Super injunction ‘farce’ as MP joins social media in outing ‘cheating’ footballer

24th May 2011

Hemming, used parliamentary privilege which allows MPs to speak freely within the Palace of Westminster without threat of libel, to the footballer identified on Twitter as having brought an injunction to prevent publication of allegations he had an affair with a former reality TV star.

The Guardian reported that prime minister "David Cameron, facing an increasingly aggressive tabloid campaign to stop the high court granting injunctions protecting the privacy of celebrities, announced a joint parliamentary committee to examine the complex related issues of privacy, injunctions, the regulation of the internet and the role of the press complaints commission."

Hemming said he had a right to do so because the footballer had already been named by 75,000 people on Twitter.

The footballer has also been named on several football fan websites including caughtoffside.com

However on Monday night a high court judge ruled against the Sun newspaper and insisted that the injunction preventing him being named should still be upheld.

Mr Justice Tugendhat, ruling, said:  "it is obvious that if the purpose [of the injunction] was to protect a secret then it would have now failed", but argued that its purpose was to protect the footballer from "harassment".

Cameron said: "It's not fair on the newspapers if all the social media can report this and the newspapers can't and so the law and the practice has got to catch up with how people consume media today. I don't think there's an easy answer to this."

Hemming's move was condemned by MPs and peers. John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the culture select committee said: "If MPs think the law is wrong then we should change the law rather than flout the law.

In a further twist The Telegraph reports that the footballer might not have even needed to take out the injunction.

PR guru Max Clifford said that, ironically, if the footballer had not taken out the injunction, then probably no-one would have known about the relationship.

He said Ms Thomas had never intended to sell her story.

Mr Clifford, who is due to see Ms Thomas at his London office today to discuss her next step, told ITV1's Daybreak programme: ''I will see what she wants to do but, because of the previous conversations, I know that she never had any intention of selling her story.

There is of course another issue here and that is the super injunction itself. It's one thing protecting footballers and their families from unwanted press intrusion but what when it'a a corporation or company taking out the injuction.

John Lappin writes about that very issue here.

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