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I should begin this blog with a confession.  On Sunday I had a certain song playing on loop on Spotify for about five hours.  It did eventually drive my wife and children to the point of despair but I like to think that I did my own little bit in getting that song up the charts.

Patrick McGuire, accident lawyerIt is a song by Captain Ska and it has received a lot of attention in the media over the last few days.  It is a song that carries audio clips of our esteemed Prime Minister and points out that she has been less than candid on many occasions throughout her political career and particularly so during her, I have to say that I hope very short, tenancy at No. 10 Downing Street.
After about the third hour of hearing the song my 13 year old, Riley, asked “will she no sue for liable Dad?”.  Ignoring the fact that for about the last year now he has taken it upon himself to remove the letter “t” from the word “not” and the fact that liable relates to written statements I said “of course not.  It is true!”.
That’s the beauty I explained, of the law of defamation.
The textbook definition of defamation states “defamation in its widest sense covers all imputations which are injurious”.  It is for the court to decide if the words used are defamatory or not but there is a long line of cases that confirm imputations against an individual’s moral character are defamatory as are allegations of dishonesty.  So on one hand, you may think Captain Ska should be worried.  The law is however on their side.  You see, there are also well established defences.  

There is firstly the defence of veritas or truth.  Need I really say anymore?
There is also the defence of “fair comment”.  This is a defence that entitles anyone to comment on matters of public interest including the policy and administration of Government and the conduct of public office holders.  If ever there was a time when it was entirely fair to comment upon the record of the honesty of Theresa May it is now.  She is seeking to be put back into No. 10 Downing Street on bold promises about how she will conduct the Brexit negotiations and the outcome that she says she will achieve from those negotiations.  Can we trust her in these matters?  I would strongly suggest that the answer to that question is no.
As a trade union lawyer I am also very conscious of her promises about improvements that she will deliver in relation to workers’ rights if she is re-elected.  She promises a rise in the minimum wage and guaranteeing all current workers’ rights after we leave the European Union.  She also promises extending the rights of workers employed within the gig economy.  If it wasn’t serious this would be laughable.  After almost a decade of relentless legislative attacks workers’ rights are the lowest that they have ever been in the UK for more than 100 years.  Current levels of workers’ rights do not need to be maintained or guaranteed.  They need to be significantly improved.  And as for our workers enslaved within the gig economy – it was the Tories who allowed that part of the economy to flourish and abuse our workers in the first place.
Nothing that the U-turn Queen says can be trusted and that is especially in relation to workers’ rights.
There are lots of reasons why I hope that the direction of travel in the recent polls are correct and that Theresa’s May biggest fib (that there will not be a general election before the Brexit negotiations) comes back to bite her and end her party’s reign of terror.  

For me it is most importantly for workers’ rights that I hope that enough of the electorate see her and her party for what they are; and realise that there is a better way and No. 10 Downing Street has a new resident on 9th June.

Blog by Patrick McGuire, Partner

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