Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday


10:05 pm - March 31st 2010

by Tom Watson MP    


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Yesterday, a Statutory Instrument that would have reformed costs in English libel cases was stalled at committee stage after several MPs voted to block a reduction of lawyers’ success fees from a 100 per cent mark-up to 10 per cent. Here, exclusively, Tom Watson explains why.

Libel reform campaigners, anxious for progress, understandably pressing for great change, do a disservice to the campaign if they focus their ire on the people who rejected the ill-conceived proposals, hurriedly presented yesterday in Committee Room 12 of the House of Commons.

Briefly, let me make the case for the libel reform I want to see.

  1. End libel tourism.
  2. I want the burden of proof rule to be reversed for big corporations who bully writers, creators and scientists.
  3. I would like to see a change to statute of limitations and the multiple publications rule that’s not fit for purpose in the digital age.
  4. I’d like to see a defence of “responsible journalism” defined in law.
  5. And I’d like the law of “criminal libel” to be junked in Scotland as it was South of the border last year.

I came to these conclusions, having heard evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for our inquiry ‘Press Standards, Privacy and Libel’.

The reforms listed above will genuinely support free expression, so cherished by the new communities of interest brought together by the Internet age. It is these bold measures that should form the basis of wholesale reform of libel laws in the UK.

Yesterday’s proposals would not achieve any of the above. They would, as Lord Thomas observed, possibly benefit large media companies who are lobbying hard for all political parties to endorse the measures before an election, but would not provide adequate protection to the little guy, who ends up in the libel courts alone against giant corporations with money and clout.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the “chilling effect” argument. There is no doubt it needs addressing but it’s not the only issue that has to be considered when developing reforms. I know there are a number of prominent journalists on the left, Nick Cohen being one, who feel very strongly about this particular issue. That’s understandable.

But I had to consider a wider range of arguments yesterday; access to justice being one of them. Success fees do need reducing, of that there is no doubt but the Ministry of Justice did not make a convincing case for them dropping to 10%.

In making our decision, we also had to consider the recommendation of the Lord Justice Jackson Report (900 plus pages).

The Jackson report is important because the aim of his recommendations is to reduce the costs of civil litigation whilst preserving access to justice and a fair balance between both parties in a case.

The proposal yesterday – to limit the success fee from 100% to 10% was an arbitrary figure that, in my view, failed the test of the Jackson proposals. It could significantly reduce the chances of people receiving justice and that’s something I didn’t want to be part of.

The House of Lords Statutory Instruments Merits Committee had grave reservations about the proposal, drawing it to the special attention of the House of Lords “on the grounds that it may imperfectly achieve its objective.”

I think it important you see the detailed extracts of the committee’s report. They had a great influence on my decision yesterday:

11. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has laid this instrument under section 58 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 along with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) an Impact Assessment (IA). It is noted that, as with the Damages-Based Agreement Regulations 2010 reported on above, this Order has twice been withdrawn and relaid, in order to correct drafting defects.

12. This Order amends arrangements for “no win, no fee” agreements that relate to defamation cases including malicious falsehood and breach of confidence cases that involve material that has been published. This type of Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) has been available for some years as an alternative to paying a legal representative by hourly fee according to the work done. In defamation CFAs the lawyer has, until now, been awarded double his costs if the case is won (i.e. a 100% success fee) but received no payment from the client if the case is lost. The underlying principle is that the successes offset the failures with the objective of improving access to justice for the client, particularly the poorer ones who might otherwise not be able to defend their reputation as legal aid is not normally available for defamation proceedings.

13. The Ministry of Justice say that there is evidence that the costs are bearing unfairly on the losing party and that more than half the defamation cases that are pursued are won, i.e. the lawyers are benefiting disproportionately from the current arrangements. So as an interim measure, pending the consideration of Lord Justice Jackson’s wider review into Civil Litigation Costs, the Department is proposing to reduce the success fee to 10%. The Order was preceded by a short consultation exercise (from 19 January to 16 February 2010).

