Andrew Bridgen MP Accused of Dishonesty by Judge

Also alleged to have pressured police to investigate brother

An extraordinary report about Andrew Bridgen MP in The Sunday Times:

A Conservative MP lied under oath, behaved in an abusive, arrogant and aggressive way, and was so dishonest that his claims about a multimillion-pound family dispute could not be taken at face value, a high court judge has ruled.

The dispute concerned the Bridgen family’s potato empire AB Produce:

… In court [Andrew Bridgen] argued he had been forced out by Paul, 55, his brother, a claim the judge described as a lie. In fact, the judge ruled, he had quit because he thought it might reduce the amount he owed his first wife, Jackie, 57, in divorce proceedings.

…During the case Peter Ellis, a director of AB Produce, claimed that in January 2017 Bridgen sent texts that were so aggressive they brought him to the brink of a “nervous breakdown”.

…In October 2017 Bridgen called Inspector Helena Bhakta, the commander of the neighbourhood policing team for his constituency, whose force he is supposed to scrutinise. He asked her to investigate an alleged seven-figure fraud against him by his brother. Bridgen claimed he had not made the call as “it would not have been proper”. He said he had contacted the fraud squad.

However, on October 16, 2017, Bhakta wrote: “As NPT commander I have regular contact with Andrew Bridgen over constituent matters. Today he asked that I call him. On doing so he informed me that he suspects his brother is committing fraud.”

This sort of thing might once have been grounds for resignation, although in today’s political culture, as Matthew Scott observes, the judge’s findings are “probably the beginning of Andrew Bridgen’s leadership bid”. It appears that the judge has in effect accused Bridgen of perjury, although that particular word is not used and any criminal investigation would have to make a case that is stronger than mere balance of probabilties; Bridgen continues to assert that his account has been truthful so far as he recollects. The Sunday Times describes Bridgen as having “pressured” Bhakta, and states that this pressue prompted “a costly inquiry lasting more than a year”.

Bridgen has issued a statement on Twitter in which he says he is “exploring all avenues with regard to legal options”, and argues that

if courts got everything correct the first time then there would be no need for appeal mechanisms nor would I have had to campaign for 12 years to get justice for the 736 innocent sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted.

This is a rather more circumspect approach to issues of law and justice than we have seen from Bridgen in the past, when he was at the forefront of promoting Wiltshire Police’s posthumous investigation into former Prime Minister Edward Heath. Bizarrely, Wiltshire’s Chief Constable Mike Veale designated Bridgen a “stakeholder”, meaning that he got advance access to the force’s final report, and it seems reasonable to infer that Bridgen was the conduit by which details of the investigation were leaked to the Mail on Sunday‘s political correspondent Simon Walters. More recently, Bridgen arranged for Veale to become adviser to Rupert Matthews, a UFO enthusiast who is currently Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland – a controversial “well paid” appointment. Bridgen’s informal influence here post-dates his dispute with his brother, but given this earlier context it is troubling. (1)

Bridgen is known primarily due to his willingness to provide the media with a stream of quotes relating to any subject that might be considered newsworthy – a strategy that allows a politican to raise their profile while also avoiding more serious scrutiny.


1. Bridgen also has links with the conspiracy milieu: in 2021 he was criticised after giving an interview to Anna Brees, and her former associate Jon Wedger previously claimed in 2018 that Bridgen had “made contact” with him. There is also a photo of Wedger and fellow Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy fanatic Jeanette Archer sitting at an outside café table with an unidentified man whose appearance from the rear is consistent with Bridgen.

A Late Note on Ben Wallace and “Mobile Crematoriums”

From Snopes, in February:

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February 2022, disturbing accounts of a crematorium on wheels circulated through various news publications and in statements by a U.K. government official.

According to U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, the Russian military may use mobile crematoriums in Ukraine to cover up any casualties from combat.

…According to The Telegraph, the U.K. Ministry of Defense released a video of the crematoriums.

We found the video with the exact same footage posted on YouTube in 2015, which provides the contact information of Tourmaline, a St. Petersburg company allegedly behind such machines… The original video appears to be from August 2013.

It bugged me at the time that the Telegraph would describe an old YouTube video as “footage released by the MoD”. My interpretation is that Wallace wanted a media talking point, and so someone in his office decided to dust off an old claim that had circulated in 2015 after the invasion of Donbas.

No firm evidence was ever produced back then, and it looks to me that confusion either arose or was contrived due to an overlap in meaning between крематоры and Инсинератор. Many people understand a “crematorium” to mean a place where an entire human body is destroyed, whereas dead animals and organic hospital waste are sent to an “incinerator”. More formally, however, a “crematorium” is a device for destroying any biological matter. It appears that the mobile crematoria are designed for use on farms, and that the idea of them being used to destroy human remains was simply a speculative extrapolation.

Snopes rated the claim as “unproven”, and it hasn’t felt the need to revise its assessment since then. However, the story is now being revived on social media in the wake of the discovery of Russian atrocities in Ukraine. This time, though, the supposed purpose of the crematoria is not to conceal Russian deaths in a way utterly inconsistent with Russian Orthodox and Muslim practice (cremation is strictly forbidden), but rather to dispose of murdered Ukrainians. However, neither speculation makes much sense: it is well known that the Russians have suffered heavy casualties, and there is no evidence that Russian soldiers have made any effort to conceal their crimes (indeed, it’s possible that civilian bodies have been left on display deliberately, as a form of psychological terrorism). Further, no mobile crematorium has so far been spotted in any of the many videos or pictures showing Russian equipment.

Wallace’s decision to recycle an old YouTube video in such a misleading way is self-promoting buffoonery that we could well do without. I’m reminded of the way that the former MP Patrick Mercer used to get himself in the newspapers on a regular basis with talking points about the Taliban using HIV needle bombs and Islamic terrorists deploying explosive breast implants.