Charity payment agreed after UKIP candidate defames Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier

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The county hospice charity Loros will be £1,000 better off soon, after a donation from UKIP’s election candidate for the Harborough constituency.

UKIP’s Clive Langley is due to hand over a cheque after making false accusations against Harborough’s sitting Conservative MP Sir Edward Garnier.

Sir Edward Garnier

Sir Edward Garnier

The cheque had been suggested by Sir Edward, in lieu of what would have otherwise been an expensive libel court case.

Mr Langley had alleged on social media network Twitter that Sir Edward had made an improper claim for an expensive desk, and may have made improper claims for staff expenses.

Both allegations are completely false.

Sir Edward was alerted to the claims last week by Labour’s candidate for the Harborough constituency, Sundip Meghani.

Sir Edward, a prominent libel lawyer, told Mr Langley in a letter: “Both allegations are false and calculated to sow suspicions about me in the mind of the publishees.”

Mr Langley quickly responded last Wednesday with a lengthy apology.

He wrote in an email: “I have made a mistake and I am man enough to put my hand up and say sorry. This is heartfelt and sincere.

“I am happy to make the donation as suggested [£1,000 to Loros] as it is an excellent charity worthy of support.

“Hopefully some good will come out of all this.

“I look forward to meeting up with you at the hustings and trust that we can put this behind us. I promise you that there will be no more personal attacks.

“I will give you a copy of the cheque I send to Loros when we next meet. One final thing, I would like to thank you for teaching me a lesson about public life.

“What I did was wrong and I have learnt a hard (and expensive) lesson.”

Sir Edward responded, saying “I am entirely willing to shake your hand” and said he hoped the future election campaign would be “conducted in a mature fashion without the making of personal attacks”.

Sir Edward, who has been Harborough’s MP since 1992, added: “I am sure that as someone of mature years, albeit new to the excitements of electoral politics, you will not descend into this sort of behaviour again... and that you will not in future allow your fingers on the keyboard to get ahead of common sense.

“I am certainly not one to bear grudges.”

The Mail rang Mr Langley on Tuesday and asked him if he thought, in retrospect, that his behaviour had been foolish. Mr Langley said: “I can’t make any comment.”

The Mail also asked Mr Langley if his admitted false accusations had undermined his own campaign to be the next MP for Harborough.

Mr Langley repeated: “I can’t make any comment.”

Sir Edward (62) is defending a majority from the 2010 election of nearly 10,000.

Mr Langley (58), of Newton Harcourt in the district, is fighting his first General Election, having been selected as the UKIP candidate for Harborough last year.