Category Archives: Parliament

Tory crony contracts: MP gave paid roles to lobbyist

Karl McCartney.

Is this another example of jobs for the Tory boys?

And why was a lobbyist being given access to All-Party Parliamentary Groups?

There needs to be an investigation into this – and the other allegations against Karl McCartney (but there probably won’t be, in Boris Johnson’s unaccountable fascist dictatorship).

A Tory MP handed thousands of pounds worth of paid roles to a lobbyist, prompting calls for tighter rules on cash and influence in Parliamentary groups.

Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, was until last month, chair or vice chair of seven sport-related All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) – bodies set up to allow MPs to discuss a particular subject or interest.

And on each group chaired by Mr McCartney, Three Lines Sport – a firm run by lobbyist Mark Ramsdale – is listed as Secretary.

According to records held by Parliament, Mr Ramsdale’s firm is paid through sponsorship by at least five of the seven groups, earning him or his firm at least £90,000.

Meanwhile, a Business Insider investigation alleged Mr McCartney had used public money to pay a donor, and had allegedly “concealed” his position as a shareholder of his brother’s firm, Moonlighting Systems.

Source: Tory MP handed paid roles on Parliamentary groups to lobbyist amid football team row – Mirror Online

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Starmer out-politicked over Johnson’s lies by new Labour recruit Bercow

John Bercow: more imagination and intelligence than Keir Starmer.

Keir Starmer has been trumped in the row over Boris Johnson repeatedly lying to Parliament – by the new recruit he so warmly welcomed only recently.

John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, said Labour backbencher Dawn Butler was right to claim the prime minister had lied – and called for “absurd” parliamentary rules to be changed so MPs can accuse one another of lying in the chamber.

In a joint article, written with Ms Butler for The Times, he wrote:

“The glaring weakness of the system is that someone lying to tens of millions of citizens knows he or she is protected by an ancient rule.

“They face no sanction. By contrast, an MP with the guts to tell the truth is judged to be in disgrace. It is absurd.”

Contrast this with party leader Starmer’s response, which was to say he agreed with what Ms Butler had said – but then to insist that Acting Deputy Speaker Judith Cummins was right to order the Labour MP to leave:

“In fairness to the temporary Speaker, Judith Cummins, who was there – she did the right thing, she followed the rules, because parliament doesn’t allow you to call other parliamentarians liars in the chamber. So I don’t criticise the deputy speaker for what she did.”

And not a word of support for changing the system.

This is just more evidence that Starmer is not fit to lead the Labour Party.

He simply doesn’t have the imagination to realise that rules are not immutable and may be changed – despite the fact that he works in a place where the rules that govern the whole of the UK are changed on a daily basis.

Ms Butler’s claims were factually accurate, by the way – the organisation Full Fact has checked them and supported them.

And just to blow my own trumpet, This Writer got there before either Starmer or Bercow: I wrote to the Speaker’s Office last week, telling current Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle the rule must be changed and that he should spend the summer devising a reasonable replacement.

I have yet to receive a reply, which should explain much about the state of the Speaker’s Office under Hoyle.

Meanwhile Bercow – by making the point that has been obvious to six-year-old chldren – has set himself up, already, as a potential leadership challenger from the right of the Labour Party.

He would be far more likely to succeed than a left-winger,under more ridiculous rules that demand a challenger must have a certain percentage of fellow MPs in support before a ballot can take place.

I don’t think he will challenge – at least, not yet – but this was a positive first step, and right-wingers in the Parliamentary Labour Party will have taken notice.

They won’t have been able to avoid noticing that the leader they backed only 15 months ago, and continued to support with nonsense claims ever since… is useless.

Source: Change ‘absurd’ rules so MPs can accuse each other of lying, says John Bercow | The Independent

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Boris Johnson’s lies: fact-checker shows Dawn Butler was RIGHT

Fact-checking organisation Full Fact has shown that Dawn Butler was right – and Boris Johnson has consistently given false information to Parliament and the UK.

