Scotsman Publications has apologised to Gordon Brown’s brother after publishing an article stating he profited unethically from the Prime Minister’s expense claims.
Andrew Brown, external relations director at EDF Energy, sued over a column which appeared in Scotland on Sunday last month.
The article, headed “zero tolerance for scum who exploit expenses,” followed the revelation that the Prime Minister had claimed reimbursement for payments made to his brother to cover “cleaning services.”
In fact it later emerged that Andrew Brown had paid the Prime Minister’s share of the costs of a cleaner who worked at both his and the PM’s personal domestic properties.
Scotsman Publications has now made a donation to a charity set up in memory of the Prime Minister’s daughter after apologising to his brother for the article.
The apology stated: “In Gerald Warner’s column on 10 May we stated that Andrew Brown, brother of the Prime Minister, had profited unethically from expenses claimed by the Prime Minister.
“We accept there is no truth in this allegation, and that the payment made to Andrew Brown covered the reimbursement to him of Gordon Brown’s share of the wages of a cleaner who worked for both men.
“We accept that there was no impropriety or illegality on behalf of Andrew Brown and apologise for the offence caused to him and have agreed to make a donation to a charity of his choice.”
Andrew Brown’s solicitor, Chris Scott, told Mr Justice Eady at the High Court that the publication of the article had caused damage to his client’s personal and professional reputation, and he had suffered considerable embarrassment, hurt and distress.
He said statements issued by Downing Street on May 8 and 9, before publication, had made it clear that Andrew Brown was legitimately reimbursed for the Prime Minister’s share of the costs of a cleaner.
“The libel contained in the article was therefore entirely false,” he said.
He said the newspaper’s publisher, The Scotsman Publications Ltd, had accepted that it should not have published the article and has agreed to reimburse Andrew Brown for his legal costs and to make a donation to the Jennifer Brown Research Fund.