Labour barrister settles libel action

LIZ DAVIES, the left-wing Labour councillor and barrister who was rejected as a parliamentary candidate by the Labour Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) last September, has accepted an undisclosed but “modest” libel payout along with a public apology from the Financial Times.

Solicitor Keith Schilling, acting for Davies, told Mr Justice French that Davies, an Islington councillor, believed that a Financial Times report of her rejection published last September and which included quotes from Tom Sawyer, Labour Party General Secretary, may have led readers to believe that she had incited political activists to violence.

He said the paper had since published a letter from Davies saying that the only adverse material before the NEC on the issue had been in the form of letters from three Islington councillors.

Schilling said the defendants had at no time alleged that the NEC made any finding against Davies on the issue, nor had they intended to suggest that she had ever incited political activists to violence.

In the circumstances, she had been content to accept a “modest payment” to bring the proceedings to a close, he said.

Davies, who is a housing specialist at Mitre House Chambers, is pursuing a second libel case against the three Islington councillors, one of whom has now left the council.

She added that she is no longer seeking nomination as an MP. “The ruling of the NEC was not about the de selection procedure, it was about my politics,” she said. “And in those circumstances it is quite clear to everyone concerned that if I stood again they would refuse to endorse me.”