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Taxpayer Foots The Bill For Cabinet Minister’s Libellous Outburst

The taxpayer is expected to shell out to fund the fallout from disgraced ‘Monster for Science’, Michelle Donelan’s outpouring of vile anti-Palestinian spite, following her false accusation of ‘antisemitism’ against two leading academics.

The Cabinet minister sparked controversy – again – when she suggested that academic Kate Sang ‘sympathised with Hamas’, and that the two should be removed from their government-funded posts. This led to an investigation by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which cleared Professor Sang and the other academic, Dr Kamna Patel, of any wrongdoing, and found no basis for Donelan’s claims.

The saga began when Donelan tweeted concerns about Prof. Sang and Dr. Patel, alleging they shared extremist views following the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The professor launched a libel action following the unpleasant and untrue accusations from Donelan, who now faces calls to resign from her own taxpayer-funded post as a minister.

She has even had the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who said he had "full confidence" in "excellent minister" Ms Donelan.

But the UK taxpayer is expected to foot the bill for damages on behalf of Ms Donelan, who already claimed close to half a million pounds in expenses from the public purse, last year alone.

You’ve paid for around £4,000 on hotels in just two months over the past year – the previous year saw the MP spend just short of £9,000 putting herself up in London luxury between September 2022 and January 2023 alone – few of us spend that much on rent, which of course she also claims…

As well as the annual ‘Working from Home’ payment in March last year – well after most workers were encouraged to get back into the office. And of course the 11 staff she seemingly needs to help her make such a pig’s ear of her well-paid job (after March, of course, she was on maternity leave).

Sadly, the only staff member who isn’t full-time is Donelan’s Communications Officer, described as ‘casual’ – whom she perhaps could have done with before making her expensively offensive remarks.

Donelan yesterday retracted her comments and has paid an undisclosed sum to Professor Sang, acknowledging there was no evidence to support her allegations, although her statement 'neglects to mention' her agreement to pay damages and legal costs. The sum has been described as ‘nominal’ – which either means something very different to ordinary taxpayers, or raises the question of why, if it was so ‘nominal’, Donelan did not meet the expense from her own pocket, instead of expecting the taxpayer to cough up for her ill-thought-out rant?

Opposition MPs have called it a "new low in government standards" and are demanding transparency on the use of taxpayer money.

Professor Sang has expressed disappointment at Donelan's actions and pledged to donate part of the damages to charity, while Dr. Patel described the experience as distressing. The University and College Union (UCU) condemned Donelan's intervention as an attack on academic freedom, calling for an apology and an end to such politicised interventions.

“Michelle Donelan made a cheap political point at my expense and caused serious damage to my reputation” said Professor Sang.

Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, of which both academics are members, said: “This investigation completely exonerates our members and confirms Michelle Donelan’s unprecedented, politicised intervention was an outrageous attack on academic freedom”

Donelan's false allegations against academics and the subsequent investigation has focused public concerns about the misuse of power and taxpayer funds. The Conservative government's pledge to combat "woke ideology" in science has sparked widespread backlash from the scientific community, with over 2000 researchers signing an open letter expressing concern over potential threats to academic freedom and the politicization of research.



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