I will be following this case very carefully.
It seems Rachel Riley, the Countdown co-host turned Twitter anti-Semitism crusader, is suing Labour’s complaints chief, Laura Murrey, for defamation.
Ms Riley is seeking £50,000 in damages, plus court costs, over an exchange of tweets earlier this year.
It happened after Jeremy Corbyn was assaulted in the Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park, by a man who allegedly hit him in the head with an egg. The incident happened in March.
Ms Riley’s response to the event was to retweet a comment made by leftie columnist Owen Jones in January. He had stated, referring to an incident in which members of the BNP had eggs thrown at them: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”
To this, Ms Riley added the words, “Good advice.”
This attracted considerable criticism. I quoted Ash Sarkar’s tweet in my article on the Muslim Welfare House incident:
Jeremy Corbyn was egged by a pro-Brexit protestor outside the same mosque where a far-right terrorist (who initially wanted to murder Corbyn and Sadiq Khan) killed an innocent man in a racist attack 2 years ago.
Imagine being an anti-racist campaigner blind to these optics. https://t.co/ARP4gT4crV
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) March 3, 2019
According to the Jewish Chronicle:
Ms Murray tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for visit my mosque day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.
“Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi.
“This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.”
But Ms Riley said her own post, which quoted a tweet from left-wing commentator Owen Jones, was not a reference to Mr Corbyn and should not be interpreted to mean the Labour leader himself was a Nazi and deserved to be egged.
She said Ms Murray’s tweet about her was an “appalling distortion of the truth.”
Was it? It will be informative to see what the court decides.
When I was informed of the case by a friend, I tweeted: “I remember the incident. This will be a litmus test for further such cases, I think. My personal opinion? Ms Riley doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”
Ms Riley will need to prove that the claim in Ms Murray’s tweet was false; that it was libellous and that it caused damage to her (meaning that she suffered financial loss as a result).
To do this, she will need to explain what other reason she could possibly have had for dredging up a two-month-old tweet about egging Nazis, on the day Mr Corbyn was egged, if not as a comment on that incident.
Her testimony at the witness stand will be enlightening.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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