This entry was posted on
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at
2:31 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.
Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail, apologised today to Tom Watson MP in a Statement in Open Court read before Mr Justice Eady.
Mr Watson complained of an article by Iain Dale, headed “Smears, glowering henchmen-like the Nixon White House” published in the Mail on Sunday on 12 April 2009 in which it was stated not only that Mr Watson was copied into emails sent by Downing Street press adviser Damian McBride to Derek Draper, but that he “encouraged” them. The emails were reported to have made serious and false allegations about the private lives of a number of Conservative Party MPs in the course of discussing proposals for a new website to be known as “Red Rag”.
As the Court heard today, Associated Newspapers Limited now accepts that these allegations are entirely untrue. In fact, Mr Watson was not copied into any of the emails exchanged between Mr McBride and Mr Draper. As Mr Watson has already publicly made clear, he had no involvement in or knowledge of the “Red Rag” website and he did not condone the content of the emails and, indeed, regarded them as completely inappropriate.
Associated Newspapers Limited has unreservedly withdrawn the allegations, apologised to Mr Watson for the distress the article caused him and his family and has joined in the reading of the Statement in Open Court today. In addition, Associated Newspapers Limited has agreed to pay Mr Watson substantial damages, together with his legal costs.
1. Good. I hope that stings, and fewer people trust his claims as a result.
2. After Iain Dale ‘accidentally’ fed this lie to the Mail on Sunday, he allowed readers of his weblog to remain under the false impression that what he had claimed was true, when it was not . It took him days to add a minor correction to his site, under a single post.
3. To cut a lonnnnnng story short, Iain Dale lied to me about something quite important when I was the victim of harassment, then refused to discuss this (or any other matter) or help me with much-needed input on a police statement. He then sought to stonewall/undermine me by spreading/publishing lies about me. Those lies included multiple false claims of harassment. He has informed at least one person that he has reported me “to the authorities” because I dared to persist when he refused to answer his phone, but he later (accidentally) revealed that this too was a lie. And even if he did wish to file a harassment complaint against me in these circumstances:
Extract from Protection from Harassment Act 1997
(4) It shall be a defence to any action of harassment to show that the course of conduct complained of–
(a) was authorised by, under or by virtue of any enactment or rule of law;
(b) was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; or
(c) was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.
4. I’m willing to have my conduct tested in a court of law, but it seems Iain is not in this case. Instead, he is publishing lies about me and issuing false claims and implications that I have broken the law, that I intend to break the law and/or that he has made a valid harassment complaint about me. Further, Iain has had comment moderation switched on for over a month now, meaning that his lies go unchallenged, at least as far as his readers are concerned. I expect that he does all of this with some degree of confidence that I won’t be reaching for lawyers anytime soon.
5. Iain’s lies have prompted at least one copycat action of the paedo-smear harassment against me, which I have also been forced to report. The timing and specifics of this copycat attack leave little doubt about this.
6. A further copycat action has just emerged, and this one builds on Iain Dale’s multiple publications of ugly lies and implications about my motives/status/credibility as a blogger and the state of my mental health.
7. Iain’s actions have also led, in part, to one of his friends at Private Eye joining in the fun, by making misleading claims about our correspondence and the state of my mental health.
8. Iain Dale knows that the relevant claims he has published about me are not true. He is also aware that these claims have led to at least one reprisal, if not two or more*. But he refuses to even discuss the matter.
(*There have been multiple actual-if-pathetic DOS attacks against me, including the submission of my email addresses to every spammer under the sun , the BNP mailing list, etc.)
9. I’m at a loss; how is one supposed to handle a lying manipulative bastard like this without a lawyer?
10. I know the answer to that; I just don’t like it is all.