It cannot say whether Johnson intended to lie, because that depends on the circumstances in which his claims were made.

But it says the Ministerial Code demands that government ministers, including the prime minister, correct any error – including inadvertent errors – at the earliest opportunity. And Boris Johnson has not corrected any of the errors checked by Full Fact.

Ms Butler said:

“The Prime Minister said the economy is growing by 73%. It’s just not true.”

And Full Fact confirmed that the claim was false.

She said:

“[Boris Johnson says he] reinstated nurses’ bursary. Just not true.”

Again, Ms Butler was proved correct: “Mr Johnson’s government has reintroduced a system in which all student nurses receive a non-repayable grant from the government, but it does not pay their tuition fees on their behalf, which was the system when the old bursary applied.”

“[Boris Johnson said] there wasn’t an app [for Covid-19 contact tracing] working anywhere in the world. Just isn’t true.”

Quite right: “There is now some evidence that contact-tracing apps have been effective to some extent in several countries, including the UK.”

“[Boris Johnson said the] Tories invested £34bn in the NHS. Not true.”

Again, she was correct: “This figure does not account for inflation, which tends to make the actual value of a sum of money diminish over time. If you do account for inflation, which is the fairest way to compare sums of money across time, then the ‘real terms’ value of the spending increase was £20.5 billion.

“Nor is this spending increase a ‘record’. The last time NHS spending rose by at least this much in real terms was between 2004/05 and 2009/10.”

Finally:

“The Prime Minister said we have severed the link between infection and serious disease and death. Not only is this not true, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it’s dangerous.”

Right yet again: “Recent data from Public Health England shows that even fully vaccinated people do sometimes get seriously ill with the disease, and a few still die.”

For this, Dawn Butler was ordered to leave the House of Commons?

Isn’t it true that, under the same Ministerial Code that Johnson has broken, “time and time again”, by failing to correct the record, ministers who act as he has should be expelled from Parliament? (I’ll help you out there: it is.)

It seems that the Speaker’s Office, which is supposed to uphold Parliamentary standards – that’s the apparent reason for Ms Butler’s ejection – has been remiss in its duties.

I wrote to Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle about this on Friday (July 23), and I feel no reluctance to share the correspondence with you because I had previously written to him about lies by Tory minister Victoria Atkins and he has failed to respond. Perhaps this will encourage him.

My letter reads:

You have a serious problem here, and it is Parliamentary rules that are to blame.
Yesterday (July 22), Acting Deputy Speaker Judith Cummins ordered Dawn Butler to leave the Commons Chamber because she – rightly – pointed out that prime minister Boris Johnson has lied to Parliament and to the country “time and time again”.
Ms Butler pointed out at the time that “we get in trouble in this place for calling out the lie, rather than the person lying” – and she was absolutely correct.
Evidence of Mr Johnson’s lies is widely available. I understand that Parliament has a rule against misleading Parliament that requires the member who does so to be expelled. This has not been applied to Mr Johnson. Is this because MPs are banned from pointing out that he has lied continually since become an MP?
I am aware that rules governing behaviour in the House of Commons require that MPs must not accuse other members of lying. Was this rule specifically drafted in order to protect liars? If not, then why has it been used in that way? Why is the Speaker’s Office permitting it to be used in that way?
This has happened at a time when dishonesty by government MPs is not only widespread; it is epidemic. Parliament’s rules are clearly not fit for purpose while they are allowed to get away with lying to MPs and to the public, again and again.
As the person with ultimate responsibility for MPs’ behaviour, it is the Speaker’s duty to ensure that everything said by MPs is honest – and that dishonesty is punished. It is not the Speaker’s job to punish people for highlighting dishonesty when it is found. Ms Cummins’ behaviour yesterday must not be repeated when Parliament resumes after the summer recess.
I am therefore writing to urge you to spend the summer recess considering ways to reform the rules, in order to ensure that a mechanism exists, within Parliament, to punish any MP for uttering falsehoods in Parliament – and to ensure that MPs who highlight these falsehoods are not punished for doing so. They are acting in the best interests of the nation.

