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Owen Jones preparing to sue anti-Brexit lawyer over “anti-Jewish terrorism” accusation

The Guardian journalist and prominent Labour activist, Owen Jones, is preparing to sue a high profile anti-Brexit lawyer who accused him of suggesting it was “fine to celebrate anti-Jewish terrorism“.

The row began when Jones dismissed claims that ‘Russian Twitter bots’ had influenced the Brexit vote, stating on the BBC’s Politics Live programme that:

“The idea that people in Mansfield and Blackpool looked at Twitter, at some bots with no followers and then went ‘Do you know, I was going to vote Remain, I will vote Leave now,’ is ridiculous.”

Following Jones’ comments, Darren Grimes, the Brexit-backing political activist who was famously fined by the Electoral Commission over dodgy campaign spending during the EU referendum, tweeted his agreement with Jones, stating:

“Bloody hell. I agree with Owen Jones. Time for a stiff drink, I think…”

Responding to the comments made by Grimes, the prominent Remain supporting QC, Jolyon Maugham, tweeted his disdain, stating that:

“The interests of Hard Right and Hard Left ideologues converge in the corruption of our democracy.”

Maugham then went on to respond to a comment on his tweet by saying:

“I’m afraid that, when Owen suggested it was fine to celebrate anti-Jewish terrorism, he crossed a line from which there is no easy returning.”

Jones initially responded to Maugham’s tweet by labelling it as a “repulsive lie and smear”, stating:

“This is such a sickening, repulsive lie and smear that I can only conclude Jolyon Maugham’s increasingly bitter hatred of the left has twisted him beyond any reason.

Absolutely nauseating and unforgivable.”


However, Jones was encouraged to take things further, with fellow journalist Ellie Mae O’Hagan responding to Maugham’s tweet by stating:

“I will be encouraging Owen to take legal action against you for this comment, which is clearly libellous and defamatory”


Maugham responded nonchalantly, stating:

“I’m happy to let a court decide on that.”

Following Maugham’s response, Owen Jones issued a further tweet demanding the anti-Brexit lawyer deletes the tweet, apologises for it, and makes a donation, stating:

“If @JolyonMaugham withdraws this tweet and apologises, and pays £250 to Hope Not Hate, and £250 to @jewdas, then I’ll consider the matter closed and we can move on.”


Maugham has neither deleted the tweet nor respond to Jones’ demands.

Jones has already received an apology from another lawyer, Adam Wagner, who tweeted similar potentially libellous comments on the subject.


However, unlike Wagner, Maugham has since doubled down on his statement, attempting to justify it by referring to previous comments made by Jones, stating that:

“There’s an awful lot of people who replied to Owen’s tweet who read it as I do. You can see them for yourself here. And an awful lot more who QTed it expressing the same outrage as I felt.”

Maugham was referring to a previous Twitter thread by Jones regarding ‘WreathGate”, a media furore accusing Jeremy Corbyn of laying a wreath for people linked to the Black September terrorist attack.

Jones’ full thread stated:

“Benjamin leads a government which has slaughtered innocent civilians, oversees an illegal and unjust occupation, has just passed a law enshrining Arabs as second-class citizens, and who cosies up to Hungary’s far-right Orban, who runs anti-Semitic election campaigns.

The British government arms Netanyahu’s administration as it slaughters innocent civilians, just as it arms the Saudis as it massacres little kids in Yemen. Does a wreath have to be laid for this to be a national scandal.

Let’s be clear. Saudi Arabia is a terrorist state. It slaughters innocent people for political ends. It exports extremism. It is armed and backed by the British government. No one has killed by a wreath. Countless civilians have been killed by British-supplied bombs.

Corbyn was right to remember those killed by the Israeli strike on the PLO in 1985. He should reiterate his condemnation for the Munich atrocity. Then let’s focus on these things: combatting anti Semitism, Islamophobia, and Britain’s murderous foreign policy.

If I thought Corbyn condoned or incited terrorism against innocent civilians, then yes, that would be unforgivable. Despite all the attacks, there is no evidence whatsoever of this. There is ample evidence of his accusers facilitating state terrorism, including killing kids.”

Jones has since gone on to state that he stands by the thread:

We will bring you more on this story as it develops.

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