Jeremy Corbyn demands apology and damages from Tory vice-chair over Czech spy tweet

Posted On: 
21st February 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has demanded an apology and damages from Tory vice chair Ben Bradley who accused him on Twitter of “selling secrets to communist spies”. 

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In a legal letter, seen by HuffPost UK, the Labour leader states that Mr Bradley must confirm in writing he won’t repeat the allegation, tweet an apology, make a donation to Mr Corbyn’s chosen charity and cover his legal costs.

Mr Bradley tweeted the allegations on Monday amid claims - strenuously denied by Mr Corbyn - that he passed on information to a Czech 'diplomat' at the height of the Cold War 30 years ago.

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The Mansfield MP wrote: "Corbyn sold British secrets to communist spies ... get some perspective mate!! Your priorities are a bit awry."

But he was later forced to delete the post after the Labour leader threatened legal action against him.

Mr Corbyn has been accused of passing state secrets to Czech spy Jan Sarkocy, at the height of the Cold War.

However, Labour has insisted the allegations are a "ridiculous smear", while the Labour leader has warned newspaper owners that he will launch a crack down on their industry if he becomes Prime Minister.

In the letter to Mr Bradley a legal representative for Mr Corbyn said his reputation "has been or is likely to be seriously harmed by your publication of the offending tweet and by re-tweets…

“We note that you have removed the tweet but nevertheless serious harm has been caused by your libellous statement.”

It also warns: “If there is any delay our client reserves the right to commence legal proceedings against you for damages and ancillary relief for defamation without further notice.”

Mr Bradley has been asked for a comment.

It is not the first time Mr Bradley, who was only elected last June, has landed in hot water since his promotion in Theresa May's last reshuffle.

He was condemned last month after comments he made in a 2012 blogpost emerged in which he suggested unemployed men should have vasectomies.

The blogpost - which Mr Bradley deleted after they were revealed by Buzzfeed - was written in support of the Government's cap on benefits payments.

He said: "I apologise for these posts. My time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate."