Katie Hopkins applies for insolvency agreement to avoid bankruptcy after losing libel case

Social media users hone in on old Hopkins tweet suggesting people in debt blame others for their plight

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
Monday 17 September 2018 18:05
Jack Monroe says she feels sympathy towards Katie Hopkins following libel case

Katie Hopkins has applied for an insolvency agreement in a last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy after losing a libel case to food writer and poverty campaigner Jack Monroe.

The controversial columnist was ordered to pay Monroe £24,000 in damages and legal costs in March last year after the High Court ruled comments the right-wing commentator made on Twitter were defamatory.

In a May 2015 post, Hopkins appeared to imply Monroe had defaced or vandalised war memorials, which Hopkins later said was a case of mistaken identity and was incorrect. The dispute stems from a series of public Twitter messages exchanged between the pair after a monument to the women of World War II in central London was vandalised with the words “F*ck Tory scum” during an anti-austerity demonstration in Whitehall.

Government documents reveal Hopkins — a former contestant on The Apprentice known for her incendiary, xenophobic, anti-immigrant views — applied for "individual voluntary arrangements" (IVA) in May this year in order to avoid bankruptcy.

An insolvency agreement means the applicant will repay the money over a period of time — typically a few years.

Hopkins was forced to put her million-pound house in Exeter on the market after losing the case.

A crowdfunding page was set up to purchase the luxurious property and use it as a home for refugees or asylum seekers back in January, but fell short of the amount needed.

“We all know Hopkins’ disgusting views on immigrants and refugees, so the plan my good people, is to buy Katie Hopkins family home and use it to either house refugees or asylum seekers,” read the GoFundMe page.

Hopkins has recently moved further away from the mainstream media. It was announced her contract with the Mail Online “was not renewed by mutual consent” last November. This came months after Hopkins agreed to leave her job as a host on LBC radio in May last year after she tweeted a call for a “final solution” to Islamist terrorism in the wake of the Manchester arena attack.

She left The Sun in 2015 after writing a column that compared migrants to “cockroaches” and ”feral humans” and said they were “spreading like the norovirus”. The Devon-born columnist became the subject of a petition calling for her to be sacked.

Hopkins now works for far-right Canadian website The Rebel Media, where Tommy Robinson, the former English Defence League leader, was previously a contributor.

Monroe, who is from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and identifies as non-binary, announced Hopkins had entered into an IVA on Twitter.

“I can confirm today that following that landmark libel case, Katie Hopkins has entered into an IVA to avoid bankruptcy,” the food writer tweeted.

“I knew for a while but could not say anything for legal reasons. The arbitrary defender of free speech didn’t want anyone to know, ironically...”

“...I have been paid in full, but many of her creditors, including my lawyer, will not be paid what they are owed. For the want of an apology, a house, a job, a column, a radio show, and now financial solvency, were lost. It’s all very sad, actually.”

She continued: “I’m not cruel nor celebrating – that case cost me 18 months of sanity and work, and I think neither of us wanted it to turn out this way. (I can recommend an excellent budget cookery book or three, for getting back on your feet, though)”.

Monroe initially asked for Hopkins to apologise and donate £5,000 to a migrants’ charity, saying that otherwise she would sue. However, Hopkins did not retreat, prompting the expensive court action.

After Monroe tweeted about the IVA, social media users honed in on a tweet fired off from Hopkins’ account back in 2014 suggesting people in debt tended to blame others for their plight rather than taking personal responsibility.

Hopkins – who was refused permission to appeal in the legal battle in January – was forced to cover the complete costs of the libel case. This included £24,000 in damages to Monroe and £107,000 to her lawyers.