SCRIVEN'S 'COMPLAINT' – JUDGE FOR YOURSELF
Lymington Times – 6 June 2009
Sir, Hopefully among the many changes to the parliamentary system will be the removal of the privilege of MPs to make defamatory speeches about their political opponents in the House.
I have been the subject of two such attacks, the latest for 25 minutes on April 28th 2009. The defamatory speeches were televised nationally and are now a permanent public record in Hansard and a scandalous abuse by Julian Lewis of his position as an MP.
What makes this all the more disgraceful is he is the MP who fought to exempt MPs’ addresses from the Freedom of Information Act.
Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate
New Forest East
The following response appeared in the same edition of the newspaper:
Dr Lewis replies:
The speech referred to by Mr Scriven can be examined on my website, www.julianlewis.net, in a section called "Terry Scriven’s Antics – The Full Story". The website also contains all the factual material about his activities which led me to criticise him in Parliament.
These have included:
- Publicly claiming to support my campaign to protect MPs’ home addresses, whilst privately working with the journalist [Ben Leapman] campaigning to reveal them;
- Demanding that I be criminally investigated by Hampshire Police for the way I registered to vote, even though this had been approved by the Electoral Registration Officer – This attempt was condemned by the Chief Constable of Hampshire as being “a total waste of effort and not in the public interest” (Lymington Times, 16 August 2008);
- Writing to the heads of MI5 and MI6, behind my back, demanding to know if I have ever worked for these secret agencies; and
- Initiating a story in the News of the World which falsely claimed that I “hardly visit” my home in the constituency, when I have lived there continuously for over a decade.
As I explained in Parliament, I and my solicitor have repeatedly invited Mr Scriven to explain and justify his actions against me and other people, and to point out any errors of fact in what I have said about him. However, he refuses to answer any questions – except by claiming that I am trying to "intimidate" him by asking them.
My speech also pointed out – entirely accurately – that in 1999 he resigned after just six months of a four-year term on Hyde Parish Council; in 2005 he resigned after attending just two meetings of the Vocational Training Charitable Trust; and in 2006 he resigned, yet again, after just three months on the Planning Committee of Ringwood Town Council. In each case, these resignations followed major rows with his colleagues. Evidently, I am not the only person to find Mr Scriven’s behaviour unacceptable.
Julian Lewis MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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26 June 2009: MESSRS. GISBY HARRISON (SOLICITORS) TO TERRY SCRIVEN
Our Client: Dr Julian Lewis MP
We refer to our previous correspondence with you.
As notified, Dr Lewis publicly exposed your conduct towards him in a speech to the House of Commons on 28 April 2009. We enclose a transcript of the speech.
We are aware that, on 6 June 2009, the Lymington Times newspaper published a letter from you complaining that the speech was defamatory of you and a “scandalous abuse” of our client’s position as a Member of Parliament. In a rejoinder published in the newspaper directly underneath your letter, our client related the facts about your conduct upon which the speech was based.
We note that you have apparently not sought to challenge these facts. Presumably the reason why you did not do so is because you know that what our client said is true.
It is implicit in our complaint that you contend that Dr Lewis made factual statements about you which are untrue or incorrect. He believes that the facts stated about you are entirely accurate. As he has pointed out on several occasions, he has no wish to say anything about you which is not true.
Dr Lewis did, of course, provide numerous opportunities for you to account for your conduct or to correct the record before the speech. You declined to do so on every occasion.
Now that you have written to the newspaper complaining about the speech, we think that it is incumbent upon you to provide full particulars of any statements of fact in the speech which you claim are untrue and to state unequivocally in what respect you claim that they are untrue.
Would you acknowledge receipt of this letter and provide a substantive response by 10 July 2009 if there are any inaccuracies which you would not wish Dr Lewis to repeat in future?
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[NOTE: THE ABOVE LETTER WAS SENT BY RECORDED DELIVERY ON 26 JUNE AND SIGNED FOR BY SCRIVEN WHEN DELIVERED THE FOLLOWING DAY. HE DID NOT REPLY.]
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[NOTE: FOR THE FULL SCRIVEN ARCHIVE, CLICK HERE, FOR THE PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION'S CONDEMNATION OF SCRIVEN'S FALSE STORY IN THE 'NEWS OF THE WORLD', CLICK HERE, AND FOR SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENTS INVOLVING LEAPMAN, CLICK HERE AND HERE.]