14. The Committee asked the Ministry why the Impact Assessment they provided only considered the one option and did not compare the costs and benefits of intermediate levels of success fee at say 25% or 50%. They responded (see Appendix 2) that general consultations had been going on since 2007, previous attempts had been made to construct a phased scheme but consensus could not be achieved. They argued that the majority of the respondents to the consultation exercise, even those who were against the reduction to 10%, conceded that the status quo was not sustainable and that change was necessary. A number of representations have been sent to the Committee questioning the basis
for and timing of this change (see Appendix 2). Several respondents make reference to the “Theobalds Park Plus agreement” an example of which is attached to the Carter Ruck submission, which illustrates that other arrangements, staggering the fee uplift according to the amount of work done, are already in voluntary operation.

15. Some respondents queried the Department’s use of figures on cases provided by the Media Lawyers’ Association to Lord Justice Jackson’s review; but said that the truncated consultation period had prevented further analysis of data. While accepting a need for change, most challenge the 10% figure as disproportionate. The conclusions of both Lord Justice Jackson and the Commons’ Culture Media and Sport Committee on this issue are mixed[note 2], and we were not convinced that there was a strong basis for choosing a 10% uplift over any other figure. In their response MOJ acknowledged that they do not have comprehensive statistics and were seeking additional data through the consultation exercise – it therefore seems difficult to justify the curtailment of the consultation period to 4 weeks.

16. Some responses query the reason for taking this interim proposal through when it is not consistent with the proposals made in Lord Justice Jackson’s report, which suggests that the costs as well as the benefits of a “no win, no fee” CFAs should be borne by the client rather than by the unsuccessful defendant. MOJ state that Lord Justice Jackson’s proposal will need extensive consultation with the industry and primary legislation. In their view the proposed cut to 10% provides a way forward in the interim.

17. The policy objective is to reduce legal costs, and to reduce the risk of disproportionate costs having the effect of unjustifiably restricting freedom of expression for the media and other publishers. The Order aims to do this by reducing the 100% uplift that is widely considered a disproportionate sanction on the unsuccessful defendant. Paragraphs 3.9-16 of the Impact Assessment set out the pros and cons of reducing the sanction, in the light of which the House may wish to consider whether a 10% uplift swings the pendulum too far the other way, reducing poorer clients’ ability to challenge misleading published information.

We regret that insufficient time has been allowed to produce a solution based on more robust evidence or on which there is broad agreement, and that might seem more likely to achieve the policy objective without the potential side effects discussed in the correspondence.

I understand that many friends who share concerns over controversial measures contained within the Digital Economy Bill are also anxious to see major libel reform. Yet the same reasons I’m opposing the controversial measures in the Digital Economy Bill apply here – rushed legislation; a failure to adequately consult and a poor evidential base to justify the reduction to 10%.

To be honest with you, after nearly 10 years in Parliament I’m pretty hardened to the view that the “act in haste, repent at leisure” maxim applies to almost all law making. And after two resignations, a handful of media storms and a few votes cast whilst holding my nose and gritting my teeth, I wasn’t going to allow myself to be voting fodder for a cobbled together motion without seeing the evidence.

And I’m not the only parliamentarian who feels this way.

Here’s what prominent supporter of libel reform Lord Thomas of Gresford said in the House of Lords debate:

The Liberal Democrats have been, and are, at the forefront of the campaign for a reform of the law and procedures relating to defamation. The crippling costs associated with libel cases in the United Kingdom-which are said in one study to be 140 times higher than in some mainland European countries-are a prime example of where reform is needed…The solution that the Government have hit upon is utterly unthinking. It is not the recommendation of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

He went on to say of the proposals:

It makes it impossible for the ordinary citizen to protect his reputation or defend himself against unmeritorious claims. That uplift-the cap of 10 per cent-really takes us back to the old days, when legal aid was not available in defamation cases and the libel courts were the playground of the rich or the extremely poor, who had nothing to lose by bringing actions of that sort.

And Lord Marlesford of the Conservatives made his concerns known when he said:

it is pretty appalling to consider such orders in three weeks when the normal procedure is to have three months to consider them. What possible reason is there to do so? Given how complicated these issues are and the fact that these great experts do not yet fully agree on the correct solution, how wise it is of my noble friend Lord Henley have made it clear that the Conservative Party has not yet made up its mind what the right solution is.

