This is a statement from The Libel Reform Campaign
Four days before the Defamation Bill has its final and decisive debate in the House of Commons we find ourselves writing to you about disgraceful behaviour from politicians that will put everything we’ve worked for at risk.
Conservative MP and libel barrister Sir Edward Garnier is trying to remove the part of the Bill that would limit companies’ ability to use libel threats to intimidate critics into silence. His attempt to remove this will be voted on during debate on the Bill on Tuesday 14thApril. Please write to your MP and tell them not to support Garnier’s amendment.
We’ve heard that the Conservatives might back Garnier on this, and that the Lib Dems will join their Conservative colleagues even though restricting corporations from suing individuals unless they can prove harm is Lib Dem party policy! It was voted for overwhelmingly in the House of Lords. Please write to Nick Clegg and David Cameron and urge them to tell their parties not to support Garnier and to make sure the clause on companies becomes part of the Defamation Bill.
Read our briefing for MPs on why this along with a clear strong public interest defence would do the most to lessen the damage the laws are doing to free and open debate. A Bill without either reform would be a wasted opportunity. Please point your MP towards our briefing when you write to them.
We’ve seen the best of democracy in action – we have forced libel reform onto the political agenda and when politicians have listened to us all we’ve seen the best improvements to the Defamation Bill. But behind closed door dealing and cowardly behaviour threatens everything we’ve worked for. Please tell your MP not to support Garnier amendment and tell David Cameron and Nick Clegg that the Government shouldn’t either.