Rachel Riley talks about libel lawsuit Labor showed they ‘don’t care about Jews’ over assistant role
Labor showed they ‘don’t care about Jews’ by appointing a former Jeremy Corbyn assistant to lead the party’s complaints team the day after she was involved in a Twitter spit with TV star Rachel Riley, has a court heard today.
Countdown’s mathematician ace told the Supreme Court today that she was surprised by the timing of Laura Murray’s appointment – less than 24 hours after the assistant branded her ‘dangerous’ and ‘stupid’ on social media.
Oxford graduate Ms. Riley, 35, is suing Ms. Murray for libel during the January 2019 Tweet.
The Channel 4 star claims the social media post caused her serious damage. Mrs. Murray disputes the claim.
Speaking of Ms. Murray’s appointment as Labour’s head of complaints the day after the Tweet, Ms. Riley, who is Jewish, told the court it showed that the party “ doesn’t care about Jews. ”
She said, “The timing of it, I just couldn’t see another … that’s my most honest view of that position.”
Labor showed they ‘didn’t care about Jews’ by appointing a former Jeremy Corbyn assistant to lead the party’s complaints team a day after she was involved in a Twitter feud with TV star Rachel Riley (pictured) , a court heard today
Ms. Riley also said that the court felt she was targeted and discredited by the left who would not accept her criticism of hypocrisy.
The Countdown star said, “She told people not to deal with me.
“What she tried to do was keep my voice suppressed, not heard.”
When it was suggested that Miss Murray tweeted her honest opinion, Mr. Riley replied, “I can’t see how that’s possible.”
William Bennett QC had previously told Justice Nicklin that the tweet posted by Ms. Murray had seriously injured Ms. Riley.
The Countdown math ace told the Supreme Court today that she was surprised by the timing of Laura Murray’s (pictured) appointment – a day after the assistant branded her ‘dangerous’ and ‘dumb’ on social media
Mr Justice Nicklin began overseeing the trial in the High Court in London on Monday and it will end later this week.
Ms. Riley had initially posted a screenshot of a January 2019 tweet by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, about an attack on former UK National Party leader Nick Griffin, in which Mr. Jones had said, ‘I think good life advice is if you don’t. I don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. ‘
She had added “Good Advice” with red rose and egg emojis.
Later, Ms. Murray had 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 for being a Nazi.
“This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. Ever.’
Ms. Riley told the court in a statement today, “I had not tweeted that Jeremy Corbyn deserved to be violently attacked,” she wrote in her testimony.
‘I was really offended because I was called’ dangerous and stupid ‘and people were told to’ never ‘have anything to do with me.
I had made a sarcastic but in my opinion relevant and important comment regarding Owen Jones and a few hours later the defendant spread on Twitter that I was in favor of violence against Jeremy Corbyn because I had said in her words that he deserved to to be attacked because he was a Nazi.
‘I believe I was targeted by the defendant because I had been critical of the Labor Party’s handling of anti-Semitism.
Ms. Riley also said that the court felt she was targeted and discredited by the left who would not accept her criticism of hypocrisy. Mrs. Murray was a former assistant to ex-Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured)
“It was an attempt to silence me or stop people from listening to what I was saying by telling people that I was encouraging people to use violence against Jeremy Corbyn.
The allegations in the Tweet make me feel vulnerable to physical attacks, which is of course very worrying.
The amount of insulting and threatening messages was all-consuming.
‘I found it difficult to concentrate on my work and had sleepless nights. Even now the abuse has gone unchecked and my reputation is not justified.
Every time I have to revisit the abuse I received for this cause as a result of this incident it is again traumatizing and disturbing and I experience the same physical and mental responses that affect my sleep and well-being.
The growth of anti-Semitism on the left of British politics led me to criticize the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn and certain supporters and sympathizers.
‘I believe the Corbyn-led Labor Party encouraged anti-Semitism.
‘I have spoken publicly to condemn this anti-Semitism in the Labor Party.
A lawyer representing Ms. Murray (pictured here with Jeremy Corbyn) disagreed with the case brought forward by Ms. Riley
‘I started doing this in September 2018. My main vehicle for responding is Twitter.
This led to me becoming the target of a great deal of abuse and many harmful lies from people who supported Jeremy Corbyn’s politics and his stewardship of the Labor Party.
Many on the far left refused to accept that anti-Semitism was a problem within the Labor Party and chose to promote the story that complaints about it were some kind of cynical attempt to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from being elected prime minister.
‘The abuse and lies directed against me have been spread across social media, most noticeable to me on Twitter as I can be reached directly through this medium.’
Ms. Riley says the tweet contained ‘defamatory statements of fact’ about her.
“We do say that the tweet complained about did serious harm,” Bennett told the judge.
“She was accused of risking incitement to violence and told she was dangerous.”
He said the tweet was published in front of “a large number of people.”
A lawyer representing Ms. Murray disagreed with the case brought by Ms. Riley.
William McCormick QC told the judge in a written case summary that Ms. Murray’s tweet was “true.”
“The plaintiff (Ms. Riley) chose to tweet her more than 625,000 followers about a violent attack in a way that was both stupid and dangerous,” he said.
It was clear that her tweet would provoke hostile reactions as they actually emerged.
“What the defendant (Mrs. Murray) tweeted was true, reflected her heartfelt opinion, and was a responsible exercise of her own right of expression on a matter of real public interest.”
Mr Justice Nicklin had ruled at a previous hearing that Ms Murray’s tweet was defamatory. Pictured: The High Court in London – where the case is heard
He said it was “fairly clear” that Ms. Riley had viewed the libel suit “wrongly” as part of a long-running dispute over anti-Semitism in the Labor Party.
Mr McCormick said it is an issue she “has a strong sense of”.
But he said the case was not about anti-Semitism, but about the “need for restraint in public discourse.”
Justice Nicklin had ruled in a previous hearing that Ms. Murray’s tweet was defamatory.
The judge concluded that the tweet meant: Ms. Riley had “publicly stated” that Mr. Corbyn had been attacked while visiting a mosque; that he “deserved to be violently attacked”; in doing so, she had shown herself to be a “dangerous and stupid person” who “ran the risk of inciting unlawful violence”; and that people should not ‘come into contact with her’.
Mr. Bennett said that ‘pertinent issues’ at trial were whether serious damage had been done to Ms. Riley’s reputation and whether Ms. Murray had a defense against the ‘truth’, a defense with an ‘honest opinion’ or a defense of had ‘public interest’.
Ms. Riley told the judge she was ‘sarcastic’ in her tweet.
“I wasn’t aiming it at Owen Jones,” she said. “I sent it to the left.”
She said Mrs. Murray “must have known” that “I didn’t say those words.”