Former Eastbourne MP loses bid for full trial in libel claim

Nigel Waterson
Image caption Nigel Waterson was the Conservative MP for Eastbourne until the 2010 general election

Former Conservative MP Nigel Waterson has lost his bid to have a full trial in his libel claim against his Liberal Democrat successor Stephen Lloyd.

High Court judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies dismissed an application for a summary judgement by Mr Waterson.

It follows comments made in a leaflet produced by Mr Lloyd during the 2010 general election, in which he ousted Mr Waterson from the Eastbourne seat.

The campaign leaflet made comments about Mr Waterson's expenses.

'Protracted litigation'

In December 2010, Mr Waterson, who was cleared of any wrongdoing over his expenses claims for a second home in outer London, brought a libel case against Mr Lloyd.

The High Court ruled the leaflet was defamatory in 2011 but Mr Lloyd was given permission to appeal against the ruling.

In February Mr Lloyd won his appeal with judges ruling the comments did not imply Mr Waterson had broken the law or expenses rules.

In a statement, Mr Waterson said he was "disappointed" the judge had refused to allow a full trial of the issues in the case "rather than dealing with matters summarily".

'Common sense'

"Only then, I believe, would the court have had the whole picture," he said.

Image caption Stephen Lloyd said Nigel Waterson appeared to have difficulty accepting the 2010 election result

"But I am very pleased and relieved that Mr Lloyd and his former agent - as the judge makes clear in her judgement - were obliged to accept in court that I broke no parliamentary rules, nor any laws, and did not behave improperly in any way which was not their initial position in this case.

"That is something to show for this very protracted litigation."

Mr Lloyd said: "I am disappointed that Mr Waterson still appears to have difficulty accepting the result from the 2010 general election and wished to continue pursuing his claim against me despite my winning in the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

"Now that his further attempt has also been defeated by the courts I hope he will accept reality and move on."

He said "common sense prevailed and the judge dismissed Mr Waterson's argument and has awarded me judgement against him".

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