Jack Monroe has instructed libel lawyers after the Tory MP Lee Anderson alleged the writer and food blogger was profiteering from the poor.
Monroe, who won a rancorous, high-profile libel action against the former Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins in 2017, tweeted that the MP’s comments were a “very clear cut case of outright libel”.
Although not confirmed, the lawyer in question could be Mark Lewis who pioneered the phone-hacking claims that led to the closure of the News of the World.
In a separate tweet, Monroe reached out to him: “got a job for you pal”.
The row began after deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, Martin Daubney, posted a clip of an interview he had conducted with Anderson.
At the start of the clip, Daubney refers to Monroe as the “self-appointed representative of the impoverished”, adding she has “sold loads of books. Done quite well out of it. No doubt, probably earns more than the prime minister”.
Anderson responds by stating: “She’s taking money off some of the most vulnerable people in society and making an absolute fortune on [sic] the back of people.”
Last week, the MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire provoked anger from opposition MPs and campaigners after stating in the Commons that food banks are unnecessary because the main cause of food poverty is a lack of cooking and budgetary skills.
During the Queen’s speech debate last Wednesday, Anderson argued that nutritious meals could be easily cooked for 30p a time.
Two days later, when the clip of the interview with Daubney was posted on the Reclaim party Twitter feed, Monroe quickly asked for it to be taken down, along with an apology, stating it had already received more than 19,000 views. By late Saturday afternoon, the clip was still up and had been viewed more than 800,000 times.
Monroe tweeted that Anderson and Daubney were “playing a very expensive game of chicken with someone who has a proven track record of crossing this particular road without fear nor favour”.
That particular road was a reference to Monroe’s victory in 2017 against Hopkins which saw the food writer awarded £24,000 damages after Hopkins suggested Monroe approved of defacing a war memorial during an anti-austerity demonstration in Whitehall.
Even before Anderson and Daubney’s interview, Monroe appeared to be tiring of sniping critics, tweeting on Thursday: “Frothing right wingers so desperate to falsely prove that I’m a hypocritical millionaire that they’re willing to libel me extensively in order to try to make it happen. Beautiful.”
Despite attracting considerable criticism for his opinions on food banks, Anderson stood by his views, calling their use “exaggerated” and saying: “I’m talking common sense.”
On Thursday, he told Times Radio he was glad they had whipped up a furore. “The left will obviously jump on this, the mainstream media will jump on this, because at the moment all we’re hearing in chamber is ‘food-bank use is on the up,’” said the MP.