UKIP NI got Assembly to pay libel bill…

Oh dear, David… 

January, the Assembly refused a Freedom of Information request from this newspaper which sought to reveal details of the MLA who had used the controversial policy, saying that details of the case were “clearly expected to remain confidential”.

But the News Letter has now established that it was Mr McNarry – Ukip’s leader in Northern Ireland – who used the Assembly insurance to foot a significant bill after he admitted defaming a journalist.

  • SDLP supporter

    Explains a lot. Good story by the Newsletter. Was a minor mystery why McNarry stood down in Strangford, though at one stage he was blustering about shifting to West Belfast. As a self-appointed scourge of big government and ‘wasting taxpayers’ money’ he couldn’t have risked this story coming out. Is McNarry going to pay the taxpayer back? Nah, didn’t think so. Slightly disappointed that the late LC agreed a confidentiality clause.

  • chrisjones2

    Why do we pay the bill for these buffoons when there is clear personal misconduct or negligence?

  • Chingford Man

    I think it is bizarre that any public money is available to cover defamation costs of MLAs, or that any public representative would dare to claim it.

    I am just a bit surprised that calling journalists in the words he used could be defamatory.

  • SDLP supporter

    Well, he’s in your party, mate. Tell him to his face.

  • Chingford Man

    I would be prepared to do so, but it’s a bit hard when I’m living in Essex.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well I guess He and Phil Flanagan can share stories now.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Maybe you should show some ironic respect for the one former MLA who ensured the taxpayer didn’t have to pay his bill.

  • AMORR86

    Point of information. McNarry did not ‘get Assembly to pay libel bill’ as claimed. He used the insurance cover as all MLAs have to cover the libel bill. There is a significant difference.

  • Skibo

    What was the difference in Flanagan and McNarry? was it not deformation of character also?

  • Brendan Heading

    Point of information. McNarry did not ‘get Assembly to pay libel bill’ as claimed. He used the insurance cover as all MLAs have to cover the libel bill. There is a significant difference.

    Your point of information is incorrect.

    The libel bill was covered by the Assembly’s insurance policy. We do not know what the total claim was. The excess of £25,000 was paid by the Assembly – ie you and me.

    It is a matter of grave public concern that the Assembly paid out the excess and then went to great efforts to disguise this fact.

  • Brendan Heading

    Clarke probably agreed it because he secured a withdrawal from McNarry and it avoided dealing with libel proceedings (especially as he was sick at the time – I think it was public by this point ?).

    I have a funny feeling it was the Assembly that required the secrecy and not McNarry. Which is extremely controversial, as the Assembly has acted to disguise from the public an unconventional use of a very large amount of public money.

  • Glenn

    Obviously McNary’s claim fell within the criteria of the insurance policy, and Flanagan’s didn’t. Now let’s have the conspiracy theories begin.

  • SDLP supporter

    That’s probably the reason, Brendan. In my limited contact with him, Liam Clarke came over as an honourable person.
    I agree with you about the need for transparency. AFAIK the policy is now cancelled. No wonder, there appeared to be a number of hefty claims.

  • chrisjones2

    ,,and what happens to the premium next year

  • chrisjones2

    …the Judge didnt – thats the difference

  • chrisjones2

    ….who was that?

  • chrisjones2

    …….. well the Judge decided that Flanagan’s claim MIGHT have been covered but his behaviour in handling the claim was such that he then broke the terms of the policy allowing the insureres to void it and deny liability

  • Jollyraj

    Surprised Flanagan didn’t demand to pay only the average industrial damages for libel

  • aquifer

    Our politicians big mouths are uninsurable, so no more premiums.

    & Consult their register of interests to see if they are worth suing before engaging clever and expensive legal counsel.

  • Brendan Heading

    Accusations of bias of this kind are the most serious that can be made against any journalist and he had no choice but to call in the lawyers to protect his reputation.

    Yes, I think the insurers determined that we’ve got far too many politicians playing fast and loose with libel laws that it’s essentially an uninsurable risk.