No response as yet. Is Sir Lindsay keeping his head in the sand because he wants a place in the House of Lords (that his immediate forerunner didn’t get)?

Source: Was Dawn Butler right about Boris Johnson ‘lying’ to Parliament? – Full Fact

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#DawnButler told to leave Commons after pointing out #BorisJohnson has lied ‘time and time again’

Dawn Butler: she was thrown out of the House of Commons for telling the truth about Boris Johnson and his many lies.

Why has Dawn Butler been forced to leave Parliament after voicing a clear and demonstrable truth?

In the House of Commons today, she rightly pointed out that Boris Johnson misled Parliament when he said vaccinations had severed the link between Covid-19 and hospitalisations.

She went on to add that he had lied to Parliament “time and time again” – which he has.

And she said it was reprehensible that, when a member of Parliament is caught lying, the person pointing this out is penalised rather than the liar.

Of course, she was penalised for it:

And of course, she was absolutely right.

Peter Stefanovic has made a video of Boris Johnson’s lies. It has been viewed more than 27 million times and was aired by ITV on Good Morning Britain (the BBC are lily-livered and won’t broadcast it).

Shall we add to that total and consider some of the lies in it? Here it is:

The evidence is clear.

The rot lies in Parliament’s rules.

But you know the Speaker’s Office would prefer to support a liar – blatantly and wholeheartedly – rather than admit it was wrong to victimise another MP for pointing out the truth.

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Tory tone-policing: THEY should modify THEIR tone before talking down about racism to people of colour

Proud of herself: Helen Whately thought it was really clever of her to belittle a Parliamentary colleague because they happened to be a person of colour who didn’t go to a public school like her.

These Tory MPs really are up themselves, aren’t they?

They seem to think that their 80+ seat majority in Parliament means they can patronise the plebs on the opposite benches.

Stupidly, they think this includes tone-policing people of colour about racism.

Take a look at the video here and the comments attached:

(How sad that it was left to a minority political organisation – the Breakthrough Party – to stand up for Labour MPs who were being attacked for not being white public school alumni.)

Most recent offender was Tory talk droid Helen Whately, whose performances indicate that she is programmed with all her responses before being wheeled out to regurgitate them in public at the House of Commons or on TV.

This would explain her failure to announce the NHS three per cent pay deal (she wasn’t programmed to mention it) but not her treatment of Dr Rosena Allin-Khan when that MP challenged her:

People are angry:

It’s entirely possible that the Muslims who have become dispossessed – after Keir Starmer turned Labour into a haven for Islamophobes – will now think again before traipsing across to the Tories.

And not just Muslims:

Here’s the thing, though: being offended won’t achieve anything. People need to take action. So I have a proposal:

Pre-emptive strikes.

It’s too late for the current session but when Parliament returns in the autumn, every Opposition MP (of whichever party) should append their questions or speeches with the words: “The minister is reminded to moderate [his/her] tone to ensure that it is acceptable.

They should all do this, all the time – especially during Prime Minister’s Questions.

And they should only relent when a government spokesperson stands up, apologises for the behaviour of ministers like Whately, and promises that they will not try to belittle their Parliamentary colleagues in such a childish way again.

It won’t happen and I don’t know why. Presumably Opposition MPs are masochists?

Tory MPs face suspension – for ONE DAY – after trying to pervert the course of justice. Why aren’t they in jail?

One law for them: five Tory MPs are being disciplined by a Parliamentary watchdog after they tried to influence the trial of a colleague. That is a crime. Why aren’t they in jail?

We know the reason but I’ll get to it shortly.

The Commons Standards Committee has found that five Conservative MPs breached Parliament’s code of conduct by trying to influence legal proceedings against a colleague:

Theresa Villiers, Natalie Elphicke, Sir Roger Gale, Adam Holloway and Bob Stewart wrote letters regarding ex-MP Charlie Elphicke, who was convicted of sex offences.

