Jeremy Corbyn: Libel case against ex-Labour leader dropped before trial

“Mr Corbyn has paid no damages, has made no apology and has given no undertakings concerning repetition of the words complained of.”

A libel case against former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been dropped ahead of the trial opening.

Political blogger Richard Millett, who was suing the north London MP for libel, has dropped his case, lawyers for both parties have said.

The legal case related to comments made by Mr Corbyn - now an independent MP for Islington North after Sir Keir Starmer removed the Labour whip - on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show in 2018.

A trial was due to open today (Monday, October 10) and expected to last over two weeks, with Mr Corbyn planning to call 31 witnesses and give evidence himself.

Liz Truss and Jeremy Corbyn may be more alike than you might think (Picture: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Testimony in his case was set to include that of shadow secretary for health Wes Streeting, as well as “video, audio, photographic and documentary evidence”.

Lawyers for both parties said in a statement: “The libel claim brought by Richard Millett against the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP has been settled.

“Mr Corbyn has paid no damages, has made no apology and has given no undertakings concerning repetition of the words complained of.

“No costs have been paid by either party to the other as part of this settlement save in respect of an outstanding order of the court of appeal from April 2021.

“Neither party will be making any other comment about the case.”

While on the programme, the then-leader of the opposition referred to people having been “disruptive” and “abusive” at meetings in Parliament and with the Palestinian ambassador.

Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty Wes Streeting. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

A high court judge ruled that while Mr Millett was not directly named by Mr Corbyn “he would have been recognisable to some viewers as one of the persons”, the legal statement added.

And judge Mr Justice Saini ruled these comments were “all defamatory statements of fact”, which was later upheld by the court of appeal in April 2021, when the costs order was made.

But Mr Corbyn was expected to defend his comments on the bases of truth, public interest and qualified privilege.

The statement continued: “The trial would also have been the first to consider the defence of publication on a matter of public interest under s.4 Defamation Act 2013 in the context of a live TV broadcast interview. That interesting legal issue will have to wait for another day.”

Mr Corbyn was represented by lawyers from Howe & Co solicitors, and barristers William McCormick KC, of Selborne Chambers, and Mark Henderson, of Doughty Street Chambers.

While court documents indicated Mr Millet was represented in the high court hearing by William Bennett KC and John Stables, instructed by Patron Law.