Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ukip candidate libels leading libel lawyer

If you were taking on a sitting MP who is a barrister specialising in libel, you would be especially careful over what you said about him, wouldn't you?

Not if you were a Ukip candidate, it seems.

Over to the Leicester Mercury:
A UKIP General Election candidate has agreed to pay £1,000 to charity after making false accusations against Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier QC. 
Clive Langley alleged in a tweet that the former Solicitor General and prominent libel lawyer had made an improper claim for a “very expensive desk”. 
In a second tweet he alleged that Sir Edward may have made improper claims for staff expenses to the tune of £133,000. 
But Sir Edward said: “My office desk is not mine. It belongs to the House of Commons. The desk at home I inherited from my late mother-in-law. He said the staffing expenses had been authorised and could be seen on line. 
He told Mr Langley in a letter: “Both allegations are false and calculated to sow suspicious about me in the minds of the publishees.”
I'm not sure what 'publishees' is doing here, but I guess that is why I am not a leading libel barrister like Sir Edward.

A startling feature of this affair is that the libelous tweets were drawn to Sir Edward's attention by the Labour candidate Sundip Meghani.

No one likes a tell-tale, and I am sure there is someone in Harborough Conservatives capable of following Clive Langley on Twitter.

That said, they have not always been  at the forefront of technology. I recall the Tories' incredulity when I produced a pocket calculator at the count in Market Harborough in 1985.

As it turned out, we gained the town ward on the county council with such a large swing that I could have done with a mainframe to compute it.

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