Nigel: Libel action is not sour grapes

FORMER Conservative Shadow Minister Nigel Waterson is standing by his libel action against his Liberal Democrat opponent in the General Election over claims made in party literature.

Mr Waterson, MP for Eastbourne for 18 years until losing his seat to rival Stephen Lloyd in May last year, is demanding an apology over mocked-up newspapers circulated by his rival just weeks before voters went to the polls.

The Eastbourne Liberal Democrat party-produced ‘newspapers’ – called the Sussex Courier and the Eastbourne and Willingdon Express - designed to look like real publications and written by a ‘Chief Political Correspondent’.

Libel lawyers Irwin Mitchell have been appointed to bring legal action against Mr Lloyd and his Parliamentary agent Rebecca Carr over unfounded allegations.

Greg Saunders, from Irwin Mitchell, said, “These publications were sent out in the full knowledge that the allegations made were utterly untrue.

“This is not about money. It is about making Mr Lloyd and Ms Carr admit that what they did was wrong.

“It is also to ensure that they are not allowed to repeat these lies again and, most importantly, to ensure that the voters of Eastbourne know the truth.

“The allegations were deeply upsetting for Mr Waterson and his family and a totally unjustified slur on his good name.”

Mr Waterson said, “This is not a matter of ‘sour grapes’. 

“I have not sought to challenge the result of the election and I made it clear from the outset that I would be pursuing it whatever the outcome of the election.

“Things have only gone this far because Stephen Lloyd and his agent have consistently refused to issue an apology and withdraw their unfounded and damaging allegations.”

Mr Waterson has now filed papers at the High Court in London.