Tag Archives: libel

Rochdale Parliamentary candidate George Galloway launches legal action over TV slurs

George Galloway: he knows his way around the law, so Rachel Johnson, Trevor Phillips and ITV may have a fight on their hands.

The host and pundits of a Sunday morning TV politics show appear to have taken on the wrong person.

Rachel Johnson, Trevor Phillips and Sky News, the channel broadcasting his show, have all been targeted by George Galloway, after this (allegedly) happened:

In fact, if true, it would be libel – and it seems that Mr Galloway, who has long been attacked under the same banner and has proved himself to be well up to the challenge of dismissing such accusations, intends to prove it.

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Some are delighted:

The case may rattle on for longer than the by-election campaign – which would be perfect for Mr Galloway because it will give him a chance to continue campaigning for Palestine in full view of the public, no matter who wins on February 29.

Did Rachel Johnson have the slightest inkling that this might happen, when she spoke on Trevor Phillips’s show?


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After nearly five years, it’s time to end my court crowdfunder

Many of you may remember This Writer was involved in a large court case, involving a nationally-known TV ‘celebrity’, for which I raised funds via the CrowdJustice website.

After nearly five years, and with donations of more than a quarter of a million pounds, it is time to end this campaign.​

My legal team has contacted me to say they are happy to close my account now, meaning there is nothing more for me to pay them and no reason to continue asking for donations.

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So it is time for me to thank everybody who supported me during my long and arduous legal battle – more than 11,000 of you.

Although I didn’t win the case, the fact that it took place made many thousands more people aware of the issues I had raised and allowed them to form their own opinions about my opponent.

So it seems that, in this case, it wasn’t necessary to win. The important thing was that I stood up for what I believed was right – and, in so doing, gave others the chance to decide what they believed as well.

This has been a long and exceptionally difficult campaign, and it would not have achieved anything at all without you. Everything I did achieve, I achieved with your help.

Thank you.


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Andy McDonald issues writ for libel against Tory MP

Andy McDonald: he’s not taking any nonsense from a Tory who hasn’t done his homework.

Good for him. Jeremy Corbyn should have done this sort of thing a bit more often, too.

Here’s Andy McDonald’s statement on his libel action against Conservative MP Chris Clarkson:

For those who can’t read image files, here are the relevant parts of the statement:

“On Sunday 29 October 2023, Chris Clarkson MP posted a highly defamatory statement about me on the social media platform X. His post included the following false statement about me:

“‘Between the River and the Sea’ is a deeply sinister antisemitic trop – seeing a Labour MP use it whilst seeking to justify the murderous actions of Hamas should be shocking. Sadly, it’s barely surprising.’

“In my speech to a mass rally on 28 October 2023, I called for peace in the Israel-Gaza war and in particular for ‘an immediate comprehensively-binding ceasefire’. I said, ‘We will not rest until we have justice. Until all people, Israelis and Palestinians, between the river and the sea, can live in peaceful liberty’.”

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He continued: “I am not prepared to stand by, while an MP or others peddle the lie that I have sought to justify the actions of Hamas on 7 October 2023, including the awful murder of 1,400 people in Israel. Much of what I have said in the last few days about the recent events in Israel and Palestine has been deliberately distorted and misinterpreted. I will not stand by and have my reputation traduced by those who think it is acceptable to put out false statements. I am more than prepared to sue anyone who thinks that it is acceptable to publish lies about me.”

He also demonstrated that he understands when to take a matter to the courts and when not to:

“The Times newspaper misquoted me in an article published online and in print on 30 October 2023. I took up the matter with them immediately and The Times corrected the error in their online version and printed an apology in the print paper on 31 October 2023.”

Meanwhile, here’s another person who may deserve Mr McDonald’s attention, along with a response pointing out his mistake:

Possibly a better response would be to point out a Novara Media article I quoted in a previous article, that stated: “As to the claim that the slogan expresses a desire for Israel’s ‘destruction’, the historian of Palestine Maha Nassar has suggested that this eliminationist interpretation may derive from a post-six-day-war Israeli propaganda campaign that asserted that Palestinians wished to ‘throw Jews into the sea’.”

Is Katz quoting false Israeli propaganda?

If so, what does this say about Clarkson’s comment?


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Is this the reason the Riley libel case ended the way it did?

Last time I wrote about Rachel Riley’s court case against me, I said I might discuss the judge’s reasons for reaching the conclusion she did.

