An unemployed man is suing Prime Minister David Cameron for £1 million in a battle over freedom of speech.
Jobseeker Harvey Stone claims he was unlawfully prosecuted for sending the government an email protesting against their treatment of the unemployed.
The father of one, of Holten-le-Clay, Lincolnshire, says his struggle to find a job has been made infinitely harder after he sent a “protest email” to the government over George Osbourne‘s “Help to Work” scheme, and was charged with a criminal offence as a result.
Mr Stone, who is married with a 16-month old daughter, says he was charged with an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, after sending the email, protesting against the Chancellor’s controversial plans to make the unemployed perform unpaid labour.
The family man, who says the Tory leader has “allowed his government to discriminate against and criminalize the unemployed“, through the much-criticised policy, claims his human right to freedom of expression has been violated.
He has now launched a High Court bid for £1 million in damages, claiming his reputation and future chances of gaining employment are in tatters as a result of the furore.
In a writ lodged at London’s High Court, Mr Stone’s sets out his case, saying:
“Prime Minister David Cameron has allowed his government to pursue a course of action designed to discriminate against and criminalize the unemployed, breaching the Human Rights Act 1998 Article 4, the prohibition of slavery and forced labour.
“This prompted a protest email from myself, for which I was arrested and charged under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.”
Mr Stone claimed that the arrest and charge breached his human right to free speech, and caused loss and damage to himself and his struggling family.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. The negligent actions of David Cameron’s government could lead to a criminal record for myself making it hard to find a job,” he said.
Mr Stone is claiming £500,000 in lost future earnings and a further £500,000 for damage to his reputation, “and the stress his government has caused to myself and my family, as I try to support my wife and my 16-month old daughter.”
Emphasizing the gulf in status between himself and the Prime Minister, Mr Stone also adds in the writ: “I have no money…I am unemployed, do not own property or anything of financial value and have to support my wife and daughter on benefits.”
He concludes: “The issues raised are of general public importance. Only too often the litigant in person is regarded as a problem for judges and for the court system, rather than the person for whom the civil justice system exists.”
Mr Cameron’s lawyers have acknowledged receipt of the claim against him but his defence to the action was not available from the court. Mr Stone’s case has yet to be tested in evidence before a judge.
Source – Grimsby Telegraph, 11 July 2014
Investigators have cleared a councillor caught up in accusations of dodgy lobbying.
Liberal Democrat Greg Stone (North Heaton) will face no further action from Newcastle Council after he was secretly recorded by a national newspaper offering “tricks of the trade” on how to get planning permission.
The councillor, who works as a lobbyist, faced calls to resign as two Labour politicians put in complaints over Mr Stone’s role.
Further questions were raised by Newcastle East MP Nick Brown, who discovered emails he says showed Mr Stone had contacted the council’s chief executive to raise the concerns of “business interests” over the council’s refusal to grant an alcohol licence to the proposed Tesco Store on Grainger Street, Newcastle.
Mr Stone offered to put the chief executive in touch “with the parties concerned”, but was told the council would be fighting plans for more city drinking. Since then Newcastle Council has granted the Tesco store a smaller drinks licence.
Labour MP Mr Brown called for a tougher investigation because Mr Stone’s employers at Indigo Public Affairs have worked for Tesco in the past. In a statement put to the council as the investigation continued last year Mr Stone lists 10 possible reasons why he might have been sending the email to the chief executive.
Further questions regarding the Tesco lobbying were put to Mr Stone, who then said he was asking on behalf of the Lib Dem group.
Mr Stone said: “This investigation arose as a result of unethical reporting, which failed to fairly reflect the context of my comments, and complaints from opportunistic political opponents.
“I have maintained throughout that I have acted properly in my professional and council roles.
“I am therefore unsurprised by the finding that I did not breach the code of conduct, and I am glad that this protracted process has been resolved in a very clear way.”
A council spokesman said: “The council received two complaints against Coun Stone that he had allegedly breached the Code of Conduct for members. These complaints were thoroughly investigated. The investigating officer concluded that there had been no breach of the Code of Conduct. The council’s monitoring officer was satisfied with the conclusions in the investigating officer’s report and therefore closed the matter.”
Mr Brown said questions remained unanswered over the council’s licensing policy.
Source – Newcastle Journal 01 April 2014