The letters on Commons notepaper were addressed to senior judges.

Three of the MPs could be suspended from Parliament for one day.

Ms Villiers, Mrs Elphicke and Sir Roger face suspension, while Mr Holloway and Col Stewart have been told to apologise by the Commons Standards Committee.

Attempting to influence legal proceedings is a crime. These MPs should be facing criminal trial and imprisonment, not suspension from Parliament for a single day.

The way they are being treated is an insult to British justice.

Ah, but the police force that would handle any complaint is the Metropolitan Police, which is run by Cressida Dick. There’s no way any Tory MP will face justice on her watch!

In any case, police are discouraged from prosecuting any member of Parliament at all, under any circumstances. Charlie Elphicke was an exception in which – as I understand it – it was impossible not to take action.

He was the exception that proves the rule that they really are above the law.

Source: Five Tory MPs found to have breached code of conduct – BBC News

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Atkins falsehoods are quietly edited out of Hansard. Will she now be dragged to the Commons to apologise?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action. He looks fierce in this image – but will he be quite so fierce in defending the reputation of the House of Commons, that Victoria Atkins has so casually besmirched?

After This Site highlighted the fact that the official record of Parliamentary proceedings had been ‘doctored’ to misrepresent Home Office minister Victoria Atkins’s smear against Jeremy Corbyn, we learn today that it has been quietly edited again.

Now the record presents her words as she said them, as this tweet from Leftworks shows:

Sadly, this has been done without a word of apology or explanation from the authorities, and this is not acceptable.

Furthermore, Atkins’s speech means she knowingly lied to Parliament – she misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn as a racist, wrongly using the EHRC investigation of the Labour Party as supporting evidence.

Lying to Parliament is a serious offence, and it is also considered extremely poor behaviour to accuse another member of Parliament in the way Ms Atkins has.

She should be dragged back to the Commons to apologise for her speech and explain why she thought it was acceptable to lie that Jeremy Corbyn was a racist in the same debate where she defended Boris Johnson, the prime minister, against the same charge, despite the many known occasions where he has exhibited such behaviour.

I have written to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to that effect. Here’s the text of my letter:

I published an article on my website Vox Political yesterday, referring to surreptitious editing of Hansard to misrepresent the debate on the Urgent Question about racism in the social media, in the Commons on July 14.

In that debate, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins stated, “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch: Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

This was edited in Hansard with three words added as follows (I have capitalised them for ease of identification): “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch, TO DETERMINE WHETHER Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

In the debate, Ms Atkins went on to say, “I will listen to many people about tackling racism and I will work with pretty much anyone, but I will take a long spoon with which to sup with this particular member.”

The effect of her speech as a whole was to falsely present Mr Corbyn, a lifelong campaigner against racism and discrimination of any kind – as I am sure you, being a Labour Party member, are awre – as a racist.

The effect of the editing of Hansard was to corruptly mitigate that falsehood in the record, making it seem she said Labour was only investigated by the EHRC when in fact she presented Labour, and Corbyn, as having been found to have committed the offence stated.

I notice that Hansard has now been surreptitiously edited for a second time, with the offending words removed. I welcome this, although I believe the people of the UK deserve an explanation as to why the falsehoods appeared in the official record in the first place. In fact, I am writing to demand one. How many other falsehoods have been edited into Hansard, unnoticed?

Additionally, the new version makes Ms Atkins’s false claim against Mr Corbyn clear again. It is unacceptable and hypocritical for a UK government minister, who defended the prime minister against allegations of racism in the face of documented historical records of it, to also falsely accuse a former Labour leader of racism in the way she has.

In addition to my demand for an explanation of the editing-in of falsehoods into Hansard, I am therefore also writing to demand that Ms Atkins be brought back to the Commons to apologise for smearing another member of Parliament in the despicable way she has.

