1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

GRILLING: Kate and Gerry McCann

Jerry Lawton

MADELEINE McCanns’ parents will find out within 48 hours if the Brit Government will let them face a new grilling over their daughter’s disappearance.

The prosecutor in charge of the case was last night set to send a letter asking for formal permission to re-interview them and their holiday dinner pals - the so-called Tapas Seven - to the Home Office. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, 44, will then decide whether or not to allow the further questioning to take place.

Detectives believe the secret to Madeleine’s fate lies within the group and are relying on the new interviews to crack the case that’s gripped the world. They hope the Home Secretary will immediately give the go ahead to the fresh round of interrogations. But police in Portugal have long been suspicious about British Government involvement in the investigation and fear further political interference.

They were suspicious when they discovered Madeleine’s heart surgeon dad Gerry, 39, who sits on a Government advisory committee on the health effects of radiation, had received personal phone calls from Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And they were "unsettled’’ to discover the PM had discussed the case with Portuguese political chiefs.

A source close to the investigation said last night: "Normally interview requests like this would be granted in minutes. "But everyone is aware this is a very special case for many reasons. "Police in Portugal have been aware of a political shadow hanging over it.

"They are not taking anything for granted. That is why they have sweated over this letter and the questions contained in int. The prosecutor’s letter contains list of key questions he wants Brit police to ask the McCanns and pals dining with them in the tapas bar when Madeleine disappeared on May 3.

It also includes instructions on what evidence to introduce during the interrogations - and details of the Portuguese laws the couple are alleged to have breached. Detectives are baffled by "inconsistencies’’ in their witness statements.

They want the interviews carried out as soon as next week. Police allege Madeleine died in an accident inside the apartment while her GP mum Kate, 39, and dad Gerry were dining with pals in the tapas bar 75 yards away.

They claim the couple disposed of the body to mask their negligence. The McCanns’ deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance and insist she was abducted. Last night it was revealed the McCanns - who are official suspects - and their friends had been advised to recruit SEPARATE lawyers for the interviews. At least four of the pals could also be named suspects.

The McCanns have axed the London-based public relations firm that has been representing them since they jetted back to Britain after being named suspects. Media specialists Hanover had been handling more than 100 calls a day at the start, but now interview request had dwindled to two.

They charged the Find Madeleine fund £30,000 for their two months of service - around a third their normal rate. The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell will now handle all the couple’s PR single-handed.

A spokesman for Hanover said: "We have passed the management of the press office to Clarence Mitchell. "This reflects a decrease in international press interest." Mr Mitchell said: "We are hugely grateful to Hanover. Without the support of their team we would not have been able to cope with the level of international press interest.

"The search continues and our focus remains finding Madeleine."

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