Science

Professor Brian Cox lashed out on Twitter when he heard the decision. I understand his concern. As a scientist he will want his profession receiving adequate protection from big corporations who try to silence legitimate academic criticism. I would ask him and others who share his concerns to consider the specific effect of the proposals
discussed yesterday.

An example of a case which would probably not have been taken by a reputable libel lawyer on a CFA with a maximum recoverable success fee of 10% was the case for Danish professor, Henrik Thomsen, who was sued for defamation in London by 3 companies in the multi-billion dollar GE Healthcare group. The claim against him was in respect of a talk he gave to 30-40 people at a conference in Oxford, and an article published in his name in a specialist magazine published to about 1,000 healthcare professionals in England.

The case concerned one of GE’s products, Omniscan (a contrast agent injected to obtain enhanced images with MRI scans) which has been linked with a very rare, but horrible disease, and is the subject of major litigation in the US.

Temporary Measures

The case has been made that the measures are temporary, pending wider reforms later in the year. I’m sorry to say that I’ve been around long enough in Parliament to know how temporary measures can become a permanent feature of British democracy.

31 years ago, in the last months of the Labour government, the Barnett Formula was introduced as a temporary measure to allocate public expenditure in Scotland and Wales. We’re still using it today. If you’re going to change the law, it is better to craft proposals based on sound evidence and thorough debate, than on a punt that you might have it right.

Carter Ruck

A number of people have tweeted and emailed today, libelously suggesting I am on the payroll of Carter Ruck. Luckily for them, irony is something you get used to in my profession. And in politics, you have to take the rough with the smooth.

But personal experience of the current CFA arrangements has helped my understanding of how the system works. I don’t expect sympathy for my family’s personal circumstances but I think they merit some explanation, but not today. Soon though.

Conclusion

Yesterday’s proposals did not provide an impact assessment that properly examined the alternatives. Grave doubts were raised by prominent members of the House of Lords. The Ministry of Justice failed to guarantee that people wouldn’t be denied access to justice.

The proposals carried the risk of being counter productive to science writers who require proper protection form big corporations. There wasn’t adequate consultation and the government’s own guidelines were breached.

Temporary measures of this sort have a habit of becoming permanent. On nearly every conceivable level, the proposals were flawed. I had no choice but to oppose.

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About the author
Tom Watson used to be civil service minister in the Cabinet Office. He is MP for West Bromwich East and tweets here
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Media ,Westminster

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Reader comments


I tend to agree that this was a rushed bit of reform that would have essentially abolished no-win no-fee for defamation cases.

Essentially, if you can get a 100% uplift on winning a case, then it’s worth your while as a lawyer taking on a no-win no-fee case that you’ve got a 50/50 (or better) chance of winning, because your losses will be outweighed by your wins. Reduce that to a 10% maximum, and it’s only worth your while if you think you’ve got a 1-10 on chance of winning it. Otherwise you might as well stick to work where you’re paid whether you win or not. Not many libel defences – particularly while the other rules remain unreformed – are going to pass that hurdle.

There seems to be some cross-party consensus on the issue that libel does need reform, at last, so I think leaving it till a proper comprehensive examination after the election is much more sensible than rushing something through and allowing MPs to relax and consider it dealt with.

PS. You need to update your “about the author” bit…

Well, I’ve been following this throughout the day and I’m unaware of anyone suggesting that Tom was on the payroll of Carter Ruck.Though, as he hints, he has been the beneficiary of a CFA.

The fact is that the proposed reforms are the only ones on the table. In a few days, Parliamennt will be prorogued and this opportunity will be lost until after the election. Who knows how the new Parliament will be made up? For sure, they will have many more pressing matters upon their minds.

The truth is, it was either the proposed reforms or nothing. So the question is, why did Tom regard the proposed reforms as worse than the status quo?

The crucial statement in this blogpost is “it could significantly reduce the chances of people receiving justice”.

