A WELSH Labour MP has paid £1,000 to a Ukraine support fund after making “disproved” allegations against a businessman, the High Court has heard.

Chris Bryant, the MP for Rhondda, previously apologised for unfounded allegations made about Christopher Chandler, a businessman and co-founder of the Legatum Group.

On Thursday, the High Court in London was told that “serious” allegations were made in May 2018 during a debate on the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, where some MPs claimed Mr Chandler was suspected of money laundering and being a Russian spy.

While such debates are protected from defamation claims under parliamentary privilege, Mr Bryant later quoted from his speeches in a debate in a letter to foreign secretary Liz Truss in March, posting the letter on Twitter.

Mr Chandler brought a libel claim and on Thursday, the case was publicly ended.


Adrienne Page QC, for Mr Chandler, said: “It was not Mr Bryant’s intention to repeat those allegations, which he accepts have subsequently been disproved.

“Mr Chandler is most grateful to Mr Bryant for his acceptance of this fact.”

Ms Page said Mr Chandler did not seek legal fees from the MP and that Mr Bryant had paid £1,000 to the UN’s crisis relief fund for Ukraine in lieu of damages.

Mr Chandler’s lawyers claimed the case was the first time a sitting MP had been “held accountable” with a defamation claim for quoting words they had previously said in parliament.

The businessman said he was “delighted to be able to put these bizarre and outrageous lies behind us” and “grateful to Mr Bryant for not opposing this long-overdue correction of the public record”.

He added: “Parliamentary privilege is a crucial and cherished right in a democracy, but in an age of fake news and social media, MPs must have the ability and duty to amend the official record if they subsequently find out that what they have said is false.”

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