Let me make myself clear: I am not requesting these things – I am demanding them. Ms Atkins’s behaviour has seriously harmed the reputation of the House of Commons and if you fail to act, that institution will suffer further reputational harm.

I await your confirmation that you will comply with my wishes and look forward to seeing them carried out.

I don’t expect Hoyle to comply with my demands.

Like all tribes, MPs tend to stick together when they perceive they are being attacked by someone else.

But he knows that this offence has been seen, and he’ll have to record that he received a complaint about it.

Whatever happens next, I think we should all follow some of the prime minister’s advice, and be vigilant.

Let’s make it clear to our MPs that we’re sick of their antics. They were elected to represent us in a responsible way – not to engage in playground insults and lie about it afterwards.

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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Who doctored Hansard to protect this Tory racist? Did she do it herself?

Boris Johnson [Image: The Agitator].

Not only did a Tory minister make false claims to Parliament about racism in the Labour Party, but the official record of the debate – Hansard – was doctored to make it seem that she did not.

Worse still, Victoria Atkins had already added to her party’s tally of racism by telling a fellow MP who happens not to be white to know her place and not be uppity with her betters (although she didn’t use those exact words).

Her shocking abuse of her position has sparked a demand for the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action – not just to correct the record but to save the reputation of the House of Commons.

Here’s just one complaint to Hoyle, from Twitter, with follow-up messages to show the issue:

You can see that Leftworks is absolutely correct by watching this video (ironically posted by a fan of Atkins).

She did indeed quote the EHRC’s remit as though it were that organisation’s conclusion – it was not – and Hansard did indeed insert three words to falsify the record.

The effect of Atkins’s words at the time they were said, and in that place, would have been to negate Jeremy Corbyn’s argument – she was effectively saying that he was a racist and therefore had no right to accuse others.

Furthermore, of course, her claim about Luciana Berger needing police protection was false.

Right-thinking people are up in arms about this – and rightly so:

Ms Atkins, who was standing in for her racist boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was in the Commons to answer an urgent question on what the government would do to stop racist abuse on the social media.

Patel had been – rightly – accused of “stoking” such abuse by Tyrone Mings of the England football team, whose teammates Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of it.

When she was tackled on the racism of her own prime minister by rising Labour star Zarah Sultana, Atkins treated her as if she were a black housemaid in the pre-Civil War American south, warning her to “lower” her “tone”:

I make no apologies for adding in this tweet, which includes much of the same video material, for the sake of Seema Chandwani’s observation about the way Ms Sultana was treated:

Shall we have a think about racism by the prime minister – that’s Boris Johnson, by the way – and by Atkins’s boss Patel?

Let’s start with Priti Patel, who locked asylum-seekers from foreign countries into filthy concentration camps where overcrowding caused hundreds of them to catch Covid-19. How many of them died? We haven’t seen the figures.

She wants to bring in a new law making it an offence to help refugees into the UK – even by saving them from drowning in the sea off the UK’s coasts.

Another Bill passing through Parliament at the moment will target the GRT community – Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers – by assuming that they are committing crimes simply because they are Gypsies, Romanies or Travellers. This is classically-defined racism.

The Home Office at which Atkins is a minister destroyed the records showing that members of the Windrush Generation were UK citizens – and then pursued an aggressive policy to deny them services they had spent decades funding, like NHS healthcare and state benefits, while taking action to deport them. One may conclude from this that Atkins is a racist herself.

Need I go on?

As for Boris Johnson, Twitter has been full of commentary on his racism:

That’s right – he actually approached a black woman at a party, made monkey noises at her and tried to hand her a watermelon.

How about some more references to Johnson’s historical pronouncements?

This is now a summary of commentators’ attitude to Johnson:

And – thankfully – the fact of his racism is filtering through to the general public, despite the protection he gets from the Tory media:

Perhaps the last word on Johnson’s racism should be this, that relates it back to Atkins:

As for Hansard: it seems the record may be edited – possibly by MPs themselves – but not if the meaning of the words spoken is changed by those edits:

The changes to Atkins’s speech change the meaning of the words and are therefore not permissible.

