Rachel Riley has been awarded £50,000 in damages after winning a libel claim against a political blogger over an article claiming she was a “serial abuser”.
Ms Riley, who appears on the Channel 4 show Countdown, sued Mike Sivier after he published an article on his website Vox Political in January 2019 with the headline “Serial abuser Rachel Riley to receive ‘extra protection’ – on grounds that she is receiving abuse”.
The article discussed tweets posted as part of an online debate on antisemitism in the Labour Party, some of which were exchanged between Ms Riley and a user who identified herself then as a 16-year-old called Rose in December 2018 and January 2019.
A judge previously found that Mr Sivier’s article would be read as claiming Ms Riley “engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl”, allegations denied by Ms Riley.
Mr Sivier defended the libel claim by arguing he had a “reasonable belief” it was in the public interest to publish the claims in the article.
However, in a judgment on Wednesday, Mrs Justice Steyn ruled in favour of Ms Riley, granting her the five-figure sum in damages as well as an injunction requiring Mr Sivier to remove the article and not repeat it.