Guest post: No other MP acts like that

Originally a comment by Rosie Bell on Letters demanding £5,000.

I’m ardently hoping that this will backfire on Galloway. The disgusting scumbag has threatened to sue people before, they’ve told him to take a hike, and a hike he has taken.

Various top-notch lawyers are offering free advice to his victims. This article below gives a good & amusing account of Galloway’s & his lawyers’ doings.

“Chambers appear to be focused on immigration, serious crime and fraud and personal injury, among other topics. But above all, they are, according to their own website “calculated risk takers”, who are “not afraid to take on challenges that would daunt many others”.

They boast that their ethos “is to ensure that the ordinary person has access to good quality legal advice as public bodies, insurance companies & multi-national companies which has led us to take on many ‘David & Goliath’ legal struggles for justice”.

This does not seem to tie in with the pursuit of one Twitter user who received a letter from Chambers demanding money. That person, with only 70 followers on Twitter, told the Guardian: “I’m not a politician. I’m not remotely influential. I deleted it. I have been suffering terrible health problems [since receiving the letter]. I’m on antidepressants and suffering from chest pains.”

Chambers’ apparent risk-taking, would seem to have backfired rather spectacularly.

Private Eye magazine said it had “drawn the letter to the attention of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which takes a dim view of this sort of ‘speculative invoicing’”.”

Galloway is grossly litigious. A couple of times he’s had a point, when accused of dodgy financial dealings in major newspapers, but most of the time it’s been to stifle criticism. He’s an MP, he has plenty of media space to argue with or even shout at people, but he prefers to try & destroy them instead. No other MP acts like that. That Twitter spat with Hadley Freeman would have passed into cyberspace and been forgotten in a day or two if he hadn’t sued her.

A good piece here about the vague defamatory laws in the UK which allow this sort of rubbish and the difference between an ordinary person defending their reputation and a public figure.

The UK and Europe have never adopted the so-called public figure exception to defamation law, which would further promote public debate by creating a stronger presumption of freedom for speakers when they are discussing high-profile politicians, or other persons who have visibly entered the cut and thrust of politics.

One rationale for that doctrine is that someone like Galloway has broad and immediate access to influential media and public fora, within which he can more than adequately respond to such criticisms, without having to run to the courts to defend himself.


  1. Bluntnose says

    Hadley Freeman’s tweet was clearly a statement of opinion and therefore defendable, the trouble is she would not be able to recover the costs for her defence which could quickly amount to tens of thousands. That is why these threats are so powerful.

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