Countdown's Rachel Riley WINS £10,000 after High Court libel battle with Corbyn's ex-aide over 'damaging' tweet

RACHEL Riley has won her High Court libel battle with Jeremy Corbyn's ex-aide over a "damaging" tweet.

The Countdown presenter, 35, has been awarded £10,000 by a High Court judge after suing Laura Murray over the tweet posted more than two years ago.

Mr Justice Nicklin said Rachel was "entitled" to "vindication".

He had heard how both women posted tweets after Corbyn, who was then Labour leader, was hit with an egg while visiting a mosque in March 2019.

At the time, Laura was stakeholder manager in Corbyn's office when he was Labour leader, and she went on to be the party's head of complaints before going into teaching.

Rachel had posted a screenshot of a January 2019 tweet by Guardian columnist Owen Jones about an attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, which said: "I think sound life advice is, if you don't want eggs thrown at you, don't be a Nazi."

She added "Good advice", with emojis of a red rose and an egg.

Later, Laura tweeted: "Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.

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"Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi. This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever."

Rachel, who studied mathematics at Oxford University, said she was being sarcastic in her tweet, did not call Corbyn a Nazi, and told the judge that Laura's tweet caused serious harm to her reputation.

Laura argued what she tweeted was true and reflected her honestly held opinions.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled that Laura's tweet was defamatory.

He concluded the tweet meant Rachel had "publicly stated" Corbyn had been attacked when visiting a mosque and that he "deserved to be violently attacked".

He said the tweet also meant people should not "engage with her".

The judge was asked to consider whether serious harm had been caused to Rachel's reputation, and whether Laura had a defence of truth, honest opinion, or public interest.

Rachel, who is currently on maternity leave from Countdown after having a baby in November, told the judge she was Jewish and had a "hatred of anti-Semitism".

She said she spoke out against anti-Semitism and thought the Corbyn-led Labour Party was "fostering anti-Semitism".

Laura told the judge her job had involved her working with the Jewish community to "try to find solutions to the problem of anti-Semitism which was becoming evident within parts of the Labour Party membership".

Mr Justice Nicklin concluded that Rachel had demonstrated that Laura's tweet had caused serious harm to her reputation.

He found both women had been truthful in the evidence they gave and had done their best to "assist the court".

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