UK government official apologizes, pays damages after falsely accusing professor of supporting Hamas

  • A government official in Britain has apologized and paid damages to a professor she had accused of expressing sympathy for Hamas.
  • Science Secretary Michelle Donelan admitted there was “no evidence” of the professor supporting Hamas.
  • The damages paid by Donelan were from public funds, but the exact amount remains undisclosed.

British taxpayers have been left footing the bill after a Cabinet minister apologized and paid damages to an academic she had accused of expressing sympathy for Hamas.

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan acknowledged there was “no evidence” that Kate Sang, a professor of gender and employment studies at Heriot-Watt University, supported Hamas, which is outlawed as a terrorist group in Britain.

“I fully accept that she is not an extremist, a supporter of Hamas or any other proscribed organization and I note that an independent investigation has concluded that there is no evidence that she is. I have deleted my original post to my X account,” Donelan said Tuesday.

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Donelan paid an undisclosed sum in damages, which came from public funds.

Michelle Donelan

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan arrives for the cabinet meeting on Oct. 11, 2022, in London, England. British taxpayers have been left footing the bill after Donelan apologized and paid damages to a professor she had accused of expressing sympathy for Hamas. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Donelan complained to public body U.K. Research and Innovation in October after Sang tweeted “this is disturbing,” linking to a Guardian newspaper newspaper about the government urging police to crack down on pro-Palestinian demonstrations following the Hamas attack on Israel. Sang is a member of UKRI’s advisory group on equality, diversity and inclusion.

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In the letter, which was also posted on social media, Donelan demanded Sang and another academic, Kamna Patel, be removed from their posts on the body.

U.K. Research and Innovation investigated and found no evidence either academic had expressed extremist views or support for Hamas.

Sang, who had launched a libel action, said she was “delighted that this matter has now concluded, but very disturbed by the way in which Michelle Donelan and UKRI behaved.” She said she would donate part of the financial settlement to charity.

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