Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd to be sued by defeated Tory rival

The BBC reports:

Lawyers for Nigel Waterson, who was Eastbourne MP until 2010, confirmed he was to sue Stephen Lloyd for libel. The action is to centre on a leaflet produced by his Liberal Democrat successor during the 2010 general election campaign.

The Corporation notes that “Mr Waterson was cleared of any wrong-doing over his expenses claims”, so let’s remind ourselves of his expenses record:

Nigel Waterson claimed mortgage interest/rent payments and food bills at his second home in Beckenham, Kent. Also billed taxpayer £1,055 to paint house and garage

And Mr Waterson also had problems retaining the support even of local Conservatives, let alone the wider public.

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  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th Aug '10 - 9:35pm

    “The Corporation notes that “Mr Waterson was cleared of any wrong-doing over his expenses claims”, so let’s remind ourselves of his expenses record:
    Nigel Waterson claimed mortgage interest/rent payments and food bills at his second home in Beckenham, Kent. Also billed taxpayer £1,055 to paint house and garage”

    I’m baffled. Are you suggesting that he _did_ act improperly over his expenses, or what?

  • I think the implication is that while his claims were legal and within the rules there is still scope for them to be considered excessive.

  • John Richardson 7th Aug '10 - 7:20am

    £1,055 to repaint a house and its garage sounds cheap to me. I hope Waterson wins his case; it might make a few think twice before going negative in future. Meh – who am I kidding?

  • gramsci's eyes 7th Aug '10 - 9:09am

    Can I sue my local Lib-Dem party who produced a leaflet saying “only the Lib-Dems can defeat the Tories”?

  • Only the Lib Dems *did* defeat the Tories. Otherwise you’d be enjoying a Conservative minority government now.

  • coldcomfort 7th Aug '10 - 2:17pm

    Maybe the likes of John Richardson & others of similar opinions should go back & take a look at the leaflet that Labour’s Phil Woolas MP’s team produced at Saddleworth & Oldham to discover what a truly ‘dirty tricks department’ leaflet looks like. That case comes before the Courts in September. In the interests of moral purity I do hope that all those who are critical of Stephen Lloyd will also hope that the Lib Dem candidate in Saddleworth who was maligned by Woolas also wins.

  • John Richardson 7th Aug '10 - 3:25pm

    @coldcomfort – Indeed, I hope Elwyn Watkins wins his case, too. I’m a Lib Dem member so no partisan bias on this – just sick of all the negativity in politics, particularly when it gets personal.

  • Unfortunately, I chucked all my Eastbourne leaflets in the bin when I took my car in for repair, so I am unable to locate the offending words. Nigel was already deeply unpopular in Eastbourne, even among Conservatives, so there was not a great deal of need to particularise his less pleasant characteristics. Nonetheless, it was important to tell voters about his record as their MP. Nigel didn’t like it, but then the truth hurts, doesn’t it? My hunch is that Nigel’s aim is not to win, but to get Stephen to waste as much money as possible on futile correspondence, interlocutory hearings, etc. Much as Robert Maxwell did.

  • Ian Sanderson 8th Aug '10 - 6:54am

    I think the point here is that much of the expenses problem falls within the category of “within the rules” but not what many voters would regard as reasonable.
    Both Eastbourne and Beckenham are within the London commuter belt. Beckenham is hardly next door to parliament, though much closer and cheaper by taxi or train.
    Some of the voters in Eastbourne would be commuting daily to London and wondering how their MP could justify doing different.
    The sums quoted don’t seem extortionate. The message to the voter was a doubt whether the second home was needed, or if needed, was in the right place.
    I don’t think voters take kindly to being second-guessed by the courts, so the legal action is, in itself, an acceptance of defeat.

  • coldcomfort 8th Aug '10 - 2:06pm

    I do sympathise & agree with John Richardson about negativity. Unfortunately it works. George W Bush won two elections almost exclusively on the basis of permanent, & largely untruthful, rubbishing of his opponents. In the election de-brief that was given to my regional executive the point was made that in marginals that the other parties thought we might win, or could be taken from us, the attacks on LD candidates & policies were a disgrace to democracy. But it worked & it seems we just have to overcome our distaste & hit back hard & often rather than hope that the voters at large will reject such tactics.

  • I never voted Lib Dem to put Tories in. I was tricked. I will work hard to makesure you are punished in the ballot box. Your excuses and gutless whining trying to justify treachery is annoying. You will regret this sell out.

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