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Marco Pierre White faces up to £0.5m bill after losing court battle over restaurant as judge calls him a ‘dishonest idiot’

Mr Justice Morgan questioned chef's 'intelligence' in bringing the claim

The celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White was described by a judge as a “dishonest idiot” as he was left with a legal bill for hundreds of thousands of pounds after losing a High Court fight with two former business partners.

Mr White claimed he was left out of pocket because Andrew Parton and Peter Featherman had breached an agreement relating to the running of The Yew Tree restaurant at Highclere, near Newbury, Berkshire. He said he had lost out on shares worth about £175,000 and claimed damages from the pair.

But Mr Justice Morgan dismissed his claim following a hearing in London, and ruled that Mr White, 51, must pay all the costs of the case. “I find that Mr White’s witness statement is far more reconstruction than it is recollection. He was plainly an unreliable witness,” he said. “Mr White was not straightforward. He was not honest in his evidence. I would also question his intelligence in bringing the claim at all. Mr White has been a bit of an idiot. It may be he has been a dishonest idiot on top. He is a wealthy man. He brought utterly misconceived proceedings.”

Lawyers told the court that costs amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds – and later estimated that the chef could be left with a bill for as much as £500,000.

The case centred on a dispute over whether an agreement was made on Mr White’s name being associated with The Yew Tree. Mr Parton and Mr Featherman said a condition was that Mr White’s name could be used. Mr White said “no such pre-condition” was agreed.