Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the prominent Tory peer and former Chair of the Conservative Party, has secured a front-page apology, as well as substantial libel damages (which she will be paying to charity) and legal costs, from Jewish News and Jewish News Online.
Baroness Warsi’s complaint related to an article written by outspoken former army officer Colonel Richard Kemp which sought to suggest that Baroness Warsi had sought to excuse the appalling conduct of the Islamic State terror group, and that she had objected to action being taken against British Muslims who murder and rape for Islamic State.
As Jewish News has now accepted, these allegations were wholly untrue and should never have been published. Baroness Warsi is utterly appalled by the actions of ISIS and all terror groups (indeed, she is widely reported to be on an ISIS death list herself) and has never said anything to remotely suggest otherwise. She also believes that ISIS fighters returning to the UK should face the full force of British law.
As well as publishing a front page apology, Jewish News has also agreed to pay Baroness Warsi £20,000 by way of damages (which she will be donating to The Savayra Foundation UK, a women’s empowerment charity, Nisa Nisham, a Jewish and Muslim Women’s network, Wakefield Hospice and others) as well as legal costs.
Commenting on the outcome, Baroness Warsi said:
“The article was untrue and offensive. Predictably, it was widely shared online and on social media and caused a divisive debate, and as a consequence I was subjected to much abuse over a period of 7 months. I am a passionate supporter of interfaith relations, and unfounded allegations such as the ones published by Colonel Kemp and Jewish News serve only to reinforce and inflame the divisions between communities.
I indicated at the outset that an early apology and retraction could have brought this matter to an end; however, the contempt with which Jewish News dealt with the matter for the first 6 months forced my hand. I am pleased that they have now apologised and accepted that Colonel’s Kemp’s article was utterly false and should never have been published. By contrast, as perhaps befits an individual who appears to wantonly publish inflammatory and offensive comments without a thought for the consequences (let alone the truth), Kemp himself has been too cowardly even to respond to my solicitors’ correspondence. I’m delighted that the damages which Jewish News have agreed to pay will be put to such good causes, including for women in both the Muslim and Jewish communities, so something good can emerge from this sorry episode.
Further enquiries should be directed to Adam Tudor or Helena Shipman at Carter-Ruck ([email protected] or [email protected])