The influence of the libel lawyers

After the report was published Field went on to make several even more critical comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, without the protection of parliamentary privilege afforded by the report.

Note that The Guardian mentions only very lightly the things that Field said without Parliamentary Privilege…..

I do wonder whether everyone is going to be so careful…..

15 comments on “The influence of the libel lawyers

  1. Field … [told] the BBC that he thought Green’s conduct was “displacement therapy”.

    As a Labour politician, he would know all about that.

  2. They’ve also shut off comments on the Martin Rowson cartoon about Green and BHS.

  3. Eye-popping to hear Frank Field on the World Service last night justifying his Cap’n Bob comment. Sounded quite a long way over the line to me, but I suppose he thinks Green has no reputation left to defend. Might also just be a ploy to get him to cough up the £571m to the pension fund.

  4. Sad that Field has stooped to that level. I thought he was one of the few decent ones in parliament.

    If I was the press, I’d bring him into the studio and ask him to repeat what was in that report and let him squirm. “Why won’t you say these words here? Don’t you believe them?”

    I’d scrap parliamentary privilege. Why should someone be able to libel someone because they’re an MP?

  5. Field worked for five or so years as an FE teacher, then was a lobbyist / quangocrat, and then a politician.

    He might be one of the “decent ones” but I wouldn’t expect him to know anything about running a large business in good or bad times.

  6. Anon

    Parliamentary privilege is an important protection of our democratic freedoms. It prevents an overpowerful executive or judiciary from preventing some things being said*. It is a safeguard in the British unwritten constitution, which is why there was such a fuss over Damien Green. (My view of that was that Speaker Martin should have been fired, the serjeant at arms fired and the Commissioner of the Met locked up in the HoC to remind him of the power of parliament as the supreme court of the land and that the Home Secretary should have been forced to apologise to the house.)

    * Undermining superinjunctions

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/oct/13/trafigura-drops-gag-guardian-oil

  7. Parliamentary privilege is to stop harassment by the government of the day. Otherwise anyone causing trouble can be bogged down in libel rather easily, because they daren’t raise issues without cast iron proof. Only privilege allows MPs to ask really awkward questions without fear.

    It’s a vital part of real democracy.

  8. I’ve always liked Frank Field because he was prepared to say the unthinkable in the Labour Party, that some of the poor are feckless wasters living off the rest of us. Until the Labour Party accepts that it loses all credibility when it comes to pious announcements about being the party of the working man.

  9. “Private Eye” has given substantial coverage to BHS etc. and I suspect this has had a full going over by their legal people. What Field has had to say is not much removed from this. What is going on at present is possibly handbags at dawn for the benefit of the mass media. The next “Eye” is due on 5th August and could be very interesting.

  10. P.S. The Eye promised my beloved free copies for the rest of her days and then ratted on the deal. Buncha crooks.

  11. Sadly much of Eye’s tax stuff is from Richard Brooks. Possibly the only person even more misguided on the subject than Ritchie.

  12. From the OED:
    “Although the earliest use of fulsome (first recorded in the 13th century) was ‘generous or abundant’, this meaning is now regarded by some people as wrong. The correct meaning today is held to be ‘excessively complimentary or flattering’.”

  13. “fulsome” can also mean “funky” in that’s original sense of ‘smelling of farts or poo’.

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