examining this issue can come up with recommendations that persuade your officials to change their and your line.'
The debate centred on `libel tourism', the use of English courts to settle foreign cases (see  Gazette, 15 January, 3).
In January, Prentice wrote to seven of the MPs who took part in the debate to `set out the government's views'.
MacShane said in his reply: `Your letter will, I fear, cause dismay to the many editors concerned about the issue, though it will reassure the libel lawyers.
`At the least I would have hoped that the doctrine of forum non conveniens might have got your full endorsement and thus create ministerial guidance for the operation of this area of law.'
Prentice had said in her letter: `I believe that these rules on jurisdiction strike a fair balance between the interests of claimants and defendants, and provide sufficient protection against "libel tourism".'