Phil Woolas, the former immigration minister, has lost a court case brought by his defeated Lib Dem rival which alleged that Mr. Woolas produced leaflets suggesting he supported extremists:
Shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas has vowed to fight on after his 2010 election win was declared void and he was suspended by the Labour party.
Mr Woolas faces a three-year parliamentary ban after being found guilty of deliberately making false statements about a Lib Dem rival in campaign literature…
He was accused of stirring up racial tensions in his campaign leaflets by suggesting Mr Watkins had pandered to Muslim militants, and had refused to condemn death threats Mr Woolas said he had received from such groups.
He was a very unpleasant individual whilst a minister, so it is no loss to parliament. Given his slanderous statements, which probably swung the election for him, I don’t think that there is a free speech issue here either, as Mr Woolas made baseless accusations against his opponent. It will be interesting to see what sort of precedent this sets though; it would be unfortunate to go down the route of defeated candidates taking their opponents to court to challenge them over exaggerations.
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