George Galloway Says: Hello Ladies! Hello Libel Law Débâcle!
Hello Ladies! Go on say it, you know you want to!
We recently heard about George Galloway when he mysteriously disappeared from Socialist Worker’s list of top MP outside “earners” – he was number 3.
Thanks to the prompt action of Tendance Coatesy the SWP’s accidental oversight was swiftly corrected.
Now we learn that he may need every penny he snaffles from Russia Today, Press TV (Iran’s pro-regime broadcaster), not to mention two appearances on the Edinburgh Fringe (Register of Members’ Interests).
The old todger is now in yet another row:
Complaints to solicitors’ regulator over libel demands from Galloway’s lawyers.
Complaints have been sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority by Twitter users who have received £6,000 libel demands from solicitors working for the MP George Galloway.
The bitter legal dispute, which has erupted over accusations of antisemitism, has become more complex after Galloway’s office said the money would only be used to cover his law firm’s expenses and the Respect party leader would not “receive a penny”.
Reports the Guardian.
It’s only losers that are prosecuted.
A less respectful (geddit) report than the Guardian’s says the following,
George Galloway’s high street firm faces rough ride as media law big guns back twitterati in libel row
Top media lawyers have implored the profession’s watchdog to investigate George Galloway’s law firm over its handling of the MP’s defamation claims against Twitter users.
The backlash against Bradford high street outfit Chambers Solicitors — which is best known for immigration work — began earlier this week after the emergence of a Twitter account called @SuedByGalloway, which implores:
“If you’re being sued by Galloway/Chambers Solicitors/ don’t worry — follow us so we can help you.”
Since then, several media law big guns have been working with the account to assist those threatened by Galloway. Legal Cheek can confirm that at least three well-known London libel lawyers are currently helping the tweeters fight the MP rather than pay demands for up to £5,000.
They include Mark Lewis, the leading media lawyer from the News of the World phone hacking saga, and defamation doyen Mark Stephens.
Lewis, of London law firm Seddons, told Legal Cheek that the costs figure “could never be justified” and that a complaint will be sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The saga began when Chambers Solicitors — acting for the firebrand Respect Party MP for Bradford West — sent at least a dozen tweeters demands that they settle or face defamation proceedings.
Galloway — who was famously expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 following his vocal opposition to the second Iraq invasion before going on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother three years later — alleges that those receiving the claims labelled him anti-Semitic on the social media site.
Responding to the Bradford law firm’s tactics, Lewis told Legal Cheek:
“A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute. Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. That is a matter of practise and the SRA must investigate.”
More on Legal Cheek.
Meanwhile the Huffington Post (Sarah C Nelson) looks at the previous story,
George Galloway ‘Anti- Semitism’ Lawyers To Be Reported To Regulator
A legal firm acting for Respect MP George Galloway will be reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), it has emerged.
The development comes as a number of people reported receiving letters written by Chambers Solicitors acting on behalf of Galloway, demanding up to £5,000 libel costs + VAT and requesting public apologies for allegedly calling him anti-semitic.
As the letters began to arrive, a Twitter account was set up to offer free legal advice for the recipients – which has since gained the backing of several high profile lawyers including solicitor and libel expert Mark Stephens and Mark Lewis.
Lewis, who was a leading figure in the News of the World hacking scandal confirmed to the Huffington Post UK that he would be making a complaint to the SRA on behalf of three clients on Wednesday.
Informing Legal Cheek the costs demanded in the letters “could never be justified”, he said: “A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute.
“Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. This is a matter of practice and the SRA must investigate.”
In an earlier conversation with HuffPost UK, Lewis added: “By all means defend a reputation where it is proper to do so but do not go back to the days of chilling people from speaking out.”
As Galloway would no doubt reply, “I’m demanding that they be prosecuted. I’m begging them to be prosecuted for perjury.”
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