A Conservative MP has said he will complain to the new press regulator over the “entrapment” by Sunday newspaper which prompted a British government minister to resign.
The Sunday Mirror revealed yesterday that Brooks Newmark – the Minister for Civil Society and a founder of the Women2Win campaign group – had exchanged suggestive pictures over the internet with a reporter posing as a young Tory PR woman.
The 56-year-old married father of five tendered his resignation after learning that the newspaper was about to publish details of their exchanges.
Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin in Shropshire, said on Twitter he would be referring the story to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), which recently replaced the UK's Press Complaints Commission.
He told his 3,200 Twitter followers: “Test case for IPSO Will be making formal complaint over attempted entrapment by Mirror.”
Test for IPSO and Met Police. I will write to both today about Sunday Mirror story. Was the criminal law and IPSO Code of Conduct broken?— Mark Pritchard MP (@MPritchardUK) September 29, 2014
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “It is in the public interest that their actions are fully investigated. This is the first real test as to whether the new body, Ipso, has any teeth.”
The Sunday Mirror said the story was in the public interest.
Alison Phillips, Mirror weekend editor, told the Guardian: “This investigation was brought to the Sunday Mirror by a freelance reporter. The investigation, which had a clear public interest, was carried out following information from a reliable source.”
Britain's Culture Secretary Sajid Javid repeatedly declined to say whether he believed Mr Newmark had fallen victim to a piece of ``legitimate'' journalism.
“Each case is different and I think you can’t just give a yes or no answer,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I don’t know the details of every case and so I would hesitate to say that.”
Pressed on the individual case, he said: “It’s been reported – and I don’t know if it’s entirely correct but it may well be so I have to be careful – there may be some legal action involved in this and I think it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment on it.
“These issues come up again and again. We have made some very significant reforms after this Leveson Inquiry that we had that followed those recommendations.
“The new press body has been created.”
He added: “This issue is a very personal issue for Brooks.”