[Update at end of post]
Tory MP Lee Anderson, who represents the Nottinghamshire constituency of Ashfield, is no stranger to lawsuits, having taken action recently against Google for serving an advert which made a wholly untrue claim about him. So he can have no complaints when the boot is very firmly on the other foot. Nor, given his propensity to verbal attacks on his opponents, will there be much sympathy for him, should he have to pay up and say sorry.
Lee Anderson MP ...
Why he might have to do so can be put directly: Anderson appeared, perhaps unwisely, on Reclaim The Media, where Martin Daubney (yes, Mr not at all racist “Two-tiered Policing” himself) drew him in to making a most unfortunate claim about campaigner Jack Monroe. Daubney also made a potentially actionable claim about them.
Daubney: “I want to just briefly talk about Jack Monroe, who is the self-appointed representative of the impoverished. Sold loads of books, done quite well out of it. No doubt probably earns more than the Prime Minister [totally untrue]. I digress. Today she has called you a white, rich, privileged male. What do you say to that mate?”
... Martin Daubney ...
Anderson: “Well I’ll tell you what I’ll say. She needs to come to my food bank. I hope she watches this [she has] because I donate money out of my own pocket to this food bank, given up time delivering meals with the local chef, you know, in all weathers, getting out to people that’s most desperate in need.” As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we get the point.
Do go on. “And isn’t it funny? You know, I’m giving up my time and my money to help the people in Ashfield. And what is she doing? She’s taking money off some of the most vulnerable people in society, and making an absolute fortune on the back of people.” WHAT? Jack Monroe is renowned for NOT making a fortune. They give away recipe details free, gratis and for nothing, working with foodbanks and the least well off.
... Jack Monroe ...
Jack Monroe has *given away* books. Anderson has spectacularly failed to do his research. Daubney just led him in and he walked straight in to the trap. And talking of Martin Daubney, he later overstepped the defamation line himself on Twitter, claiming “Monroe makes out she is a champion of the working classes but it’s plastic. Plus she takes from the poor and gives to the rich - herself - via book sales”. Oh dear!
As a result of this latest attack, many have asked if there is a crowdfunder to pay for legal action against Anderson, and possibly also against Daubney. Meanwhile, someone in the legal profession now has that most thankless of tasks: to explain to Lee Anderson that it might be in his best interests to withdraw his accusations, and say sorry. Because if he doesn’t, and a lawsuit comes down the track at him, it may get expensive. Very expensive.
... and, potentially, something like this
If Anderson needs to know how expensive lawsuits get, if they are not settled well before going anywhere near a court, he could always mug up on the action that Jack Monroe took against pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, which cost Ms Hopkins her remaining credibility, probably cost her that MailOnline column, and definitely cost her her house.
That’s the problem with shooting from the hip. It might just hit you in the foot.
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[UPDATE 1520 hours: Jack Monroe has now instructed lawyers]