Sunday Times wins libel claim

Newspaper’s defences upheld in former MP’s action

Former Conservative MP Tim Yeo has lost his libel claim against the Sunday Times. The action was brought in relation to articles published after an undercover investigation by the Sunday Times Insight Team.

The journalists, posing as representatives for a solar technology developer in the Far East had arranged a lunch meeting with Mr Yeo to discuss an opportunity to provide paid consultancy work. The lunch was covertly filmed.

The subsequent articles contained a defamatory allegation of fact that Mr Yeo was prepared to and had offered to act in breach of the MPs’ Code of Conduct by acting as a paid Parliamentary advocate who would push for new laws to benefit the business of a client and approach Ministers, civil servants and MPs to promote a client’s private agenda for cash. The articles also contained an expression of opinion that Mr Yeo had acted scandalously and shown willing to abuse his position as an MP.

In his judgment handed down on 25 November 2015 Mr Justice Warby held that Times Newspapers Ltd’s Reynolds, justification and honest comment defences succeeded.

5RB’s Desmond Browne QC and Victoria Jolliffe acted for Mr Yeo.

The judgment can be found below: