Martha Stewart banned from UK

LAST UPDATED AT 10:08 ON Fri 20 Jun 2008

Former jailbird and lifestye guru Martha Stewart had planned to be in London this week- she was to give a talk at the Royal Academy and had meetings set up with leading figures in the fashion industry, including Jasper Conran - but that's all been cancelled because she's just learnt that she cannot enter Britain because of her criminal convictions - in 2004 she served five months in a US prison for lying to federal agents investigating insider trading.

The decision was made by the recently created UK Border Agency, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. Stewart, who runs a multi-million pound media business around her cookery and home-making books and TV programmes, and who was once described as the "definitive woman of our time", is said to be furious, but is keen to play down the matter. Said a spokesman: "Martha loves England and hopes this can be resolved and that she will be able to visit soon."

It is not clear if Ms Stewart had been singled out or was a victim of a blanket rule imposed by the new agency. A spokesman for the Border Agency said: "We continue to oppose the entry to the UK of individuals where we believe their presence in the United Kingdom is not conducive to the public good or where they have been found guilty of serious criminal offences abroad." · 

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