Tag Archives: evan harris

Telegraph writer attacks ‘spooky’ Lib Dem ‘posse’ for critical comments

Cristina Odone, writing on Telegraph.co.uk, faced a commenter backlash when she wrote an article labelling Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, “Dr Death”.

Along with many perturbed commenters, Evan Harris challenged Odone’s factual evidence.

Odone’s next step? To write a comment piece claiming she was “spooked” by the reaction, arguing “there’s no room in the Lib-Labs’ intolerant culture for discussion”.

Many commenters, however, give a disclaimer that they are not Liberal Democrat.

We recommend reading both pieces and sets of comments in full to judge the affair for yourself.

Follow Free Speech Hustings online; kicks off 6:30pm

If like us, you can’t make it to tonight’s Free Speech Hustings at London’s Free Word Centre, you will be able to follow online.

The Libel Reform Campaign event, featuring Dominic Grieve from the Conservative party; Dr Evan Harris from the Liberal Democrats and a Labour representative (TBC), will be live-streamed online.

Questions can be sent via Twitter using the #libelreform tag, or by email to news [at] libelreform.og.

Audio will be available at this link, or below:

Watch below, or at this link.

There will also be satellite events at another London location, and in Liverpool and Nottingham. Details at this link…

Evan Harris MP: ‘Missing ingredient’ in Jack Straw’s libel reform support

Writing underneath Marcel Berlin’s Guardian commentary on Jack Straw’s pledge of support for libel reform, Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris suggests that the main “missing ingredient” is a commitment to limit big companies suing in libel:

…They should only have malicious falsehood where they must prove malice or recklessness and show actual damage. Trafigura, Tesco, Barclays, BCA, NMT, Nemsysco, etc, etc. The Lib Dems are proposing this in addition to the other measures and not tentatively!

Berlins had argued that Straw’s backing of the case for libel reform was not strong enough, especially on who should have the burden of proof.

[T]here’s no word from Straw – not even “consider” – about one of the most unjust aspects of the existing law, which obliges a newspaper raising the defence that its allegations were true to prove it, instead of making the claimant prove their falsity. That burden of proof, in fairness, should be reversed.

Full post at this link…

Disclaimer: Journalism.co.uk has pledged its support to the Libel Reform campaign.

Malcolm Coles: Carter Ruck’s new attempt to gag Parliament

A version of this post first appeared on MalcolmColes.co.uk.

Having failed to stop the Guardian reporting an MP asking a question about its client British oil company Trafigura and the injunction concerning the Minton report, law firm Carter-Ruck is making a second attempt to gag Parliament.

The firm has written a 3-page letter to the speaker of the House of Commons – in the middle of which are these two paragraphs:

“Until that resolution [of the matter referred to in the injunction], it is not appropriate to comment on the Order [the injunction], other than to make it clear that we and our clients are in no doubt that it was entirely appropriate for us to seek the injunctive relief in question …

“Clearly the question of whether this matter is sub judice is entirely a matter for your [the speaker’s] discretion, although we would observe that we believe the proceedings to have been and to remain ‘Active’ within the definition of House Resolution CJ (2001-02) 194-195 of 15 November 2001 in that arrangements have been made for the hearing of an application before the Court.”

The resolution, which is subject to the discretion of the Speaker, being referred to says this:

Matters sub judice

Resolution of 15th November 2001

Resolved, That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, and to the right of the House to legislate on any matter or to discuss any delegated legislation, the House in all its proceedings (including proceedings of committees of the House) shall apply the following rules on matters sub judice:

(1) Cases in which proceedings are active in United Kingdom courts shall not be referred to in any motion, debate or question.

(b) (i) Civil proceedings are active when arrangements for the hearing, such as setting down a case for trial, have been made, until the proceedings are ended by judgment or discontinuance.

So although it is not spelt out in the letter, Carter-Ruck has written to the speaker to suggest that this matter is sub judice – active legal proceedings – and should not therefore be discussed in Parliament, according to the Westminster rules which prohibit MPs’ debates in those circumstances.

Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP had secured a debate for next week looking at the effects of English libel law on the reporting of parliamentary proceedings.

The speaker has not yet indicated whether he will provide a ruling.