Shamefaced “Wristbands” wannabe MP candidate now wants to sue Julian Huppert

The gloves are off

| UPDATED Cambridge Conservative Cambridge election Cambridge Liberal Democrats Chamali Fernando julian huppert


Embarrassed Tory candidate Chamali Fernando is threatening legal action against Liberal Democrat incumbent Julian Huppert over his comments on her mental health wristband controversy

Ms Fernando, who earlier this month sparked internet outrage after claiming those suffering from mental illness could wear wristbands, is threatening defamation proceedings in response to Huppert’s comments to the media.

The Lib Dem said he was “shocked at the suggestion that people with mental health problems should be expected to wear wristbands to identify themselves”.

Her comments were also condemned by Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA).

In the wake of the scandal Ms Fernando has deactivated her Twitter account after reportedly receiving death threats.

A transcribe of Ms Fernando’s comments published by Cambridge News later showed that she had not said that mentally ill people ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to wear wristbands.

The letter, obtained by Varsity from Ms Fernando’s solicitors states: “Given [his] refusal to make a public apology, our client [Fernando] has no option but to instruct our firm to pursue legal proceedings against [Huppert].”

While Huppert is said to have apologised to Ms Fernando in private, he has not done so publicly, claiming that his words were “fair comment”.

Ms Fernando is demanding legal costs and a formal apology by 12 noon on Tuesday 21st April.

If these demands are not met defamation proceedings will begin, seeking ‘substantial damages’.

A spokesperson for Chamali Fernando confirmed she may also seek to prosecute under sections 106 and 169 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

The Act states that anyone who “makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate’s personal character or conduct shall be guilty of an illegal practice, unless he can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, that statement to be true.”

It carries a maximum fine of £5,000 as well as invalidating the election.

Richard Taylor, the political blogger who first tweeted Ms Fernando’s comments, told Varsity: “I don’t think any claim Chamali Fernando thinks she has will be sustained past a meeting with a specialist defamation lawyer, and if a claim does get before a judge, I think an application to dismiss it would be swiftly accepted.”

Dr Julian Hubbert has responded saying he has instructed a solicitor and is now taking legal advice on the matter.