There is no evidence put forward in this blogpost to substantiate that claim.

Fail.

Is there any reason to have believed that, after the upcoming Parliamentary interregnum, there would have no further option to pursue further changes? Even were West Bromwich East not a shoe-in for Watson, other MPs could have pursued it.

What JoK said, with bells and whistles on. I haven’t been this disgusted at good men letting idiocy prevail since Tom Harris voted against the Gurkha reforms ‘cos of Party loyalty.

I am a big critic of the current system of libel law in the UK, as it has the power to completely stifle debate, and it should be one of the biggest priorities of any future government, and indeed the present one, to be changing the system for the better.

But, tinkering around the edges is not enough. We need complete root and branch reform to rebalance the system in favour of publication and in favour of free speech. These proposals did not go any way to addressing this. If these proposals had been passed, what we would have had was a government who felt that they had addressed the issue, and it would effectively have been put to the back of the agenda for reform, especially in the economic climate, with the focus of a new government rightly geared towards improving our economic situation.

All in all, I think Mr Watson did the right thing, for the right reasons. Those who are angry and calling for immediate reform are right to do so. But these half-baked proposals from the MoJ would not have done this, and would have set our cause back in favour of a cheap and easy smokescreen fix.

So, NOTHING happens and the status quo prevails…?

The status quo ante continues going up our posterior, Peter.

Jack of Kent – As far as I understand it, under the current system of 100% CFA lawyers have to win about 50% of their cases to ‘break even’. Say a lawyer’s normal fee is £1 a case. If he wins a CFA case, he gets that plus 100% of his fee, so £2 overall. If he loses, he gets nothing. In the long run, he’ll average £1 a case if he wins 50% of them – so there’s no disincentive for him to take up these cases as long as he thinks he has a 50% or higher chance of winning.

If CFAs are capped at 10%, he’ll only get £1.10 if he wins a case. So in order for him to average £1 a case, he needs to win more than 50% of his cases – in fact he’ll need to win ten out of every eleven (91%). If he only wins 50%, he only gets 55p on average for a case, so there’s a clear disincentive for him to take up these cases where he’s not pretty confident of winning.

Before I decide fully where I am on this, it’d be useful to see a rough figure for the proportion of CFA cases that are won currently. But I don’t think this is necessarily an issue of greedy lawyers, nor of stupid politicians.

Some years ago, I saw – at close hand – how the vagaries of the libel laws had a hugely different impact depending upon the size and stature of the publication. OK – large titles or broadcasters get challenged and either fight or fold. But below a certain size, there is a point at which you have almost no choice but to settle – no matter what the merits of the case are because co-defendants who you have indemnified will claim those indemnities before you go bust rather than risk being left alone to defend a fight they didn’t pick.

For some time, I’ve suspected that this is almost in the ‘Royal Commission’ territory – to be taken in a wider context of the way that public good of civic inquiry is made most readily available. I think that this issue would benefit from being discussed as part of a wider conversation about open data, copyright (outside of the non-journalism creative industries) and even Freedom of Information – a question that I would argue has more downsides to it than are generally recognised.

I’m asking this rather than asserting it by the way: Is it the case that such a complex issue will always result on a failure to reform and a return to the status quo ante? If so, is it actually a fitting subject of a royal commission or some similar complex conversation that goes beyond Parliament?

10. FlyingRodent

What’s the proportion of innocent lives destroyed by libel laws to bullshitting journalists who want to defame people for a living wage?

There’s one point to kick off from. Bear in mind, it’s not like we live in a world free from examples.

I’m not sure that a change to fees would have a significant effect on the worst abuses of our libel laws. I.e. Attempting to stiffle debate or prevent the release of inconvenient information.
A corporation suing a critic doesn’t care about the money, they just want that critic to shut up. Win or lose, an expensive legal battle will do the job.

I confess to not reading the whole article but I note that “cost” isn’t even mentioned in your preferred list of reforms. Not even at the bottom of the list.

Do you not think cost in libel cases is a problem worth fixing?

