I have today received an apology in the High Court for false and defamatory statements made about me by Ken Livingstone in his recent autobiography, You Can’t Say That. Other redress has also been agreed. Presumably to save face, Ken’s side insisted that this remain confidential.
In the book, reviewed here, Ken wrote that I was “shown the door” by my previous employer, the Evening Standard, after writing “lies” about the allocation of grants by his administration and the behaviour of his race adviser, Lee Jasper. Ken also claimed that the Standard had repudiated my stories in editorials which “said there had been no corruption or cronyism at City Hall.”
Alas, it wasn’t me who was lying. As the Standard said in its own review of the book, I wasn’t “shown the door.” I left of my own volition to join the Telegraph. No such editorials were printed. The stories won the top award in British print journalism that year and remain available on the paper’s website. Like this one, for instance, which triggered Jasper’s resignation after I revealed that he had channelled vast sums of money, for no clear purpose, to organisations run by a woman he secretly wanted to “honey glaze.” Ken has never been able to challenge a single word that I actually wrote, as opposed to the various misrepresentations of it that he has made.
I started a claim for libel and this afternoon came the inevitable end – a statement in open court by the publishers of You Can’t Say That, apologising for Ken’s lies. It’s not the first time the majesty of the law has extracted that which no mortal hand can manage. A couple of years ago, humble pie was served courtesy of the former Tower Hamlets leader, Michael Keith, who got damages for being called an “Islamophobe” by Ken.
I particularly want to thank my excellent lawyers, Korieh Duodu, David Price and Julia Varley of David Price Solicitors and Advocates, who got me precisely the result I wanted.
Being lied about by liars is an occupational hazard of my job. But anyone tempted to follow Livingstone’s example should be in no doubt that I will defend my reputation and journalism. As for Ken, he has today learned that there are indeed some things you can’t say.