28/02/2017 10:44 GMT | Updated 28/02/2017 15:31 GMT

Jack Monroe Has Begun Libel Proceedings Against Katie Hopkins For ‘Harmful Tweets’

The spat saw Monroe brand Hopkins 'a piece of shit.'

Food blogger and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe is claiming damages from MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins.

Monroe, whose father served in the Falklands War and whose brother is in the RAF, claims Hopkins falsely accused them of vandalising a war memorial, causing “serious harm” to their reputation.

Monroe, who identifies outside the binary construct of gender and prefers the gender-neutral pronoun ‘they’ and title ‘Mx’, is asking a judge at the High Court in London to find that they were “defamed” by the former Apprentice contestant.

At the heart of the action, which began on Monday, is a posting on Twitter in May 2015.

Food blogger Jack Monroe 

Monroe says the tweet meant they had either vandalised a war memorial, and “thereby desecrated the memory of those who fought for their freedom and had committed a criminal act”, or that they “condoned or approved” of the criminal vandalisation of a war memorial.

Hopkins posted: “@MsJackMonroe scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”

Monroe responded almost immediately to Hopkins with: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of shit.”

MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins 

Twitter had erupted after a memorial to the women of the Second World War in Whitehall was daubed with the words “Fuck Tory scum” during an anti- austerity demonstration.

Monroe, 28, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, also claims that a second tweet by Hopkins bore a “defamatory innuendo meaning” that they “approved or condoned the criminal vandalisation of the women’s war memorial in Whitehall during an anti-government protest”.

Their lawyer William Bennett told Mr Justice Warby: “The claimant’s primary case is that by reason of the seriousness of the allegations and the scale of publication, serious harm to reputation has been caused.

“A widely published allegation that someone has either vandalised a war memorial or approved of such an act will inevitably cause serious damage to reputation.”

Mr Bennett said “the libel was a particular affront to her because part of her identity is as a member of a family closely involved with the armed forces”.

Even after Hopkins deleted the first tweet, “she did not apologise or retract the allegation even though she knew it was false”, he said.

Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge in written argument that her case was that “this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours”.

He argued that “no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm”, to Monroe’s reputation resulted from it.

Mr Price said her case was that “these proceedings are an unnecessary and disproportionate epilogue to the parties’ otherwise forgotten Twitter row”.

Monroe rejected Mr Price’s suggestion that rather than it being the worst thing to happen to them on Twitter, which was their evidence, it was in fact the best thing because it gave them the opportunity to bring the proceedings.

They told the court: “These proceedings have been a nightmare. It has been an 18-month, unproductive, devastating nightmare.

“I did not want to be here today. I have offered several times though my lawyer to settle these proceedings outside court. This is the last thing that I wanted to be doing.”