London Mayor Boris Johnson is facing a High Court defamation action over an election leaflet referring to RMT General Secretary Bob Crow.
Last month the union called on Mr Johnson’s re-election campaign to withdraw posters it said portrays Mr Crow “as part of a corrupt group of cronies under the control of Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone.”
At the time the union said: “Our opinion is that this poster falsely portrays Bob Crow and RMT as part of some corrupt, venal, scandalous and wasteful group of cronies associated with Ken Livingstone.
“It also seems to portray Bob Crow and RMT as supporters of Ken Livingstone when the truth is that Bob Crow has not supported Mr Livingstone’s campaign as a Labour Candidate for Mayor, is not a member or supporter of the Labour Party and RMT is not affiliated to the Labour Party.”
Mr Johnson’s campaign responded by calling on Londoners to donate to a legal “fighting fund” to defend the campaign.
In a statement issued last month it said: “We will not be silenced. It is all about free speech. So that we can show the risk to London of Ken and his cronies returning to City Hall we are setting up a fighting fund to defend against threatened legal action from Bob Crow.
“We urge all fair minded Londoners who find Ken Livingstone’s cosy relationship with the Union bosses who are bankrolling his campaign as unacceptable to lend us their support.”
On Monday an RMT spokesman confirmed the union has “commenced a High Court action for defamation on Boris Johnson over his Not Ken Again poster campaign which falsely portrays our General Secretary Bob Crow as being part of a culture of political immorality and as having caused serious harm to the interests of people in London.”
The union said it “will be making no further comment and will be giving no interviews on this matter as it proceeds through the legal process.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said he “has instructed his solicitors that he intends to robustly defend this baseless claim.”
Candidates for Mayor include Jenny Jones (Green party), Ken Livingstone (Labour), Lawrence Webb (UKIP) Boris Johnson (Conservative) and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat). A full list of candidates can be found here.