You will recall that she based her judgment on information that was not factual but was merely supposition by Ms Riley’s legal team (that I had not researched the events in question when I wrote my article. I said then – and repeat now – that I had in fact researched it very thoroughly).

She also said that the conclusions I had reached were not reasonable – this time based on nothing but her own suppositions.The Appeal Court judge said she was entirely within her rights to reach such conclusions without any evidence from either side to even suggest them.

One is led to question why a court of law would make such pronouncements without any facts to support them.

I can only put forward the suggestion that was made to me by a third party, shortly after the hearing on my appeal: that UK law as administered by its courts is set up to defend the reputation of libel claimants – to prevent damage to their good name.

This might explain why a judge, presented with any excuse – no matter how flimsy, might decide that a journalist and former newspaper editor of 25 years’ experience did not carry out any research into an article her wrote, even though no evidence existed to prove the claim.

It might also explain why a judge ignored a series of fact-based arguments, supported by current understanding of certain ways of behaviour, to reach her own conclusions to justify the events that formed the basis of the case.

It certainly explains why I have continued to appeal for funds to pay my legal team – who worked for years in the belief that my evidence would be judged on its own merits.

I would ask you to judge for yourself whether that actually happened but, with only the written judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal available, that might be difficult.

Please continue to support me (and my legal team) according to your means, and in the way that has become well-known over the last four years:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

I may discuss the law further in a future update, as efforts have been made to make it more even-handed but I fear that judges have been rejecting those efforts in practise.

Rachel Riley libel case: why I had to fight

A few of my friends have been – shall we say – teasing me about my court loss against Rachel Riley.

They’ve been playing devil’s advocate, taking her (professed) view that I never had any chance to win. And it occurs to me that others might be saying the same, out behind the tiny Mid Wales town I call my home.

To those other people, and my buddies, I’d like to off these words of the late trade union leader Bob Crow:

“If you fight, you won’t always win. But if you don’t fight, you will always lose.”

I chose to fight, and in the end I didn’t win, due to a decision of a judge that was not based on any discernible facts.

That is a shame. But in fighting, I protected dozens of other people from having to go through the same process.

How many of us did Rachel Riley threaten with court? 60? 70? And in the end she only managed to attack three or four of us, to my recollection.

And she lost against one.

Let’s not forget that her friend Tracy-Ann Oberman also threatened me with court but never followed through on it, and her window of opportunity has now long since closed.

I’m going to count that as a win.

So you see, this fight was worthwhile.

I’m going to repeat my appeal for funds to finish paying my legal team for their work on the application to appeal against that last, fact-free court decision. Please continue to consider supporting me (and them) according to your means, and in the way that has become well-known over the last four years:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

I might expand on the reasons for the court’s decision in a future update.

It seems to me that it explains much about British justice.


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Rachel Riley libel case: a question of finances

Remember last time, when I asked the question: if Rachel Riley didn’t spend anything on her libel action against me, why did she demand more than £3,500 from me in costs to do with her strike-out application and my appeal against it?

Some of you have suggested that I should take advice on what to do about that, as it seems wrong to make such a demand if no money was actually spent.

There’s a problem with that, though: I haven’t finished paying my legal team for their most recent work. Until that is cleared, I can hardly ask for more!

This is the first time in four years – and more than £250,000 – of fundraising that I have found myself in this situation.

I would like to put the question to my advisors – but I would also like to pay them, and paying them comes first.

If you think they should be paid for their sterling work, please follow these time-honoured instructions:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

I have still heard nothing from Ms Riley’s advisors on the subject of a deal regarding the judgment in my case, so I think I may be right in assuming that they are waiting to see if I manage to make enough money to pay the money the court has ordered, whether it is deserved or not.

I don’t want this hanging over me indefinitely, and would like to find a way to bring them back to the negotiating table.

This… irregularity? could be one such way.


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Rachel Riley’s libel case: something doesn’t add up

Why is Rachel Riley demanding a huge amount of money in court costs if she didn’t actually spend anything?

Take a look at the Jewish Chronicle report published after I lost my bid for permission to appeal against the judgment in my libel case. In it, her solicitor Mark Lewis stated about me:

“People have crowdfunded [a] quarter of a million pounds to pay his solicitors and barrister … He has outspent Rachel by approximately £250,000.”

This indicates that Rachel Riley paid no money at all towards her court costs.

It’s entirely possible. All of her legal team could have worked for free. Obviously, payment in donations from somebody else would not count because Mr Lewis would have had to mention them, as he mentions donations to my CrowdJustice fund.

