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PCC chief stepping down to help Tories' spin

Press Complaints Commission director Guy Black is to leave the newspaper watchdog group in the New Year to become press secretary to the Conservative party leader Michael Howard.

He has been director since summer 1996 and the deputy director, Tim Toulmin, will step in temporarily while a permanent appointment is considered.

Guy said: “The last seven and a half years have been immensely challenging and fulfilling.

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve as the Commission’s director, and I am proud to have helped chart it through some fascinating and stimulating times.”

He said he left the Commission in “excellent shape” and that he knew it would continue under the leadership of Sir Christopher Meyer to provide a “first class service” to the public.

He added: “I would like to pay tribute to all those I have worked with at Salisbury Square since 1996. No director could have been better served by a more loyal and hardworking staff than I have been.”

PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer said: “Guy Black’s contribution to the cause of self regulation and a free press has been immense.

“Today members of the public use the PCC in unprecedented numbers. This is eloquent testimony to Guy’s leadership as director, which has been a model of integrity, expertise and rigour.”

For the remainder of his time as director, Guy will not be dealing with, or advising on, any complaints of a political nature or which involve politicians of any party.

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