Politics & Society

Libel reform under threat

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.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 15Apr13 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Such a shame. All this hard work being undone again – this time by some selfish MP. You have to wonder why don’t you?

    I think without this new law and obviously without a more robust way of dealing with the ambulance chasers at the outset, then the courts will simply come to a standstill with hopeless libel cases. Perhaps someone should tweet Lord Sugar after his case. The Libel Reform Campaign could do with someone like him supporting it and someone who understands the compensation culture which is present and undermining all aspects of our society – not least in libel claims.

One Trackback

  1. [...] and will be considering controversial amendments introduced by the House of Lords. Critics have raised particular concern over a proposal by Conservative MP Sir Edward Garnier regarding cases brought by corporations. [...]