But then, why did Ms Riley claim such a large amount of money from me when I appealed against a decision to strike out my defences (and won), back in 2021?

In May that year, the Court of Appeal assessed my costs – for the appeal – at £22,180 and varied the High Court’s order on Ms Riley’s costs – for the strike-out – down to £25,808. That means I had to make a payment of £3,628 to her at that time.

Now, it seems Mr Lewis is saying she did not spend any money on that (or any) part of the case – but she still demanded thousands of pounds from me. Does that seem fair?

If not, does it seem fair that the High Court has gone on to say I should pay £100,000 to her for court costs that her solicitor appears to have said she never paid?

Whatever the facts of the matter – and I doubt we will ever hear them from either Ms Riley or her solicitor – I certainly did incur legal fees, some of which remain outstanding and my representatives deserve to be paid for the outstanding work they did in resisting Ms Riley.

If any of the above disturbs you as much as it does me, please help in the now time-honoured way:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

There remains no agreement over a possible deal; Ms Riley’s legal team simply have not been in touch, to my knowledge.

While I welcome their apparent reluctance to bankrupt me, I think they are hoping I will make enough money in the future to pay the money the court has ordered – cash that they may not deserve, if the above is accurate.

You may wish to draw your own conclusions about that.


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‘House of Commons Hooligan’ Gullis falsely accuses Gary Lineker. Will he be sued (please)?

Braying beardie: this is still the only image I have of Jonathan Gullis (the maskless one shouting over Boris Johnson’s shoulder).

The ‘House of Commons Hooligan’ has struck again – but this time he may have made a fatal mistake.

This is because Jonathan Gullis has has accused BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker of calling so-called Red Wall voters Nazis and bigots – alongside a slew of other unsupported accusations…

… outside of Parliament.

This means he did not have Parliamentary privilege when he said those words, and this means that Mr Lineker could sue him for libel.

Mr Lineker has seen the offending clip and, from the tweet directly below, it seems he is distinctly unamused:

This Writer can only urge Gary Lineker to initiate court action at once. It won’t go all the way because the offence seems very clear-cut, and the experience of having to apologise and make reparation might even reform the Tory party’s loudest-mouthed thug.

For anyone who doesn’t think the above is bad enough behaviour, let’s have a few reminders:

In January 2022 we all saw him screaming his support for Boris Johnson after the Tory soon-to-be-ex-prime minister made a fat-shaming joke at the expense of then-SNP Parliamentary leader Ian Blackford, in response to an accusation about the alleged birthday party at Downing Street: “I do not know who has been eating more cake.”

Here’s a video clip:

Disgusting, isn’t it?

And it isn’t Mr Gullis’s only such intervention. People have been looking him up.

Here are some of the ugly details:

https://twitter.com/MarinaPurkiss/status/1486469347438743554

After a mercifully-brief period as an education minister in Liz Truss’s less-than-two-month ministry, in December 2022, he made another of his famously misguided attacks – this time at bishops in the House of Lords.

His outburst came after all the Anglican bishops in the Upper House said the Tory government’s Rwanda deportation policy, which was endorsed as “lawful” by the High Court earlier this week, should “shame us as a nation”.

They signed a letter saying, “The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum-seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”

In fairness, even the Home Office seems to have accepted that many of those who arrive in the UK by illegal routes still have a claim for asylum; the majority of them are accepted as genuine refugees and are permitted to remain in the UK.

The problem lies in the fact that they have to take illegal routes – making them prey for the Tory government’s deportation policy – because there are no legal routes; the Tories have closed them all off in order to be able to pursue this inhumane mistreatment of people who are already victims.

Gullis’s response may be found here:

So: first he flung some whataboutery into the ether, claiming that the Church should be dealing with abuse claims against its own clergy. How does he know that it isn’t? And isn’t that more a problem for the Catholic clergy?

Then he said: “Too many people are using the pulpit to preach from.” Does he not know that preaching is exactly what the pulpit is for?

This man used to be a teacher but gave up when he was elected into Parliament. He said pupils at the school where he had been working were “probably happy to see me go” – perhaps because they were already better-educated than he was?

He also said the bishops were unelected. Correct – but everybody has an understanding of what constitutes fairness and justice, and nobody needs to be elected to put forward their opinion of what that is.

Furthermore, these are people who sit as experts on law and political matters in the Upper House of Parliament, and their words have weight whether Gullis likes it or not.

And in January this year, Gullis apparently shouted, “Well, they shouldn’t have come here illegally!” in response to a Prime Minister’s Question by labour MP Tulip Siddiq, drawing attention to the fact that, despite the UK being considered a safe haven for vulnerable children, there are 200 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children missing from UK hotels.

