10 May 2021

Judge to oversee libel fight between Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and former Corbyn aide

10 May 2021

A High Court judge is set to oversee a libel fight between television presenter Rachel Riley and a former senior aide to ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Riley, 35, who appears in the Channel 4 show Countdown, says she was libelled in a tweet posted by Laura Murray.

Ms Murray has disputed the claim.

Mr Justice Nicklin is listed to begin overseeing a trial at the High Court in London on Monday.

Detail of the dispute was outlined in a preliminary ruling published by Mr Justice Nicklin in April 2020.

Ms Murray had posted the tweet on March 3 2019, after an egg was thrown at Mr Corbyn, who was then the Labour leader, by a Brexit supporter when he was visiting Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London.

She had been responding to a tweet posted by Ms Riley, Mr Justice Nicklin was told.

Ms Riley had initially retweeted a January 2019 tweet, by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, about an attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, in which Mr Jones had said: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”

She had added “Good advice”, with emojis of a red rose and an egg.

Later, Ms Murray had tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.

“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.”

Ms Riley subsequently sued Ms Murray for damages, claiming that the tweet contained “defamatory statements of fact” about her.

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