Lawyers won’t be working just from the maths – they won’t take any old case on the basis that as long as they win 50% of the time they will break even. They will still cherry-pick cases that they are likely to win in the hope (and expectation, based on professional expertise) of winning more than 50% of the time and so making more than their standard fee as average earning.

Certainly, if I were a lawyer (which thank God I am not), the prospect of 10% additional would not entice me to take a case I might lose. How about a levy on successful cases which funds an insurance pot to contribute towards costs of cases lost? So the prospect is not all or nothing, but, say, 30% against 130%?

After the Singh case today, the real goal is to get the political parties to give commitments to radical reforms in their manifestoes.

@ 14 Tom Watson

Hmmnn.. good luck with that one, whether in relation to libel law or anything else!

Given that we are now faced with major parties exhibiting no particular clue about how to get us out of the mess they all contributed to getting us into….. I’m not going to hang by the thumbs.

The failure to tackle this issue is just another item to add to the list of things New Labour could (and should) have dealt with..and didn’t.

Tom Watson’s are weasel words. The proposal to cut the mark-up to 10% was for libel cases, not all CFA cases. It was a start, though more reforms are needed. Now nothing has changed.

Wow – my first ever deletion – for pointing out that Sunny once encouraged Watson to sue Iain Dale.

Is the truth now censored?

No cjcjc – it’s called trolling. If you want to rant about ‘da truth’ – go find a troofer forum. You’re consistently off-topic and only make snidey remarks that add nothing to the debate. The comments policy is quite clear. Perhaps you should read it again.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  2. Helena Thomas

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  3. Iain Scott

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  4. Owen Blacker

    Very good piece by @tom_watson explaining why he voted against proposals for libel reform yesterday: http://bit.ly/cUwOGW (via @libcon)

  5. Tom Loosemore

    RT @billt: Read @tom_watson about #libelreform at http://bit.ly/9u4gYa – it's a strong argument, but means we need to push hard for real reform.

  6. mike john

    RT @libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9kptZi Compelling argument from @TomWatson

  7. Greg Pycroft

    thanks for the explaination! RT @tom_watson for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  8. David Stringer

    @tom_watson explains why planned libel reforms were sunk "On nearly every conceivable level, the proposals were flawed" http://bit.ly/dpcmxB

  9. Andrew Mackenzie

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa (via @tom_watson)

  10. Al Power

    RT @_stuart_brown_: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday « Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/92CMiY. From @tom_watson MP.

  11. Kathryn Corrick

    RT @owenblacker piece by @tom_watson explaining why he voted against proposals for libel reform yesterday http://bit.ly/cUwOGW (via @libcon)

  12. Jon Bounds

    RT @billt: Read @tom_watson about #libelreform at http://bit.ly/9u4gYa – it's a strong argument, but means we need to push hard for real reform.

  13. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  14. Mark

    RT @libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  15. Bill Thompson

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa [argued well]

  16. Stuart Harrison

    RT @libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  17. Jonathan Hewett

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  18. tom_watson

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  19. topsy_top20k

    Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  20. Bill Thompson

    Read @tom_watson about #libelreform at http://bit.ly/9u4gYa – it's a strong argument, but means we need to push hard for real reform.

  21. Andreas Paterson

    Good stuff from @tom_watson on his opposition to libel reform http://bit.ly/9u4gYa I'd say he gives a pretty good defense

  22. Mark Dowe

    RT @tom_watson: RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  23. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  24. Mo

    RT @tom_watson: RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  25. Peter Edwards

    Sounds fair, tomw++ RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  26. writerJames

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  27. James Firth

    Good: @tom_watson preventing Labour scoring cheap goal on #libelreform – digging in for proper reform, serious issues: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  28. Saronimo

    RT @libcon: Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP for Libcon explaining his vote yesterday on #LibelReform: http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  29. LawDent

    RT @libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  30. Gael Marks

    Long grass, ball, kick. RT @jackofkent: RT @libcon Exclusive article by @tom_watson MP -explaining vote #LibelReform http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  31. Will van Zwanenberg

    RT @libcon: Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/9u4gYa

  32. Stuart Brown

    Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday « Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/92CMiY. From @tom_watson MP.

