Joan Edwards’ solicitors state her wishes were “specifically checked”: she wanted bequest to go to parties

by Stephen Tall on August 14, 2013

Another twist to add to the tale of Joan Edwards’ bequest. After the furore whipped-up by today’s Daily Mail, the Lib Dems and Conservatives had little choice but to renounce the cash. But it turns out that, by doing so, the donor’s actual wishes may well have been denied. Here’s the statement from her solicitors, Davis Woods, executors of Miss Edwards’ estate:

We confirm that we act as executors of the late Joan Edwards.

The Will was drafted by a solicitor at Davis Wood in 2001.

At the time of the instructions received from the late Miss Edwards, the solicitor specifically checked with Miss Edwards about the unusual nature of her proposed bequest and it was confirmed by Miss Edwards at the time of her instructions that her estate was to be left to whichever political party formed the Government at the date of her death.

Why the wording of her will wasn’t made unambiguous, I don’t know. Perhaps she and her solicitors weren’t expecting her will to be pounced on by the Daily Mail and those who rushed to believe it? Maybe there are yet more twists in this case.

What is clear is that the Mail’s accusation that the Lib Dems and Conservatives swindled an elderly lady out of her life’s savings is untrue. If her executors are to be believed, they and the political parties concerned honoured her wishes. I won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology, though.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and edited the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.