James Dyson, the billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, has lost a libel lawsuit against a British newspaper publisher over a column that branded him a hypocrite who had “screwed” Britain.
Mr Dyson sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), publisher of the Daily Mirror, at London’s High Court over articles that lambasted him for moving the global head office of his company from Britain to Singapore after championing the economic benefits of Brexit.
Judge Robert Jay dismissed Mr Dyson’s lawsuit in a written ruling this morning.
The 76-year-old gave evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice over two days in a trial against MGN over the article which was published in January 2022.
In the Daily Mirror article, journalist Brian Reade referred to the engineer as “the vacuum-cleaner tycoon who championed Vote Leave due to the economic opportunities it would bring to British industry before moving his global head office to Singapore”.
Mr Reade continued: “Kids, talk the talk but then screw your country and if anyone complains, tell them to suck it up.”
Mr Dyson brought the High Court claim against MGN, describing the allegations in the article as a “vicious and vitriolic” personal attack.
In dismissing the inventor’s claim, Judge Jay said: “In the present case the Claimant cannot demonstrate that he has suffered financial loss as a result of these publications. Nor can he show that his philanthropic work, particularly directed to young people and schools, has been harmed in any way.”
During the trial, Justin Rushbrooke KC, for Mr Dyson, said in written submissions that the articles, both in print and online, “constituted a serious and unjustified slur on Sir James’s reputation, business and personal”.
However, MGN defended the claim, including by arguing that Mr Reade’s article was “honest opinion”.
Adrienne Page KC, for MGN, said the words in the article were “substantially correct” and that Mr Dyson could not dictate how the commentator posed them.