An MP could be forced to pay £150,000 to his predecessor if he loses a court battle.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd is being sued for libel by Nigel Waterson, the man he beat at the general election.

The legal wrangle centres around allegations printed in two spoof newspapers distributed during last year’s election, which described Mr Waterson’s expenses claims as “scandalous”.

Mr Waterson, who represented Eastbourne for 18 years, has described the claims as defamatory and has issued a writ to the high court.

Although the former Tory shadow minister insists he is allowing the court to decide what damages are appropriate, he could be in line for £150,000 if his case against Lib Dem Mr Lloyd is successful.

A spokesman for Mr Waterson’s lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is not about money and never has been. This is about Mr Waterson clearing his name after these unfounded and damaging allegations.”

Mr Lloyd’s agent, Rebecca Carr, is also being sued for her part in producing 40,000 copies of the Sussex Courier and the Eastbourne and Willingdon Express.

According to Mr Waterson the stories portrayed his parliamentary expenses claims as “scandalous” and claimed he had abused his position for financial gain.

He is also seeking an injunction banning any repetition of the claims at the heart of the legal tussle.

Lawyers for Mr Lloyd have until February 18 to file their defence.

The Eastbourne MP said: “I am astonished that he is raising this almost nine months after the General Election and I stand by what was said. “The claim is without foundation and the matter is now in the hands of my solicitors. My priority is to carry on fighting for the interests of the people of Eastbourne and Willingdon, and they know that is what I remain totally focused on.”