Andrew Bridgen threatens to sue Matt Hancock for libel

Hancock called Andrew Bridgen antisemitic for comparing vaccines to the Holocaust


Former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen is threatening to sue the former health secretary over a tweet where the former health secretary accused Bridgen of spouting “anti-Semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories” about the COVID vaccine.

Bridgen lost the Conservative whip over comments he made about the vaccine and has requested Hancock to pay damages to the legal fund for “people seeking collective redress for vaccine harms”.

The furore began in the middle of last month when Bridgen tweeted on Jan 11: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.” The post was above another tweet from an Israeli doctor, which questioned the safety of Covid vaccines.

Hancock condemned Bridgen’s remarks, saying “the disgusting and dangerous anti-Semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories spouted by a sitting MP this morning are unacceptable and have absolutely no place in our society”.

The MP for North West Leicestershire denied the comment was “racist” or “antisemitic” and said he would be “speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am”.

He posted on Twitter on Jan 13 that Mr Hancock had “still not removed his defamatory tweet falsely alleging that I am antisemitic. I will allow Matt three days to apologise publicly for calling me an anti-Semite and racist or he will be contacted by my legal team”.

In a letter to Hancock on Jan 18, Bridgen’s legal team claimed: “By inclusion of the phrases ‘anti-Semitic’, ‘anti-vax’, ‘anti-scientific’ and ‘conspiracy theories’ the words are defamatory at common law.”

According to the seven-page letter, Bridgen wants Hancock to “retract and delete the defamatory statement contained in the tweet complained of with immediate effect”. The letter said he should “apologise for the tweet complained of – both orally in the House of Commons – and in writing on Mr Hancock’s personal Twitter account”.

Hancock should “acknowledge full and final settlement of any prospective claim in the form of a payment of £100,000 – to be transferred into a legal fund on behalf of persons seeking collective redress for vaccine harms”.

Hancock’s spokesman said: “What Matt said was obviously not libellous, and he stands by his comments. Rather than wasting his time and money on an absurd libel case he will undoubtedly lose, let’s hope Bridgen does the right thing and apologises for the hurt he’s caused and keeps his offensive view to himself in future.”`

In the Commons during the Holocaust memorial day debate, another former health secretary Sajid Javid indicated his anger at Bridgen’s Holocaust reference.

Opening the Commons debate on Holocaust Memorial Day, Javid said: “Right now in the UK, we have seen a rise in anti-vaccine protesters carrying signs reading ‘vaccine Holocaust’ and wearing the Star of David.

“I must say, it does anger me that any member of this House would seek to connect the Holocaust with UK public health policy.”

Bridgen is being supported by the "Bad Law Project", a legal advocacy group who said told the JC in a statement: "We can confirm that the Bad Law Project and the Reclaim Party is supporting Mr Bridgen in this action.

"We take this matter extremely seriously and we await a formal response from Mr Hancock.

"The Reclaim Party and the Bad Law Project will be pursuing this matter through the proper legal channels."

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