In April, the SKWAWKBOX published details of an incident in Parliament in which Ilford North MP Wes Streeting ‘shouted in the face’ of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the recipient of almost half of all abuse directed at any female MP. Witnesses described Mr Streeting’s behaviour as so intimidating that he had to be steered away from the veteran Abbott.
Streeting responded on social media to the publication of the article by dismissing it as ‘lies… from [a] fake news site with no sources‘ and announcing that he had set his ‘libel lawyer’ onto the SKWAWKBOX, as well as responding in similar fashion to some who asked him about his behaviour:
Streeting’s lawyers did indeed write to this blog. Ten days or so later, the SKWAWKBOX’s legal team wrote back to inform them that the complaint was rejected in full, by which time the SKWAWKBOX had published its own short, public response, stating that the article would remain online and we would be happy to see him in court if he wanted to challenge its accuracy there.
The response – and the witnesses
In the public interest, particularly in the context of recent alleged events in Parliament, the SKWAWKBOX is publishing part of its formal response to Mr Streeting’s lawyers.
That extract shows the comments from eyewitnesses to the event that were gathered by this blog’s legal team:
The letter concludes:
Please confirm that your client withdraws his allegations concerning our client’s publication of 20 April 2018 which our client notes your client has described in a tweet he published on 20 April 2018, via his personal Twitter account, as “lies” and “fake news”. In light of the matters set out above, your client’s statement to this effect is entirely without foundation or justification. Our client will bring your client’s tweet to the attention of the court should matters proceed.
If your client instructs you to issue proceedings against Mr Walker we confirm that we have instructions to accept service of proceedings on his behalf.
Any proceedings will be vigorously defended and our client will seek his costs. Please confirm whether your client has obtained ATE insurance to cover our client’s legal costs, as your letter did not reference your client’s ability to pay our client’s legal bills should he lose and our client is awarded the costs of defending the action.
No response to that letter was received from Mr Streeting or his lawyers for over three months.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Streeting to advise him that these extracts would be published and to provide an opportunity to comment. Just before the intended publication of this article yesterday, the SKWAWKBOX was contacted by Wes Streeting’s lawyer.
Through his lawyer, Mr Streeting denied the SKWAWKBOX’s account of the incident as detailed in the article of 20 April 2018. His lawyer has also repeated the MP’s threat to sue.
At the time of publishing, this blog’s solicitors have not received service of any legal proceedings by Mr Streeting, including any application by him for an injunction preventing publication of this article.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.