Analysis comment

Mail changes article with Webbe ‘acid’ smear – but does not delete tweet

As Skwawkbox reported earlier this afternoon, the horrific smearing of MP Claudia Webbe by the so-called ‘mainstream’ media has continued today with a claim by the Daily Mail, among others, that Webbe had lost her appeal against an ‘acid threat on love rival’.

Claudia Webbe was never at any point convicted of an acid threat, as the suspended sentence imposed by the magistrate who originally convicted her made clear, nor was any evidence ever presented showing that she had.

And today, the appeal judge – who upheld the conviction despite concluding that Webbe’s accuser had lied repeatedly – explicitly rejected any suggestion that Webbe had ever made such a threat. Yet in reporting on the judge’s conclusion, the right-wing rag reported that Webbe had been found guilty of it.

And hours later, while the original article has been amended to a form that still repeats the allegation while not quite making clear that it was rejected in court, at the time of writing the appalling original tweet of the link is still in the rag’s Twitter feed:

In contrast to the emphasis of the reporting of the right-wing and supposedly ‘centrist’ media, the judge found Webbe’s accuser to have repeatedly lied – and that Webbe had faced such stress at the time in an abusive relationship that she reduced Webbe’s sentence and ordered most of the compensation she had been forced to pay to Michelle Merritt to be returned to her – and rejected the prosecution’s application for costs to be awarded against the MP.

As a result of the media’s shameless acid smears and Labour’s collusion in the smears during the original trial, Webbe suffered appalling racist abuse and was targeted for murder by men in two separate cases.

Keir Starmer’s Labour, meanwhile, compounded its appalling treatment of Webbe before the conviction and appeal by repeating that it will try to remove her as an MP and force a by-election. The party continues to allow its campaigns in Leicester, where Ms Webbe now sits as an independent MP, by the disgraced Keith Vaz, who as an MP offered to procure drugs for male prostitutes and was found guilty of sustained bullying, while locals have complained that women and Muslims are being excluded from selections.

The Mail has not yet responded to a request for comment on whether it will publicly apologise.

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  1. We should all consider writing to our MPs of whatever persuasion and ask them to put pressure on the MET to bring charges of perjury against Merrit. This woman committed perjury and should be rewarded with a criminal record for her efforts in destroying Webbe.
    Do we know the firm in which Merrit works as a Executive Assistant? It isn’t for me to advice the firm but Merrit has proven herself to be a dishonest woman and her employer should consider dismissing her. Sending naked pictures of herself to a man in a committed relationship with another woman isn’t the type of publicity and firm wishes to have.
    Thus, if the MET prosecutes her and she is found guilty of perjury, she will most likely lost her employment and it would serve her right.
    Skwawbox can you please start an online petition asking the MET to bring charges of perjury against Merrit?

  2. Maria
    Not sure if such a petition mighty be construed
    as more harassment of the “victim”.

    A complaint to the police commission for withholding
    information in a trial might be more to the point.

    Unfortunately from what the Judge said – although
    the new information exposed Ms Merritt as a liar –
    it also IN HER ESTIMATION provided a motive for
    Claudia’s supposed phone calls.

    1. Holby, according to the judge sentence Merrit lied in court and this is perjury.
      I seriously doubt it that the “victim” would initiate legal proceedings for harassment against any single member of the public signing a petition asking the MET to prosecute her for perjury, since a judge has found that she lied extensively.

      1. Well Ms Merrit does need tackling – but maybe not
        through her employer was my concern.

        Not sure how to get her prosecuted by the MET but
        I agree she should be ..

        However complaining to the Police Commission
        about the non disclosure of the phone evidence
        might be a start

    2. CORRECTION to

      >>what the Judge said – although
      t>>he new information exposed Ms Merritt as a liar –
      >>it also IN HER ESTIMATION provided a motive for
      >>Claudia’s supposed phone calls.

      It was not the Judge who said this – but
      the prosecution lawyer


  3. What happened to the test of ‘reasonableness’i in assessing the witness’s opinion?

    1. Nothing, as far as I know. People are entitled to differing opinions, but not “alternative” facts.

  4. Just did a search to see how widely this is being reported, and just happened to click on the Labourlist article first, and in the article – and no doubt in most of the reporting – it includes the following quote:

    A Labour Party spokesperson told LabourList that the allegations in the case are “extremely serious” and that “Ms Webbe should now resign so the people of Leicester East can get the representation they deserve”.

    Needless to say, if Claudia was a so-called moderate, the Starmerasi would no doubt have been defending her!

    PS I thought I’d just check out one or two other articles, and in the Sky News article it says the following:

    Webbe’s former party urged her to quit as an MP in the wake of the verdict.

    A Labour spokesman said: “The allegations in this case were extremely serious.

    “The Labour Party rightly expects elected representatives to maintain the very highest standards at all times.

    “Ms Webbe should now resign so the people of Leicester East can get the representation they deserve.”

    But the Guardian article said the following:

    Labour previously said it would push for a recall petition to force a byelection if Webbe did not resign after the appeal. A party spokesperson said: “The allegations in this case were extremely serious. The Labour party rightly expects elected representatives to maintain the very highest standards at all times.

    “Ms Webbe should now resign so the people of Leicester East can get the representation they deserve.”

