Monday, March 04, 2013

Libel Reform needs your MP's help

I don't know if you've been following the need to reform the UK's libel laws, but if you have managed to miss it, you must know that the UK is the libel capital of the world, and all sorts of unsavoury types use its outdated laws to further their own agendas, limit free speech and generally act like cads.

You can find out more about the Reform Libel campaign on the website of the same name here.

The reason why I'm mentioning it here is because I got an urgent email from them today asking for my help by writing to my MP. I don't have a UK MP so I'm posting their mail here so that as many of you Brit readers in dear old Blighty can help out instead. This is a really important issue, so please do read the mail and follow it up if at all possible.

Dear Friends
We need your urgent help this week to get the libel reform bill back to the House of Commons. There is the real risk that unless we act it will be dropped. 
We have all worked hard to win the case for reform – to show the chilling effects of the current law on citizens, to secure commitment from the three main parties and to get a bill that ends bullying and protects the public interest. We did all of this and politicians rose above the fray to work together on it.
But it is now threatened. As you may have read over the past week, the bill has been hijacked by a small group of peers who have inserted amendments to introduce press regulation proposals from the Leveson debate ‘by the back door’. The bill needs to go back before the Commons in the next two weeks, but the Government has not tabled it. It has to do so, because if the bill does not complete its passage before the parliamentary session ends in May or June it will be lost.
Please write to your MPs, any other MPs you know, party leaders and anyone else in the House of Commons whom you think might be urged to press the Government. We have to tell MPs that:

  • The Defamation Bill is a citizens’ bill. Tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organisations have engaged in bringing it about. It has been through three public consultations, two working groups and seven parliamentary debates. It has been a uniquely collaborative process with an impressively principled political response. The political manoeuvring of a small group of peers should not threaten this. Their amendment should be reversed in the Commons and pursued in more suitable legislation.
  • The Government should put the bill back into the Commons now, so that the amendment can be removed, final tweaks made and the law changed.
  • The case for reform emerged from a series of revelations that libel threats are silencing scientists, doctors, biographers, community lawyers, consumer groups, human rights activists and many others all over the world, while current libel laws offer a poor, inaccessible system of redress. Every week that the bill does not progress, this situation continues.

You can write to your MP through this website
Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions and other ideas about how to bring this to everyone's attention, and to share your correspondence. We need you all.
Best wishes,
Síle and Mike


  1. This has actually passed me by - not sure how as I do read papers and don't consider myself someone who lives in a bubble. Will investigate further...

    1. Thanks, CQ, it's an important issue. :)

  2. it's passed me by too, so thanks for alerting me to it, Sarah. Trust the Lords! Grrr.....

    1. It's unbelievable what these idiots have done. I hope their evil ploy fails!

  3. Good luck with this. Politicians can be a bit slow to react to anything nowadays. American l makers are some of the worst.

    1. Politicians are generally the pits wherever they come from I find.


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