Rachel Riley wins damages from ex-Labour aide

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  • Rachel Riley
    Rachel Riley
    English television presenter
  • Jeremy Corbyn
    Jeremy Corbyn
    Former Leader of the British Labour Party, MP for Islington North

Countdown star Rachel Riley has been awarded £10,000 in damages after suing the Labour Party's former head of complaints over a defamatory tweet.

Riley, who recently welcomed her second child, sued over a tweet sent by political aide Laura Murray more than two years ago.

The TV star, who is Jewish, was a vocal opponent of then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn due to allegations he had enabled and promoted antisemitism within his party. Shortly after Corbyn was hit by eggs during a visit to a mosque in March 2019, Riley posted a screenshot of a tweet by journalist Owen Jones about an attack on the former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, in which Jones wrote: "I think sound life advice is, if you don't want eggs thrown at you, don't be a Nazi." The presenter then added "good advice", along with a red rose and an egg emoji on Twitter.

Corbyn's then-aide Murray responded by tweeting: "Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer (Brexit supporter). Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi. This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever."

Riley said she was being sarcastic in her tweet, did not call Corbyn a Nazi, and told the court Murray's tweet caused serious harm to her reputation.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, agreed in a ruling issued on Monday and said Riley was "entitled" to "vindication". He stated that she understood her tweet was likely to provoke and Murray had libelled Riley by stating her interpretation of the tweet as a "matter of fact". He also said he believed both women were honest in their evidence.

Reacting to the outcome, Riley tweeted: "I'm extremely pleased to have won my libel case vs Laura Murray, former head of complaints for the Labour Party. This has been a very draining process and I'm relieved to finally have vindication.

"It never needed to come to this, but I'm grateful to have had an outlet to set the record straight. This is the culmination of several tough years for many Jewish people and allies. I hope this serves as a reminder you can't defame people without consequence, even on Twitter."

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