Rachel Riley wins £10,000 in damages after suing Jeremy Corbyn’s ex-aide over tweet


Countdown star Rachel Riley has been awarded £10,000 in damages after she sued Jeremy Corbyn’s former aide following an exchange on Twitter.

The television presenter complained about a tweet that Laura Murray posted more than two years ago.

The High Court heard in May that Ms Riley claimed Ms Murray’s post caused “serious harm” to her reputation.

Mr Justice Nicklin delivered his judgment on Monday and found that Ms Riley was “entitled” to “vindication” but said there had been a “clear element of provocation” in the tweet she posted.

Why did Countdown presenter sue former Corbyn aide?

The court heard how both women posted tweets after former Labour leader Mr Corbyn was hit with an egg while visiting a mosque in March 2019.

Ms Riley posted a screenshot of a January 2019 tweet by Owen Jones about an attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, which said: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”

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She added “Good advice”, with emojis of a red rose and an egg.

Later, Ms Murray tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.

“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.”

Ms Riley claimed her tweet was sarcastic and she did not call Mr Corbyn a Nazi.

Ms Murray, who was Mr Corbyn’s stakeholder manager when he was Labour leader, argued that what she tweeted was true and reflected her honestly held opinions.

Riley can ‘hardly be surprised’ that tweet provoked a reaction, judge says

Mr Justice Nicklin had ruled at an earlier hearing that Ms Murray’s tweet was defamatory.

The judge said Ms Murray’s post had “essentially” misrepresented what Ms Riley had said in the “good advice tweet”.

He rejected Ms Riley’s argument that Ms Murray had been “motivated by any improper purpose”.

“She made a mistake in the defendant’s tweet by not including the good advice tweet,” the judge said.

“There is a clear element of provocation in the good advice tweet, in the sense that the claimant must have readily appreciated that the meaning of the good advice tweet was ambiguous and could be read as suggesting, at least, that Jeremy Corbyn deserved to be egged because of his political views,” the judge said.

“The claimant can hardly be surprised – and she can hardly complain – that the good advice tweet provoked the reaction it did, including the defendant’s tweet.”

He added that those issues were “taken into account” when deciding on “appropriate” damages.

Ms Riley had told the judge that she speaks out against antisemitism and thought the Corbyn-led Labour Party was “fostering antisemitism”.

Ms Murray told the judge that her job had involved her working with the Jewish community to “try to find solutions to the problem of antisemitism which was becoming evident within parts of the Labour Party membership”.

Ms Riley said in a tweet that she is “extremely pleased to have won my libel case” with the verdict.