In Brief

Jack Monroe: Bears 'no ill will' to Katie Hopkins after Twitter libel case

Food blogger says she feels 'quite sympathetic' towards columnist, who now faces a £300,000 legal bill

Food writer Jack Monroe says she bears "no ill will" towards controversial right-wing columnist Katie Hopkins after their recent libel case.

She told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I feel quite compassionate and quite sympathetic because nobody needs a £300,000 legal bill landing in their lap."

Left-wing activist Monroe, who shot to fame with her austerity cooking blog A Girl Called Jack, took Hopkins to court over tweets implying she approved of vandalising a war memorial.

The tweets included Hopkins asking: "Scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?", the Press Gazette reports.

However, Hopkins had mistakenly tweeted the food blogger instead of New Statesman writer Laurie Penny, who had said she didn't "have a problem" with seeing graffiti on a memorial to women of World War II.

On Friday, the High Court agreed the messages were defamatory and injurious to Monroe's reputation, awarding her £24,000 damages and leaving Hopkins with a legal bill reported to be in excess of £300,000.

Monroe said she hopes her victory will encourage people to "be nicer" on social media.

Speaking to The Guardian, she said she believes the case "will have done more to counter Twitter abuse than Twitter have managed to do in the last ten years".

Hopkins appeared less sanguine, tweeting:

Monroe, an outspoken critic of the Conservative government, is no stranger to Twitter controversy herself.

In 2014, she posted a message accusing then-prime minister David Cameron of "using his dead son" to justify privatising the NHS.

Cameron's oldest son, Ivan, was born with severe disabilities and died in 2009, at the age of six.

Faced with an immediate backlash, Monroe deleted the tweet and subsequently wrote a letter of apology to the Camerons.

Following Friday's verdict, Hopkins retweeted a screengrab of the post to her 685,000 followers.

Monroe said she accepted that she was guilty of doing "fairly s*** things" on social media, but that her case proved online defamation was not acceptable and would be punished.

"It sets a precedent," she said. "Don't say things about people that aren't true...because there are consequences for that."

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