SIR PETER VARDY HAS HAD ENOUGH
He sues for defamation over Tribunes creationism allegation
Sir Peter Vardy who heads the Vardy Foundation, has launched a lawsuit against the editors of Tribune magazine, over what he calls a defamatory article the magazine printed about him in October 2009. The Vardy Foundation sponsors four schools in the UK. These include Bede Academy in Northumberland, King’s Academy in Middlesbrough, Emmanuel College in Gateshead and Trinity Academy in South Yorkshire. The schools are popular with parents and Emmanuel has consistently been one of the top performing Academies in the country with Ofsted awarding it ‘Outstanding’ in all of its inspections to date. 91% of its GCSE pupils achieved an A*-C grade, including Maths and English in the last GCSE results. Vardy alleges that in the article – headlined ‘Creationist Claptrap that Beggars Belief’- he is painted to be a devout creationist who sponsors state schools for the main purpose of imposing Christian fundamentalist views on impressionable pupils. He states an example from the article in the lawsuit, which reads as follows: “By virtue of donating £2m to the £22m it costs the taxpayer to build an academy, the Vardy Foundation can impose its fundamentalist beliefs on children through the science curriculum.” Vardy has battled accusations that he is a creationist for years, and has said the schools present both Darwin’s evolutionary theory and creationism. In 2003 Sir Peter said: “One is a theory, the other is a faith position. It is up to the children.” However, the Tribune Magazine article seems to be the final straw for the philanthropist. He is pursuing the publication and its editor Chris McLaughlin, for £15,000 in a defamation lawsuit. Not a huge sum it has to be said for defamation but then again look at the assets behind Tribune, which are hardly substantial .Tribune will be assiduously checking its professional indemnity insurance.