Times Newspapers has apologised to Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, over false allegations published in the Sunday Times that Mr Farage used taxpayers’ money to employ his son while he was in full-time education. The article suggested that Mr Farage was a hypocrite for condemning other MEPs who exploited the EU “gravy train”. As well as apologising in open court, Times Newspapers has published an apology in the Sunday Times and has agreed to pay Mr Farage damages.

Statement in Open Court

Nigel Farage and Times Newspapers

11 June 2008

The Claimant’s Solicitor
My Lord, in this libel action I appear for Nigel Farage, the Claimant, and my friend, Gillian Phillips, appears on behalf of the Defendant. The Claimant is a member of the European Parliament for South East England and leader of the UK Independence Party. The Defendant is the publisher of The Sunday Times.

The action arises out of an article headed “Anti-Brussels MEP pays son from EU funds” which was published in The Sunday Times newspaper on 24 February 2008, and which was illustrated with a photograph of the Claimant’s son above the caption “Sam Farage: EU Employee”. The article also appeared on the Defendant’s website and the allegations in it were repeated on numerous other websites.

The article alleged that the Claimant had employed his son to work as his assistant, paying him out of taxpayers money while he was in full-time education. The article likened the situation to that of the MP, Derek Conway, who had been suspended from the House of Commons. The suggestion made was that the Claimant is a hypocrite, who condemned other MEPs for exploiting the EU “gravy train” while grossly abusing the system himself by using public funds to employ his own son.

The Defendant accepts that there is in fact no foundation to the allegation that Mr Farage used taxpayers’ money to employ his son, and therefore the comparison drawn in the article with the case of Derek Conway MP and the charge of hypocrisy was misconceived.

My Lord, the Defendant has agreed to join in the reading of this statement and has already published an apology in The Sunday Times in which it accepts that there was no foundation for the statement that Mr Farage had used taxpayer’s money to employ his son as an assistant. The Defendant has given its undertaking not to repeat the allegation and, as a mark of its regret, has agreed to pay the Claimant damages and his legal costs. In these circumstances the Claimant is satisfied that his purpose in bringing these proceedings, the vindication of his reputation, has been achieved.

The Defendant’s Solicitor
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm what has been said by my friend. The Defendant offers its apologies to Mr Farage and is pleased to set the record straight.

The Claimant’s Solicitor
My Lord, with that the Claimant is content to let the matter rest.

Andrew Stephenson
on behalf of the Claimant

Gillian Phillips
Times Newspapers
on behalf of the Defendant

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