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UCU chief to pay ‘substantial damages’ following tweet row

Image: University and College Union

Jo Grady “reluctantly” agrees settlement with union campaigner Paul Embery

Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, has agreed a settlement with trade union activist Paul Embery following a series of tweets that Embery’s lawyer described as containing “wild and reckless allegations, all entirely without foundation”.

In a statement issued on social media, Grady (pictured) said that she did not “share Mr Embery’s understanding of the tweets I published” or admit any liability. She added that she was not “able to invest the time necessary to defend Mr Embery’s claims” and could not afford the financial commitment involved.

Grady had therefore “reluctantly” agreed to personally pay Embery in return for him agreeing not to issue proceedings. “In the current climate, anyone involved as I am in working for a trade union and for trade union members has much more important priorities than fighting a defamation claim in the courts,” Grady said.

“My time and energy is rightly required by those I represent, dealing with current disputes and industrial action and championing the cause of working people more broadly. This is where my focus is and will remain. This is why I have chosen to settle Mr Embery’s claim before further time and money is wasted.”

In a statement, his lawyers said that Embery “complained that the tweets falsely portrayed him as a misogynist, a pervert, and a liar”.

Embery said the “substantial damages” would be donated to “groups campaigning to protect women’s sex-based rights”.

This is an extract from the Research Professional News 8am Playbook email, published this morning. To enquire about subscribing to Playbook, please fill in this form and include ‘8am Playbook’ as the subject.