Andrew Bridgen is suing Matt Hancock for £100,000 over a Twitter message in which the former Health Secretary accused him of spouting “anti-Semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories” about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Telegraph has the story.
Mr Bridgen, who lost the Conservative whip over comments he made about the vaccine this month, wants Mr. Hancock to pay damages to a legal fund for “people seeking collective redress for vaccine harms”.
The row centres around a Twitter message originally published by Mr. Bridgen on January 11th, comparing the effects of Covid vaccines to the Holocaust.
“As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust,” he wrote, above another Twitter message from an Israeli doctor which questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mr. Hancock condemned Mr. Bridgen’s remarks on Twitter the same day, saying “the disgusting and dangerous anti-Semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories spouted by a sitting MP this morning are unacceptable and have absolutely no place in our society”.
In the ensuing furore, Mr. Bridgen denied that the comment was “racist” or “anti-Semitic”, and said he would be “speaking to a legal team who will commence action against those who have led the call suggesting that I am”.
The disgusting and dangerous anti-semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories spouted by a sitting MP this morning are unacceptable and have absolutely no place in our society
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) January 11, 2023
Mr. Bridgen posted on Twitter on January 13th that Mr. Hancock had “still not removed his defamatory tweet falsely alleging that I am anti-Semitic. I will allow Matt three days to apologise publicly for calling me an anti-Semite and racist or he will be contacted by my legal team.”
In a letter to Mr. Hancock five days later on January 18th, as seen by the Telegraph, Mr. Bridgen’s legal team set out its claim against Mr. Hancock and the demand for damages.
It said: “By inclusion of the phrases ‘anti-Semitic’, ‘anti-vax’, ‘anti-scientific’ and ‘conspiracy theories’ the words are defamatory at common law.”
According to the seven-page “letter before action”, Mr. Bridgen wants Mr. Hancock to “retract and delete the defamatory statement contained in the tweet complained of with immediate effect”.