Food writer begins libel proceedings against Katie Hopkins over ‘harmful’ tweets

Controversial columnist had accused Jack Monroe of condoning the vandalism of war memorials

Food writer and activist Jack Monroe has started libel proceedings against Katie Hopkins for tweets that suggested that Monroe condoned the vandalism of war memorials.

In May 2015, Daily Mail columnist Hopkins tweeted at Monroe: “Scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”. She seemingly mistook Monroe for New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny, who had tweeted that she didn’t “have a problem” with vandalism as a form of protest after the words “Fuck Tory scum” were scrawled onto the Whitehall World War II memorial during anti-austerity demonstrations.

Hopkins later tweeted: “Can someone explain to me – in 10 words or less – the difference between irritant @PennyRed and social anthrax @MsJackMonroe.” Monroe tweeted in response: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of shit.”

Monroe says that the accusations have caused “serious harm” to the blogger’s reputation, with lawyers adding that Hopkins’ tweets bore “defamatory innuendo meaning” that Monroe “approved or condoned the criminal vandalisation of the women’s war memorial during an anti-government protest”.

Hopkins’ lawyer argued that the “relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours” and that it caused “no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm” to Monroe’s reputation.

Monroe told the court: “These proceedings have been a nightmare. It has been an 18-month, unproductive, devastating nightmare. I did not want to be here today. I have offered several times though my lawyer to settle these proceedings outside court. This is the last thing that I wanted to be doing.”