October 11, 2018
Joint statement in Brown v Bower
Parties issue press statement in libel proceedings brought by Nick Brown MP against Tom Bower and Faber and Faber
A joint press statement has been issued by the parties in Nick Brown MP v Tom Bower and Faber & Faber, set out below.
The case has been the subject of two previous decisions by Media and Communications List Judges: those of Warby J refusing to order a preliminary issue on serious harm, and of Nicklin J ruling on meaning.
“The Right Honourable Nicholas Brown MP v Tom Bower and Faber and Faber
Joint Press Statement
Mr Brown brought libel proceedings against Mr Bower and Faber and Faber concerning a reference to him in Mr Bower’s book about Mr Blair’s decade as Prime Minister, Broken Vows, which suggested that in 1998 the News of the World had accused Mr Brown of having paid rent boys for consensual rough sex.
Mr Bower included the reference only to explain how Mr Brown came publicly to admit he was gay in the News of the World, which prompted some notable press reaction at the time.
Mr Bower defends his original report on public interest grounds, relying on earlier published accounts by senior Labour politicians and advisers. Mr Brown challenges the availability of that defence on the ground that the book did not make clear that the News of the World did not in fact publish the “rent boy” allegations, which were untrue. Nor did the book record the fact that Mr Brown strongly denied the allegations.
Against this background, the parties are pleased to confirm that they have now resolved their differences in order to bring this litigation to an end.
Mr Brown accepts that Mr Bower and Faber and Faber published the offending passage in good faith as part of a chronological political narrative and that they did not seek to adopt the allegations, which they accept were untrue. Mr Bower and Faber and Faber regret any distress or embarrassment that the publication may have caused to Mr Brown, which was never intended. Once he was aware of Mr Brown’s concerns, Mr Bower agreed to change the reference to him in subsequent editions of the book.”