  33. Josh Halliday

    [del.icio.us] Liberal Conspiracy » Why I opposed Libel costs reform yesterday http://bit.ly/b1XrTq

  34. Another link round-up « Cubik’s Rube

    [...] uplift, but it was blocked yesterday by a number of MPs, including Tom Watson. Mr Watson has today explained his decision to oppose this particular change, while supporting a reform of the libel laws in general. It seems [...]

  35. Dave Rutt

    RT @billt: Read @tom_watson about #libelreform at http://bit.ly/9u4gYa – it's a strong argument, but means we need to push hard for rea …

  36. Katie Atkinson

    @arusbridger
    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/03/31/why-i-opposed-libel-costs-reform-yesterday/ (by @tom_watson re:libel reform)

  37. Mo

    @glynmoody http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/03/31/why-i-opposed-libel-costs-reform-yesterday/

  38. loveandgarbage

    @mikebutcher @emilybell – He explained his reasons last night http://bit.ly/dpcmxB – It's reasonably persuasive.

  39. Ralph Ferrett

    @Tom_Watson MP on why he opposed the #libelreform changes yesterday | http://goo.gl/OhwZ | sounds reasonable to me.

  40. Andy Bold

    RT @nevali: @arusbridger you may wish to read Tom Watson’s reasoning behind voting against: http://bit.ly/dAk1xr

  41. Mike Butcher

    .@tom_watson explains libel reform delay http://bit.ly/dzb6vj > but I'm still worried

  42. frontlineclub

    Read why MP @Tom_Watson's opposes libel reform proposals http://bit.ly/dpcmxB libel event at the club on 13/4 http://bit.ly/dt9sKP #singhbca

  43. Matthew Deaves

    @jennyA215 What do you think of that then: http://tinyurl.com/yas3zet

  44. Adam Vaughan

    RT @paulcarvill @arusbridger "handful of MPs threaten libel reform" http://is.gd/b9uRC Why @tom_watson opposed http://bit.ly/dAk1xr

  45. tom_watson

    @samj @jAsmine my reasons: http://bit.ly/dzb6vj

  46. Law Review: Non-Jury tials, Tom Watson MP responds on Libel reform, Dangerous Orange Juice on the Streets of London SHOCK! « Charon QC

    [...] article Tom Watson MP wrote for Liberal Conspiracy where he explained his reasons clearly is worth reading in full . Briefly, let me make the case for [...]

  47. Liberal Conspiracy: Why Tom Watson opposed libel costs reform | Journalism.co.uk Editors' Blog

    [...] He outlines his reasons for his vote, here, on Liberal Conspiracy. [...]

  48. Roger Lancefield

    @mikebutcher Tom spelled out his reasons yesterday here: http://bit.ly/dzb6vj

  49. Mo

    @arusbridger you may wish to read Tom Watson’s reasoning behind voting against: http://bit.ly/dAk1xr

  50. alan rusbridger

    RT @nevali: @arusbridger you may wish to read Tom Watson’s reasoning behind voting against: http://bit.ly/dAk1xr

  51. tom_watson

    @mikebutcher @arusbridger http://bit.ly/dzb6vj

  52. Paul Carvill

    This'll be interesting: @arusbridger "handful of MPs threaten libel reform" http://is.gd/b9uRC Why @tom_watson opposed http://bit.ly/dAk1xr

  53. Richard Wiseman

    @tom_watson 's thoughtful reply re why he didn't back the proposed libel reform here http://tiny.cc/pmx05

  54. tom_watson

    @NickBuck You spend to much time with Marcus. http://bit.ly/dzb6vj

  55. tom_watson

    @nickcohen2 Shocking analysis in Standpoint Here's a more reasoned view: http://bit.ly/dzb6vj There'll only be one shot at reform.

  56. News: Government drop CFA Amendment Order « Inforrm's Blog

    [...] in a House of Commons Committee as a result of the votes of a number of Labour rebels. In a post on “Liberal Conspiracy” Tom Watson explained why he voted against the Draft Order.  He has, as a result, come in for a good [...]





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