Clause 5. — (Justification.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Defamation (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil 12:00 am, 27th June 1952

It is with considerable diffidence that I venture to differ from the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), who has proposed the Amendment, because I would defer to his opinion with great respect on many matters. I could agree entirely with his argument and with the argument of the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment, if it were not for the latter part of the Clause, where I read: … if the words not proved to be true do not materially injure the plaintiff's reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges. Those words give to the court the power to protect the rights and the position of the individual. I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman was justified in drawing the picture he did of someone who has been defamed being thrown to the wolves and being placed in the position of having bad things written about him. There is much to be said for the charge of laxity in regard to the Clause, but the words I have quoted are quite sufficient to give full protection to the individual. The legal position will not be materially altered to the prejudice of a libelled individual. For that reason I hope that the House will reject the Amendment.