Anna Turley libel trial: Union withdraws dishonesty claim

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Image caption,
Anna Turley claims she was libelled in an internet blog in 2017

A union has withdrawn a dishonesty allegation against a Labour candidate who is suing it for libel.

Anna Turley, who was Labour MP for Redcar, is suing Unite and blogger Stephen Walker.

She said a 2017 article on Mr Walker's Skwawkbox blog, which contained a press statement from Unite, gave the impression she was dishonest in her application to join the union.

Unite has now withdrawn a claim that Ms Turley lied about receiving union mail.

It said Ms Turley had wanted to vote against Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn without the union knowing she was an MP.

A judge on Friday finished hearing evidence at the High Court trial in London.

Ms Turley claims Unite misused her private information.

'Public interest'

Unite bosses and Mr Walker are fighting the case and say Ms Turley is not fit to be an MP.

They said the article was true or justified in the public interest.

Anthony Hudson QC, representing the union and Mr Walker, told the judge that he had been instructed to withdraw an allegation that Ms Turley had lied about receiving mail from the union.

She incorrectly applied to be a Unite member under a Community membership category - which is for people not in paid employment.

Mr Hudson said Ms Turley would have known this, but she has told the court she thought she was entitled to join.

Ms Turley said: "My reputation for honesty and integrity are of the utmost importance to me."

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