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Libel laws to be reformed

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Libel laws to be reformed

Post by Tony Bennett on 24.03.10 16:10

NEWS (24 March) today from the Campaign for Libel Reform ( LibelReform.Org ):

Dear friends,

Thank you to everyone who came to Parliament today.

You can see some photos of the mass lobby here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35803015@N03/4458139660/in/set-72157623554896079/

It has been a very exciting day for the campaign, and a big step towards reform of our libel laws.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw MP, Henry Bellingham MP, the Conservative Shadow Justice Minister and David Howarth MP, the Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson all came to our meeting in Parliament – because they know our campaign is important.

Jack Straw told us the Government was now considering serious reform of our libel laws and thanked our campaign for pushing it forward. You can read Jack Straw's libel reform proposals in the Guardian here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/mar/23/jack-straw-libel-reform

and the campaign’s response to his proposals here:

http://tinyurl.com/ygr5s95.

Although we don’t yet have consideration of all our recommendations, the key result was that Labour has named some reforms they are going to consider and, crucially, pledged to draft laws early in the next Parliament, if they win.

David Howarth reminded us that the Party Conference back in September, and Nick Clegg in January, had committed the Liberal Democrats to significant reform. He welcomed what the Government had said and said the Lib Dems also wanted a ban on corporations and associations suing for libel.

Then, Henry Bellingham, the Conservative Shadow Justice Minister, said that if they formed the next Government they would give the issue a great deal of priority with a draft Bill by the end of the year. He indicated that the Law Commission would be asked to report urgently on necessary. The commitment to legislation from Bellingham is a major milestone.

The speakers who included Dr Simon Singh, John Whitingdale MP, Naomi McAuliffe (Amnesty International) as well as the Chairs of the meeting, Dr. Evan Harris MP and Peter Bottomley MP stressed the need for us to keep campaigning and making the case for reform everywhere we can. We really need your help with this, so please keep writing, blogging and talking about libel reform everywhere and anywhere you can.

After the speakers our mass lobby, which was joined by AC Grayling and Dave Gorman, formally began where scores of our supporters sought out their MPs to bend their ears about libel law reform.

Keep an eye out for more coverage of Jack Straw's announcement tomorrow.

Thank you again for your support over the last few months, we need to keep the momentum going.

Best wishes,

Mike and Sile

PS – please tell all your friends to sign up, we’re just short of 50,000 signatures:

www.libelreform.org/sign

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