- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2018

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has earned an apology and payout from a fellow British lawmaker who claimed he sold secrets to “communist spies.”

Ben Bradley, a vice chairman of the U.K. Conservative party, apologized Saturday after coming under fire this week for having accused Mr. Corbyn of espionage.

Corbyn sold British secrets to communist spies… get some perspective mate!!” Mr. Bradley, 28, wrote Monday in a since-deleted tweet.

Mr. Bradley walked back the remarks Saturday in a statement rescinding his “seriously defamatory” remark.

“I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies. I am very sorry for publishing this untrue and false statement and I have no hesitation in offering my unreserved and unconditional apology to Jeremy Corbyn for the distress I have caused him,” Mr. Bradley said.

“I have agreed to pay an undisclosed substantial sum of money to a charity of his choice, and I will also pay his legal costs,” his statement said.

A spokesperson for Mr. Corbyn applauded the retraction, and the Labour Party said it will donate the funds to a homeless center and a food bank in his constituency, London’s Evening Standard reported.

“We are pleased Ben Bradley has admitted what he said was entirely untrue and apologized, and that charities in Mansfield will benefit,” the spokesperson said.

“Following the botched smear campaign against Jeremy, this case shows we are not going to let dangerous lies go unchallenged.”

Mr. Bradley’s initial accusation came on the heels of British tabloids reporting that Jan Sarkocy, a spy from the former Czechoslovakia, claimed that he had bankrolled Mr. Corbyn during the Cold War. Mr. Corbyn dismissed the claims as “ridiculous smears,” and on Wednesday his lawyers contacted Mr. Bradley demanding damages over his tweet.

“Your statement that our client sold British secrets to communist spies is untrue,” the letter said.

“The inference that our client, whom you know to be the Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition and the Leader of the Labour Party, had engaged in criminal acts of treachery and spying could not be more seriously harmful of a British citizen, let alone such a prominent politician,” the letter said. “The natural and ordinary meaning of your words is that our client engaged in criminal activity at the most serious level.”

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