MoJ to investigate libel laws

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will investigate Britain’s highly controversial libel laws in the new year, an official has confirmed.

The admission came during an adjournment debate in the Commons yesterday, when several MPs voiced outrage at the UK’s new image as a ‘libel pushover’.

Celebrities and businessmen have long travelled to Britain to take advantage if its lenient libel laws, where the burden of proof is on the defendant rather than the claimant.

Bridget Prentice, parliamentary under-secretary at the MoJ, ended yesterday’s debate by promising to consider reform of the civil law, produce a consultation paper on defamation and the internet and to seek views on criminal defamation.

Labour MP Denis McShane, who initiated yesterday’s debate, called ‘libel tourism’ to the UK “an international scandal which shames Britain”.

He was supported by shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove, who has a strong media presence.