College drops suit against Robert Halfon MP

Robert Halfon MP

A university has dropped a libel suit against a British MP who criticised it for maintaining commercial links with the oppressive Libyan regime, The Jewish Chronicle reports. But Robert Halfon is not just any MP – he is the grandson of a Libyan Jew.

In March Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, published a blog post about Liverpool John Moores University (JMU) and its investments from Libyan sources.

Mr Halfon, the grandson of a Libyan Jew who escaped the country in the 1960s following anti-Jewish pogroms, has been at the forefront of parliamentary calls for an inquiry into the funding of British universities by authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes.

After he was threatened with libel action by JMU lawyers, he agreed to remove the post but they demanded that he also offer an unqualified withdrawal and promised not to repeat the claims. They also called for a donation to the university and for Mr Halfon to pay its legal costs for the case.

Mr Halfon refused, raising the possibility of an expensive and drawn-out libel suit.
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