Rachel Riley wins libel case as Jeremy Corbyn's former aide loses appeal after Twitter row

Rachel Riley, 36, who appears on the Channel 4 show Countdown, won a claim against Laura Murray, who use to work for the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. His former aide has lost an appeal against a High Court libel ruling which ordered her to pay £10,000 damages to the television presenter after a Twitter row.

The row started when Corbyn, as Labour leader, was hit with an egg during a visit to a mosque in March 2019.

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

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

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

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He found that Ms Riley had demonstrated that Ms Murray’s tweet had caused serious harm to her reputation, and also said both women had been truthful in the evidence they gave and had done their best to “assist the court”.

Mr Justice Nicklin said there was an “element of provocation” in Ms Riley’s “good advice” tweet.

“Although posting the good advice tweet could not be described as ‘bad conduct’ of the claimant, it properly falls to be characterised as provocative, even mischievous,” he said in a written ruling.

“It was calculated to provoke a reaction and it did.”

Ms Riley, who studied mathematics at Oxford University and is on maternity leave from Countdown after giving birth in November, had told the judge she is Jewish and has a “hatred of antisemitism”.

Ms Murray was stakeholder manager in Mr Corbyn’s office when he was Labour leader, and went on to be the party’s head of complaints, before going into teaching.

She argued that what she tweeted was true and reflected her honestly held opinions.

Mr Justice Nicklin ruled at an earlier hearing that Ms Murray’s tweet was defamatory.

The judge, sitting with Lords Justice Dingemans and Arnold, also rejected Ms Murray’s other grounds of appeal.

Rachel took to Twitter today and addressed the case, writing: “Pleased that all three judges found in my favour that I was libelled by Laura Murray, the original judgment has been upheld and her appeal rejected.

“Big thanks to my legal team William, Godwin and @MLewisLawyer. Happy to draw a line under this now and move on to happier times.”

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