It won't take much of a swing for the Conservatives to capture Wirral West at the next election. It used to be the seat of David Hunt and it was perhaps surprising that it stayed Labour at the last 2 elections. The Tories have as their candidate, media giant and former Madeleine Esther McVey. So what's she been doing recently? Well, utilising her knowledge of law against barrister and sitting MP Stephen Hesford and taking Daily Mail stories as gospel. The Daily Post is on the case.
Wirral Tory to pay MP £6,500 damages and costs over cricket ‘junket’ slur
Jan 22 2008 by Liam Murphy, Liverpool Daily Post
WIRRAL West Tory candidate Esther McVey has agreed to pay her Labour rival £6,500 in damages and costs after a year-long libel case by him.
Mr Hesford sued Ms McVey after she wrote on her blog that the MP was planning to take part in what was described as a cricket “junket” to Australia and New Zealand.
He said he believed the case would make “people start to wonder” about his opponent.
The legal battle over the cricket tour has rumbled on for more than a year since Ms McVey first posted the offending article on her political blog.
But before the case was heard by the High Court in Chester yesterday, the two opponents agreed the settlement.
Ms McVey has agreed to pay £1,000 in damages and £5,500 in legal costs.
She must also display an apology on her blog www.esther 2009wordpress.com for seven days.
The apology says she accepts Mr Hesford was “never intending to participate in the entirety of the tour” and had decided to withdraw from it before she wrote her blog entry about it.
It continues: “My reference to him attending the full tour was therefore inaccurate. I therefore regret any distress caused to Mr Hesford and his family by the article.”
The agreement also makes clear Ms McVey should not repeat any of the allegations referred to in the blog.
Mr Hesford said: “The last year has been a real strain on myself and my family because of this case.
“I think that people will start to wonder about my Tory opponent. Not only was she willing to publish false material, she was unwilling to make proper amends until forced to do so. I am very relieved that it is over.
“The one good thing to come out of this is that I will donate the £1,000 damage to St John’s Hospice, one of our most important local charities.”
Mr Hesford defends the slimmest majority of all constituencies in Wirral, holding his Wirral West seat against a major onslaught by Ms McVey at the last election by 1,097 votes.
Ms McVey said: “There was no court hearing and there was no court victory, instead a settlement was reached last Friday afternoon by way of a consent order. I decided to settle this case the most practical and pragmatic way I could.
“There are far more important issues to be dealing with rather than scrapping with the sitting Labour MP over what was essentially a technical, and some might consider in relation to all the issues affecting us at the moment, a trivial matter, and, after a year the only people winning were the lawyers.”
The apology on the McVey blog. It may shortly disappear from there so click on the screenshot for a clearer view.