The Daily Mail has paid £11,000 of Kate Maltby’s legal costs as a gesture of goodwill to end a dispute with the journalist over a column in which she was described as “one very pushy lady”.
The profile piece appeared in the newspaper on 2 November last year, shortly after Maltby first made allegations that Conservative MP Damian Green had behaved inappropriately towards her.
Maltby claimed Green had “fleetingly” touched her knee during a meeting in a pub in 2015 and that he had sent her a “suggestive” text message a year later after a photo of her wearing a corset was published in a newspaper.
Her allegations sparked a Cabinet Office inquiry into Green, who rejected claims that he made sexual advances towards her as “untrue” and “deeply hurtful”. The inquiry found Maltby and her claims to be “plausible”.
The MP for Ashford was later sacked after making “misleading” statements about separate allegations that police had found pornography on computers in his parliamentary office in 2008.
Mail columnist Andrew Pierce said Maltby was “a woman determined to make it in politics – whatever the cost”. The article was also published on Mail Online, but has now been taken down after discussions between the parties.
Press Gazette understands the Mail made the payment towards Maltby’s legal costs accrued in preparation for possible libel action, but that the newspaper does not accept liability for the article.
Maltby, who has written for the Times, the Financial Times and the New Statesman, said on Twitter she was delighted to put the matter behind her.
In a statement, she said: “Like many of the women who’ve spoken this year about abuse of power, I only felt able to speak publicly about inappropriate behaviour at Westminster because I had a strong media platform and was lucky enough to be able to afford legal representation.”
Maltby said she planned to give some of the money to the Justice and Equality Fund, which was launched in February by a group of women in the entertainment industry inspired by the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.
“Working class women, women of colour and those with other intersecting disadvantages face the brunt of the most extreme harassment in the workplace,” said Maltby.
“It’s not enough for prominent white women to speak out against harassment from our relative safety – it is essential that we give tangible, financial support to women who take greater financial risks in challenging power.”
The Guardian has reported that Maltby plans to cover most of her own legal costs and will give £5,500 to the fund.
Picture: Reuters/Hannah McKay