Bower claimed of the incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, where activist Marc Wadsworth was later criticised for his comments about MP Ruth Smeeth, that Wadsworth had asserted Ms Smeeth was Jewish. Not only did he not say that - Oborne studied video of the event and consulted witnesses to confirm this - he did not know she was Jewish.
So it should have surprised no-one that there has been at least one legal action against the MoS, and Press Gazette brought the bad news yesterday. “Mail publisher Associated Newspapers has paid substantial damages over a ‘grotesque’ libel made against a non-profit Palestinian refugee group in its serialisation of a Jeremy Corbyn biography”.
And who acted for the PRC? “Carter-Ruck, representing the PRC, said the ‘grotesque but utterly false’ allegation had come from the misreporting in the media of comments made by a member of the audience at an event hosted by the PRC at the House of Lords in 2016 … The lawyers said: ‘Neither Mr Bower, the Mail nor Harper Collins … saw fit to properly verify the true position, nor to put the allegation to the PRC prior to publication”. Oh dear.
Carter Ruck means it was expensive. And not for those instructing Carter Ruck. So the MoS will have had to stump up an amount well north of £100,000 - maybe two or three times that - because Tom Bower was so keen to shit all over Corbyn that he didn’t bother to do his homework. Worse for the MoS and Harper Collins, there may be more to come.
But maybe that is not the point: perhaps the Murdoch mafiosi, along with Associated Newspapers, knew that Bower’s book might land them with a few lawsuits, and merely factored that in to their calculations. Calculations including how much damage publication would do to Corbyn’s image, which was probably the objective in the first place.
They could then settle claims after Labour lost the election. I’ll just leave that one there.