As Commons Speaker – the MP who chairs sessions of the House of Commons – Lindsay Hoyle needs to act to save its reputation.

How many other changes are being made to Hansard, that nobody catches because they happen surreptitiously?

And why would Hoyle – or anyone working in Parliament – wish to support or enable these Tory racists?

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Humiliation for Tories as they give up on ‘English Votes for English Laws’

EVEL: John Redwood – seen here speaking from his home planet of Vulcan (apparently), said the end of English Votes for English Laws was a “sad occasion”, even while his fellow right-wingers like Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted that the procedure had “undermined” Parliament.

The Conservative government tried to quietly scrap its unsuccessful attempt to placate Little Englanders – but couldn’t stop the hoots of derision from across the House of Commons.

They have scrapped their English Votes for English Laws system – otherwise known as EVEL – because it didn’t work.

And quite right, too – especially on the eve of a debate on yet another top-down restructuring of the NHS in England, that will affect patients in the other UK countries as well.

As a citizen of Wales, This Writer would still have to travel into England for treatment at English hospitals in certain citcumstances, and it would be utterly inappropriate for my MP – Tory though Fay Jones may be! – to have her vote on such a matter disregarded.

As it was, the Tories had to grin and bear it as ridicule was piled on humiliation by critics from other parties – most notably the Scottish Nationalists.

The SNP’s Pete Wishart called scrapping the procedure an “utter, utter humiliation” for the government and said it was a victory for his party.

Thangham Debbonaire, shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said the procedure “undermines democracy” and helped feed “the SNP’s indignation”.

And even Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory Leader of the House, admitted that the procedure had “added complexity and delay to the legislative process”.

He said EVEL had “undermined” Parliament and all MPs should be represented equally, rejected accusations the move was to appease nationalists and said the government was “trying to restore the beauty and the uniformity of our constitution so that it will work properly”.

You can see how bad EVEL was by the quality of its supporters: swivel-eyed John Redwood said “England deserved better”, that it was a “sad occasion”, and that EVEL was the “only modest devolution ever offered to England”.

Fine words from the Tory minister for the planet Vulcan

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Is aid cut a Tory bid to inflict avoidable megadeaths on foreigners?

RIP democracy: Boris Johnson cut aid to foreign countries without offering MPs a chance to vote on it. His claim that the law allows such a move is highly debatable. 

The message This Writer took from MPs’ failure to force a vote on reversing foreign aid cuts is that it means there will be hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths in affected countries.

That was said by Tory Andrew Mitchell, who seems to have come a long way since the “BikeGate” controversy.

And the really offensive part was that the decision to cut foreign aid from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of National Income (do they mean Gross Domestic Product?) was taken without allowing Parliament to vote on it.

It was an offence against democracy, because Boris Johnson’s Tory government believes in dictatorship instead.

And (obviously) it believes in finding ways to ensure that as many people as possible die.

Ministers have said it is possible to vary the amount spent without changing the 2015 law that makes the target binding.

But the decision to make the change unilaterally means there is no deadline for restoring that target – meaning the government could leave the cut in place indefinitely.

Isn’t there a more important question to be answered, about what’s being done with this aid money?

Isn’t it important that it should be used to ensure that the nations receiving the money need less and less of it in the future?

Has that been happening? How can we check?

There are many questions to be answered about foreign aid and This Writer hopes the debate on Tuesday (June 8) provides some of the answers.

The joy of it is that the Tory government has shot itself in the foot, whatever happens.

It has already garnered bad publicity over this in the week before the UK hosts the G7 summit.

It will receive more bad publicity with the debate.

And Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he wants a substantive vote, which means if Boris Johnson refuses to grant it, he’ll have even more bad publicity.

Source: Foreign aid: Rebel Tories blocked in bid to reverse cuts – BBC News

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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