Andrew Bridgen Sends Legal Letter to Matt Hancock – Report Claims Action is Funded by Reclaim and Bad Law Project

From Christopher Hope at the Telegraph:

Andrew Bridgen is suing Matt Hancock for £100,000 over a Twitter message in which the former health secretary accused him of spouting “anti-Semitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories” about the Covid-19 vaccine.

…In a letter to Mr Hancock five days later on Jan 18, as seen by The Telegraph, Mr Bridgen’s legal team… said: “By inclusion of the phrases ‘anti-semitic’, ‘anti-vax’, ‘anti-scientific’ and ‘conspiracy theories’ the words are defamatory at common law.”

…Mr Bridgen’s legal action is being funded by the Reclaim Party and the ‘Bad Law Project’.

Laurence Fox, the leader of Reclaim, said: “The Reclaim Party and the Bad Law Project is providing its full support to Mr Bridgen and we want a full apology from Mr Hancock.

The letter is “as seen by the Telegraph” because Hope has long been a friendly media channel both for Fox and for the crank fringes of the Tory right – and we must wonder why the name of the “legal team” is not provided.

The “Bad Law Project” was set up last year as a vehicle for Fox and various associates (including Sarah Phillimore) “to challenge and depoliticise our democratic foundational institutions”. It defines “bad law” as “discrimination disguised as equality and human rights”, citing as examples “the shameful arrest of army veteran Mr [Darren] Brady” and “how wokery hounded Amy Gallagher, a nurse and psychotherapist, out of the #NHS”. An early cause was that of Fox’s friend Calvin Robinson, who was denied ordination into the Church of England (1). It is not immediately clear how such cases are comparable to Andrew Bridgen’s libel claim, although I expect the line of thought is that Bridgen has been “cancelled” by Hancock’s Tweet. Fox is also highly sympathetic to Bridgen’s Covid vaccination alarmism, seeing easy political capital in fear and resentment.

Bridgen famously stated on Twitter in reference to Covid vaccination that “As one consultant cardiologist said to me this is the biggest crime against humanity since the holocaust”. Hancock’s opinion is that this statement is anti-semitic, presumably because it trivialises the actual Holocaust. However, he did not allege that Bridgen is himself anti-semitic, and this seems to me to be a substantive distinction that Bridgen will struggle to overcome in court (2).

The same also applies to the other elements of Hancock’s Tweet (or “Twitter message”, to use the Telegraph‘s stuffy style) – besides which, there is a strong argument that the other epithets complained of can indeed apply to Bridgen personally as well as to his statement. For instance, Bridgen claims that members of security services in various countries were warned about a coming pandmenic in 2019, and were told not to take the vaccine or even to be tested for infection. This this an anti-vax conspiracy theory by definiton, and it is notable that Bridgen is not apparently suing The Times for framing his views as conspiricist.

We must wonder whether Bridgen will now join Fox’s political party and start to refer to himself as Reclaim Party MP. He no longer holds the Conservative Party whip, and he has persuaded activists that his recent suspension from Parliament was due to his views on Covid vaccination, rather than the finding that he had engaged in paid lobbying (3).


1. Robinson later received ordination from a breakaway Anglican group, and he now usually wears a cassock when presenting his show on GB News or making appearances on right-wing American shows. His media activities have recently expanded to working for Ezra Levant’s Rebel News.

2. In a video statement, Bridgen has said “the Israeli doctor I quoted in my tweet has stated that there was noting anti-Semitic about the statement”. Given that his Tweet began with “As one consultant cardiologist said to me”, it was reasonable to suppose that this is what he meant by “quoted”. However, in an argument with Iain Dale, he has now clarified that he was referring to an Israeli academic named Josh Guetzkow, whose work he had linked to in his Tweet. Most people would have understood “Israeli doctor” to refer to a medical professional rather than a social science academic, and one wonders why Bridgen wasn’t clearer. However, the effect was misdirection away from the actual “consultant cardiologist” he was referring to – almost certainly Aseem Malhotra.

3. Richard Tice, who leads the slightly more respectable fringe-right Reform UK party, recently told Andrew Marr that he does not want Bridgen, saying that he had “got it wrong with regard to his approach to vaccines”. Tice’s relative moderation is perhaps surprising, given his recent willingness to be seen dining in public in Soho with Maajid Nawaz. Tice’s partner is Isabel Oakeshott, who recently ghost-wrote Hancock’s self-regarding pandemic memoir.

4 Responses

  1. Richard Tice leads the Reclaim Party?

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