Labour Justice Spokesman facing court over ‘alcohol violence lies’

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By G.A.Ponsonby 

Labour’s Justice Spokesman Richard Baker has been warned he faces legal action over public statements he made linking the tonic wine Buckfast to youth crime.

Drinks firm J Chandler & Co have hired a leading QC in an attempt at persuading Mr Baker to stop making claims the company say are untrue and misleading.

Newsnet Scotland has learned that lawyers have written to Mr Baker and his colleague Jackie Baillie, who is the party’s Health Spokeperson, warning them that they face being sued if they continue to present what the company say are “inaccurate or misleading statistics”.

The row comes only days after Mr Baker was forced to admit that Labour’s knife crime figures had been plucked from newspapers.

Mr Baker has claimed that the tonic wine, produced by the monks of Buckfast Abbey, was behind 40 per cent of offences committed by inmates at Polmont Young Offenders jail.

The Labour politician had already been warned by the company on 4th April that he faced legal action if he continued to make the claims.

Speaking yesterday Solicitors Watersrule said: “The proportion of persons polled made the reference to 40 per cent wholly inaccurate, exaggerated and grossly misleading.

“We are seeking an immediate correction and apology – and an undertaking such untruths won’t be repeated. We’ve today consulted with Senior Counsel.”

It has emerged that the drinks firm contacted the four main Holyrood parties last year inviting them to a discussion on the drink and crime but Labour failed to respond.

A Labour spokesman described the warnings as “laughable” and boasted that they would “see them in court”.