    So the Guardian has it as ‘Labour previously said’, but Sky News (and Labourlist) has EXACTLY the same quote/wording NOW as was previously said by a/the Labour Party spokesman???

    1. Afterthought: If, as she DOES, she sits as an Independent, then WHY would a LP spokesman be saying NOW, that ‘The Labour party rightly expects elected representatives to maintain the very highest standards at all times’?

      Are they all quoting what a LP spokesman said before and, as such, misleading their readers that it’s what a LP spokesman said TODAY in respect of Claudia losing her appeal. Seems like it!

      1. And if it was Merrit who made the false claim that C W threatened to throw acid over her – which it MUST have been – then how come the court didn’t throw the book at her for inventing such a malicious lie AND lying to the court, let alone the OTHER lies Merrit told the court in the initial trial.

  5. Allan

    Did any of your sources included the fact that Ms
    Webbe was declared innocent of threatening an
    acid attack? The allegations were rejected by
    the Judge! That is why we have Courts of Law.

    She was fined £50 as a result so how serious
    was that ?

    She should DEFINITELY complain to the Police
    Commission .

    1. Out of the five or six articles I’ve read so far, I only recall a couple of them doing so.

      I just this minute checked the Sky News article again (I was only looking for the LP spokesman quote before and didn’t read the whole article as such), and it’s REALLY weird. About half way through the article it says the following:

      The latest hearing took place at Southwark Crown Court, with the victim saying Webbe sent her a message reading “You’re a s*** and should be acid,”…..

      But then near the end of the article it says THIS:

      Judge Deborah Taylor said the court found Webbe had not “made a threat to throw acid over” Ms Merritt but that a string of silent phone calls…..

      And check out what it says right at the end of the article.

      1. And it just occurred to me – having skimmed through the Sky News article again to double check – that it omits to mention any of the following (as skwawkbox did in an earlier article):

        The judge decided that, contrary to the prosecution’s request to classify the offence as a ‘Category A’ offence, she found it to be a Category B3 case, with a maximum low-level community order and level B fine:

        In all the circumstances we find that appropriate sentence was community service of 80 hours. As you’ve already done more than this there will be no further penalty.

        The judge also said compensation should be only £50 and ordered that the remainder of the original £1,000 penalty to be returned to Ms Webbe. No costs were awarded against her.

        But perish the thought that Sky News omitted to mention these things deliberately.

        PS When I have time I’m gonna check out how many other MSM outlets omitted to mention the above information. I have a feeling it’ll be the majority of them for some reason!

    1. Speed cameras are set to trigger at 10%+2mph above the given limit – ie 35mph in a thirty zone, 46mph in a forty zone etc. And it’s £100, not £50 (plus three penalty points).

      1. Generally correct, although speeding fines and gatso cameras are set depending on the constabulary.

        North Wales plod have -or at one stage, had – their cameras set to +1mph IIRC. The A55 was the most camera’d stretch of road and biggest cash cow of them all.

        Might still be.

        But that Claudia Webbe…

      2. The vast majority of police forces stick to the ACPO recommendation of 2002, and for the obvious reason – ie because drivers (apart from the speed-freaks of course) will occasionally slip over the speed limit by a mile or two or three an hour.

        Prior to the ACPO recommendation the trigger speed was absurdly high….. 45mph in a thirty limit, for example.

    2. But but but….Think of the the victim of this very serious crime….

      I seem to recall a certain someone had PLENTY to say along those lines when the original sentence was passed down; it’s strange how we’ve not heard a peep about it since.

      1. No chance. The chameleon simply adopts a new camouflage strategy and plods on.

  6. The Daily Mail.

    So good that Wikipedia (that bastion of truth, sorry bastion of Philip Cross) stopped using it a source as it is not trustworthy.

    I don’t think it is entirely accurate. It’s trustworthy enough to know we’re royally screwed as a country when you breeze through the comments below articles.

    The Mail is biased. Webbe was guilty in their eyes regardless of outcome.

  7. Claudia Webb’s life will be changed by this court case and when she gets time to study the outcome she will see that the worlds also at the crossroads and a turning point.For people like me shes still youngish and has a good education and knows its not the end but the chance to build on her undoubted potential leaving the defunct labour party behind.and this travesty in the past..
    I wish her all the best in the future.

  8. Very surprising verdict, if ever a conviction looked unsafe and ill advised this is it. I’m not known as Webbes biggest fan but her treatment by the justice system and the party (and her ex boyfriend) has been shockingly bad.

  9. I have been reading “Labour List” and
    while they quote “A Labour Spokesman
    says ..”

    They also quote a response from Webbe
    about the failure of the appeal – that it
    was unfair ..

    Unfortunately – as a poster said a bit ago
    it is comparatively easy to prove

    However given the outrageous withholding
    of evidence by the police – I think the case
    should have been thrown out. At the very least
    the police should have been massively

  10. Claudia shouldn’t resign as an MP. That way we’d have a least one Labour MP in parliment, rather than the Thatcherlite ding-bats who call themselves a Labour party.

    1. She sits as an Independent Chris, as of since she was expelled from the LP last year.

  11. The rule is – that you resign if you
    get a custodial sentence as was pointed
    out at the time.

    However she has NOT now got a custodial
    sentence so should NOT resign ..

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