Labour MPs sue their local paper for libel

By Sarah Limbrick

Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen are suing their local paper for libel damages over two letters which they say were defamatory.

The Labour MPs are suing Newsquest, publishers of the Brentford
Chiswick and Isleworth Times, over two letters which appeared in
September last year.

Ann Keen represents the Brentford and
Isleworth constituency and her husband Alan Keen the Feltham and Heston
constituency.According to a High Court writ, the first letter suggested
the MPs had bullied local councillors, and threatened them with
expulsion from the council to ensure that they did what the MPs wanted.

The
Keens also say that the letter sent in 2002 accused them of improperly
barring Cranford councillors from standing for election, supporting
their favoured councillors in their corrupt activities, and of
corruptly subverting local democracy.

They are also suing over a
second letter, which they say implied Mrs Keen had failed, for
three-and-a-half years, to take action to help three families who had
asked her for help in their complaints about abuse and maltreatment of
their elderly parents in residential homes.

Ann and Alan Keen are
seeking aggravated damages, saying that the paper did not investigate
the allegations before publishing them.

They also say that that
the Brentford Chiswick and Isleworth Times has not made any substantive
response to the complaints which they made.

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