A Conservative politician in the UK has agreed to pay “substantial” damages and legal costs to Jeremy Corbyn after tweeting a doctored photograph of the former Labour leader paying tribute to a suicide bomber.
Paul Nickerson also apologised for the photograph, which showed Corbyn laying a poppy wreath next to a burning taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital and was captioned with the word “unsurprisingly”.
Corbyn said the damages would be donated to charity. Nickerson, a councillor in the East Riding of Yorkshire, northern England, has resigned from the local Conservative group.
“On 15 November 2012 a false defamatory statement, for which I accept full responsibility, was published on my Twitter account about Jeremy Corbyn MP,” Nickerson tweeted on Tuesday. “I have agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs to Mr Corbyn. Please retweet.”
In his apology, Nickerson said the photograph and caption had given the “completely untrue impression that Jeremy Corbyn supports terrorist violence include suicide bombings, which without any hesitation I wholly accept he does not.
“Without reservation I fully withdraw any suggestion or inference that Jeremy Corbyn is a supporter of terrorist violence,” the statement continued. “The tweet was wrong and I retract it. I unreservedly and sincerely apologise to Mr Corbyn for the hurt and distress that has been caused to him by the tweet. I entirely accept that the posting of the message the day after Remembrance Sunday aggravated the hurtful nature of the defamatory tweet.”
The apology tweet and the statement has been retweeted over 3,000 times.
In a statement, Corbyn said: “The bomb attack on Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday was a horrific crime, which could have killed or maimed countless victims, including new mothers and their babies.
"Councillor Paul Nickerson’s photoshopped Twitter post about me failed to understand the seriousness of the threat and did a disservice to all those affected by the attack and their loved ones.”
The MP said that the “substantial settlement” would be used to support charities “that are close to my heart: including one in Liverpool and one in my constituency.”