07 November 2013
Tory MP threatens libel over Albania claims
A Conservative MP has threatened libel action against the Daily Telegraph after it published corruption claims against him.
Mark Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, strongly denies offering access to political leaders in Albania and Malta for cash - despite videos released by the publication seemingly indicating this was the case.
Mr Pritchard, who is currently a member of the all-party parliamentary group for Albania, was asked by an undercover journalist to provide contacts and advice for a number of projects in the eastern European country.
In return, it can be seen on a Telegraph video, Mr Pritchard asks to be paid £3,000 per month, as well as three per cent of any deal finalised.
But the Tory MP has said that his words were taken out of context.
"The allegations made by the Telegraph are false - and I deny their claims. They have selected quotes out of context to fit their desired story, which is both hurtful and malicious and seeking to damage me," Mr Pritchard explained.
"This is not the first time the Telegraph have made false claims about me for which I have subsequently and successfully sued them for libel. I cannot comment further as I am consulting libel lawyers."
Mr Pritchard also highlighted the fact that in an effort to end the row he has referred himself to the parliamentary commissioner for standards to see if there was any wrongdoing.
Despite Mr Pritchard's rebuttal against the Telegraph, questions will be raised as to whether he listed the fictitious company the journalist worked for in his registered interests log. If he is found to have breached this he could face sanctions or even criminal prosecution.
The Telegraph has stood by its story and affirmed its belief that the MP arranged for access to be provided in return for money.
It is unclear if Mr Pritchard's threat of libel will be followed through.