LAURENCE Fox has been ordered to pay a total of £180,000 in damages to two people he referred to as paedophiles on social media after losing a High Court libel battle.

The actor-turned-politician was successfully sued by former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake and drag artist Crystal over a row on Twitter, now known as X.

Fox called Blake and the former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, whose real name is Colin Seymour, “paedophiles” in an exchange about a decision by Sainsbury’s to mark Black History Month in October 2020.

The Reclaim Party founder – who said at the time that he would boycott the supermarket – counter-sued the pair and broadcaster Nicola Thorp over tweets accusing him of racism.

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In a judgment in January, Justice Collins Rice ruled in favour of Blake and Seymour, dismissing Fox’s counter-claims.

In a ruling on Thursday, the judge said Fox should pay Blake and Seymour £90,000 each in damages.

She said: “By calling Blake and Seymour paedophiles, Fox subjected them to a wholly undeserved public ordeal.

"It was a gross, groundless and indefensible libel, with distressing and harmful real-world consequences for them.”

At a hearing in March, Lorna Skinner KC, for Blake and Seymour, had said the pair should receive “at least six-figure sums” from Fox, calling a suggestion the pair should only receive a “modest” award “nonsense”.

However, Patrick Green KC, for Fox, said the starting point of damages should be between £10,000 and £20,000, with the total being “substantially lowered” due to an apology from Fox and the absence of malice.

Ahead of Thursday’s ruling, Fox described the original judgment as a “bullies charter” and said he disagreed “profoundly” with the result.

He said in a post on X: “I don’t know what the judge will award these people. But the costs of these proceedings are enormous.

"So a whopper of a cheque is getting written in the next few days.”

Fox added: “We are seeing the courts used maliciously across the west and that is a very concerning trend. So enjoy the victory guys and I hope it is short lived!”

Justice Collins Rice declined to make an order requiring Fox to publish a summary of the judge’s decision on his Twitter/X account.

During the hearing in March, Green had said there was no need for the Lewis actor to publicise the ruling decision on his social media.

He said in written submissions: “This has been the most high-profile libel action of the year and both the trial and the judgment were massively reported in the media … There can be few, if any, original publishees in the present case who will be unaware of its outcome.”

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The barrister added: “The outcome of this long-running case literally could not be better known than it is already.

“For whatever passing doubts or vague suspicions that may have at some time subsisted in the minds of readers, only a modest financial award in compensation should be due.”

Green added: “The remarks were quickly retracted and apologised for, and at the very least it was clear to the public at large at an early stage that the allegation was baseless.”