That’s Compassionate Conservatism for you: let children go missing – kidnapped? Made into slaves for criminal gangs, for purposes that one flinches from considering? – because they should have stayed at home, possibly to be exploited in similar ways by their own countryfolk?

<strong>One can only agree with Peter Kyle: The Conservatives have found a new low.</strong>

Here’s the video clip:

And here’s Mr Kyle’s tweet:

Are these not great reasons for someone who has the ability to punish Gullis, actually to do so?


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Riley libel case: no news means bad news. What’s she up to?

It is now two weeks since my last update and I have heard nothing from Rachel Riley or her legal team.

You may recall that I have demonstrated to her that I have no assets and am therefore in no position to pay her any of the generous £150,000 the High Court awarded her in damages and costs. I offered her a deal, or suggested that she should take proceedings to bankrupt me, with all the adverse publicity that would attract.

She has not responded. It is possible that she is ignoring the point, particularly if she thinks there is nothing to be gained from bankrupting me. It is also possible that her legals are plowing through my other articles (all 16,000+ of them) to try to find a repetition of the defamatory allegations against her, on which they can threaten me with contempt of court proceedings. This would be frustrating, as I have previously asked them to identify any articles that cause them concern.

You will recall that I was led to believe Ms Riley’s solicitor, Mark Lewis, had demanded half of the CrowdJustice fund, after claiming that neither he nor she would see any money from the case. I suggested that Mr Lewis might like to go on the record retracting that demand – or denying that he made it; either would suit me. I have heard nothing from him.

Meanwhile, my own hard-working representatives still have yet to be paid for their work. I’m aware that some of you may be unsympathetic to this after the court loss, but I also hear that there remains considerable support for me – so I’m repeating my appeal. Please:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

I had hoped that this matter would be over by now but it seems Ms Riley is determined to extract something from me, despite there being nothing to gain, and despite the fact that she has known this for a considerable number of years.

Perhaps the intention is just to leave this hanging over me, so that if I ever manage to save an appreciable amount of money, she will be able to swoop in and reduce me to poverty again.

I’ll leave you to judge for yourself what kind of person would behave in such a manner.


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Riley libel case: communication breakdown?

The Royal Courts of Justice in London, where the law is known to be harsh on defendants in libel cases.

By now, you’ll probably be aware that I was not granted permission to appeal against the judgment in Rachel Riley’s libel action against me and therefore lost the case.

It was a bitter disappointment, which I thought emphasised the harshness of UK libel judges against those of us who have to defend ourselves against allegations against us.

You’ll be aware that I am forbidden from commenting on the case by injunction – but I’m sure those of you who are familiar with the circumstances will have formed your own opinion about what happened, and therefore about the judgment.

Now I have to come to terms with that judgment. You’ll be aware that a High Court judge said I should pay £50,000 in damages to Ms Riley and £100,000 towards her court costs. I don’t have that kind of money.

And you might have been led to believe that Ms Riley is not seeking it, after comments by her legal representative Mark Lewis in the Jewish Chronicle. “Neither Rachel’s barrister nor Patron Law (Mr Lewis’ firm) will see a penny,” he said.

But as I understand it, he then went on to demand half of the CrowdJustice fund – which is impossible to supply because it has been spent on my defence and in any case may not be used for that purpose. Perhaps Mr Lewis would like to go on the record retracting that demand – or denying that he made it; either would suit me.

My own representatives have submitted proposals for a deal. The alternative for Ms Riley is to spend more of her money on proceedings to bankrupt me – plus the adverse publicity she’ll get from bankrupting a carer and defender of vulnerable people including those with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

I passed the relevant information to my representatives a week ago and have not heard a word from Ms Riley’s people since then.

Perhaps there has been a communications breakdown. If so, it is for the lawyers to sort out; I’ve done my bit.

Sadly, my own representatives have yet to be paid for their work on the ‘permission to appeal’ hearing. I’m aware that some of you may be unsympathetic to this after the court loss, but I also hear that there remains considerable support for me – so I’m keeping the CrowdJustice page for the time being and repeating my appeal. Please:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Use other social media in the same way.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

One good aspect of this is that I may have protected many other people who were threatened with libel proceedings by Ms Riley at the same time I was. The deadline for her to take action against them has passed so she cannot attack these people, who I believe were as sincere in their opinions as I was.

So, even in defeat, there are upsides to this affair.


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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