The House of Lords voted overwhelmingly to protect freedom of expression – defamation will only have occurred if “serious harm” has been caused. But Conservative MP and libel barrister Sir Edward Garnier’s amendment to the Defamation Bill would allow companies to continue to use libel laws to silence criticism. Tell your MP to oppose Garnier’s amendment in the debate on Tuesday 16th April.
Just before the Defamation Bill has its final and decisive debate in the House of Commons, disgraceful behaviour from politicians and the Corporate lobby could seriously harm critical parts of this reform of the libel laws.
Conservative MP and libel barrister Sir Edward Garnier is trying to remove the part of the Bill that would limit companies’ ability to use libel threats to intimidate critics into silence and was voted for overwhelmingly in the House of Lords. His attempt to remove this will be voted on during debate on the Bill on Tuesday 16April.
How is it right that companies claim libel damage, take someone's house to pay it, but never have to show that damage actually occurred? Please write to your MP and tell them not to support Garnier’s amendment.
We’ve heard that the Conservatives might back Garnier on this, and that the Lib Dems will join their Conservative colleagues even though restricting corporations from suing individuals unless they can prove harm is Lib Dem party policy! Please write to Nick Clegg and David Cameron and urge them to tell their parties not to support Garnier and to make sure the clause on companies becomes part of the Defamation Bill.
It's not too late to write to your MP to make sure vital new additions to the Defamation Bill are agreed today. If your MP is a back bencher please urge them to vote against any amendment removing the new clause placing restrictions on companies. This new clause does not prevent companies from suing for defamation. It simply requires companies to show that they have experienced financial loss before a case can proceed.
How can it be right that a company can claim libel damage, pursue it through expensive court proceedings and even take someone's house to pay for it - and yet not be required to show that it actually happened? If your MP is on the front bench please urge them to support Sir Peter Bottomley's amendment to the public interest defence that would ensure it doesn't revert back to the current complicated and costly law.