DAVID MELLOR'S friend Mona Bauwens said last night that she would ''go

for a retrial'' of her libel action against the People, which ended

yesterday in a ''hung'' jury's failure to reach a verdict.

Mrs Bauwens, who claimed the newspaper portrayed her as a ''social

leper'' not fit to be seen with a Government Minister, was obviously

shocked by the inconclusive outcome from the jurors, who were split


However, the 31-year-old film producer said: ''I am going to fight


Mr Richard Stott, editor of the People at the time of the allegedly

libellous publication and now editor of the Daily Mirror, insisted the

result was a ''famous victory'' for British journalism. If the case went

to a retrial, it would be defended.''

Clinging to her husband, banker Mohammed Shourjabi, Mrs Bauwens,

greeted the jury's failure to reach a majority verdict with a calm


She said later she was ''disappointed'' that the jury of six men and

six women had not reached a consensus verdict after four-and-a-quarter

hours deliberation.

She was also disappointed that the People had not agreed to a

suggestion from her counsel, Mr Richard Hartley QC, that the Judge, Mr

Justice Drake, should now decide the case himself.

If there is a retrial, it will add

significantly to the legal costs of the case, which are already

unofficially estimated at #250,000. If there is no retrial, each side

must meet its own costs.

Mrs Bauwens -- daughter of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's

finance chief -- had claimed she was the target of a September 1990

article headlined ''Top Tory and his pal from the PLO,'' which

criticised Mr Mellor, then Minister for the Arts, for spending a family

holiday with her at a Marbella villa at the time of Saddam Hussein's

invasion of Kuwait and when the PLO had come out in support of the


Mr Stott and Mirror Group Newspapers denied libel, saying their story

was justified fair comment on Mr Mellor's political judgment and not an

attack on Mrs Bauwens.

Mr Mellor faced fresh calls to quit last night after it emerged that

he did not refer his holiday gift from Mrs Bauwens to then Prime

Minister Mrs Thatcher.

Pressure on him to go continued despite an emphatic denial by the

Heritage Secretary yesterday that he was to resign.

However, many MPs now suspect the Minister's position is damaging the


Mr Nicholas Winterton, Tory MP for Macclesfield, said: ''I do not want

to be unpleasant with a colleague. I just think David Mellor's sell-by

date in respect of what has happened has passed.''