Former spin doctor for Jeremy Corbyn gets into twitter spat with a Bristol student

He suggested a tweet was removed to prevent legal action


A former top adviser to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has threatened to sue a Bristol student.

Steve Howell, who served as Deputy Director of Strategy and Communications for the Labour Party between February and September last year, warned second year history student Harry Eastley-Jones that a recent tweet about the Salisbury nerve agent attack could be grounds for a libel case.

On Friday Howell tweeted an article from The London Economic in which the publication alleged a source close to former Russian spy Sergei Skripal said he was "investigating collusion between Internet Research Agency, AIQ, Cambridge Analytica and parent company SCL." Howell added "Claim from @LondonEconomic is huge. No doubt newsdesks are asking police if it's a line of inquiry.."

In response, Eastley-Jones, who was recently named Bristol's second most eligible bachelor in a Tab poll, tweeted: "The Kremlin’s agents have found a new conspiracy theory to latch on to I see". To which Howell hit back with the warning: "I suggest you delete that tweet smartish unless you have the resources to risk a libel action."

Asked for comment by The Tab on Twitter, Howell replied: "My general comment is that this is extremely serious and deserves better than calling those who ask questions 'Kremlin agents'.

"Reading his tweet again, I'm not sure if he was referring to me or @LondonEconomic. Either way, his attitude doesn't help us get nearer the truth."

In a statement Conservative Party member Eastley-Jones said: "Mr Howell’s threat is another classic example of an increasingly intolerant left, incapable of understanding satire.

"My tweet was simply pointing out the disgraceful way the Hard Left has done the Kremlin’s work for them by spreading misinformation about Salisbury, it appears I hit a nerve."

The spat comes nearly two years after another student was disciplined by the University of Bristol for tweeting "Get in the sea" at Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire.