Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-anti-vaxxer-mp-andrew-bridgen-is-told-to-pay-matt-hancock-40,000-for-legal-fee-costs-in-libel-war-over-a-‘malicious’-post-made-by-disgraced-former-health-secretary-on-social-media,-judge-rulesAlert – Anti-vaxxer MP Andrew Bridgen is told to pay Matt Hancock £40,000 for legal fee costs in libel war over a ‘malicious’ post made by disgraced former Health Secretary on social media, judge rules

Anti-vaxxer MP Andrew Bridgen has been ordered to pay Matt Hancock more than £40,000 in legal fees after an early stage of their libel war. 

Mr Bridgen wants to ‘clear his name’ after allegedly being accused of antisemitism in a ‘malicious’ post made by the former Health Secretary, the High Court in London previously heard.

The MP for North West Leicestershire is bringing a libel claim against Mr Hancock over a January 2023 tweet that followed Mr Bridgen posting a comment about Covid-19 vaccines.

Following a preliminary hearing in the case earlier this month, Mr Bridgen – who was expelled by the Conservatives in April 2023 – was ordered to pay £44,300 to the MP for West Suffolk in a court order on Thursday.

At the previous hearing, a judge was told Mr Bridgen shared a link to an article ‘concerning data about deaths and other adverse reactions linked to Covid vaccines’ on January 11.

He stated: ‘As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.’

Anti-vaxxer MP Andrew Bridgen (pictured) has been ordered to pay Matt Hancock more than £40,000 in legal fees after an early stage of their libel war

Anti-vaxxer MP Andrew Bridgen (pictured) has been ordered to pay Matt Hancock more than £40,000 in legal fees after an early stage of their libel war

Mr Bridgen wants to 'clear his name' after allegedly being accused of antisemitism in a 'malicious' social media post by Mr Hancock (pictured)

Mr Bridgen wants to ‘clear his name’ after allegedly being accused of antisemitism in a ‘malicious’ social media post by Mr Hancock (pictured)

Hours later, Mr Hancock wrote on Twitter – now known as X – that ‘disgusting and dangerous antisemitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories spouted by a sitting MP this morning are unacceptable and have absolutely no place in our society’.

Mr Bridgen believes ‘every person reading the tweet knew it was about me’, that it was ‘seriously defamatory and untrue’ and intended to cause ‘grievous harm’ to his reputation, the court was told.

READ MORE: From footballer to pundit to… Covid vaccine know-all? Shamed MP Andrew Bridgen names Matt Le Tissier as an ‘expert’ as he demands urgent meeting with Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley to discuss ‘very disturbing’ new evidence on jabs

Mr Hancock’s lawyers argued the claim against him should be thrown out as it did not have ‘a realistic prospect of success’ and because of the ‘lack of a properly articulated case’.

In a ruling last week, Mrs Justice Steyn ‘struck out’ certain parts of Mr Bridgen’s case but did not dismiss the whole claim, instead giving the Independent MP a chance to make amendments and ‘remedy the deficiencies’.

In Thursday’s court order, the judge said: ‘Although I have not struck out the particulars of claim, the defendant (Mr Hancock) readily acknowledged that the result of his application might be an order along the lines that I have now made.

‘In the circumstances, it is clear that the defendant is the successful party.’

Mrs Justice Steyn also said that if Mr Bridgen does not provide the details of his amended claim or does not successfully make the required application, the libel claim will be thrown out entirely.

After the court order was made public on Thursday, Mr Hancock posted on X: ‘Glad the Court has awarded costs against Mr Bridgen at this stage of his absurd libel action, and explicitly stated that I was the successful party – contrary to Bridgen’s ridiculous claims at the time.

‘Mr Bridgen should stop wasting the court’s time and drop this case now.’

Former Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen joins a procession to Downing Street, while supporters hold boards and signs warning of the dangers of the vaccine

Former Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen joins a procession to Downing Street, while supporters hold boards and signs warning of the dangers of the vaccine

Mr Bridgen was suspended and later expelled from the Tory party last year for his comments.

It was understood that a disciplinary panel found against him for the vaccines claim.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the comments as ‘utterly unacceptable’.

He was made the Reclaim Party’s first MP in early May. The anti-vaxxer announced he would stand against the Conservatives at the next general election but refused to trigger a by-election sooner.

In December, Mr Bridgen made a surprise move and quit his position as the only MP in Laurence Fox’s Party citing a ‘difference in direction’.

‘I have come to this decision purely because of a difference in the direction of the party,’ he said in a statement.