A Labour MP has threatened to take her local paper to the Press Complaints Commission for failing to mention her attendance at local events or use her photograph.
Brent South MP Dawn Butler fired off an angry missive to the Willesden and Brent Times protesting at what she saw as its “biased” coverage.
Ms Butler accused the paper of omitting stories about events that she attended across the constituency and failing to use her press releases.
Copies of her letter were sent to the PCC and also to senior managers at the paper’s owners, Archant.
“I find it very insulting to be continually omitted from your paper and consider it rather unjust to the community to be completely ignored in articles of events where I was present,” wrote Ms Butler.
“The ignoring and lack of reporting by the W&B Times on events and stories that I have undertaken on behalf of my constituents in Brent can no longer be passed as circumstantial coincidences but only as a bias against me.”
Ms Butler cited two examples of local events she had attended where her name and picture had been omitted from the paper’s write-up.
She also complained that the paper ignored a Commons press conference she had held on gun crime while reporting a neighbouring Lib Dem MP’s intervention in a Commons debate on the same subject the following day.
Willesden and Brent Times editor Tim Cole commented: “It’s all water off a duck’s back. We will continue to be as critical of politicians as we can be and no doubt continue to offend them in the coming months and years.”
He added that since the letter was sent, he had had “a very pleasant lunch” with Ms Butler and that he hoped they had resolved their differences.
|Matt (12/08/2008 11:33:07)
This story instantly annoyed me – an MP demanding a right to be covered! Why? The self-importance and pomposity of it was initally staggering. But on reflection…does she have a point? Has the paper got a political bias (it has been known), what stories have been missed? Where they are of genuine interest to peoople in Brent? Why didn’t they appear? What overtures has she made to the paper. What has the opaper done to improve its relationship with an elected representative? Is the lack of coverage cock-up or conspiracy?
Of course, this story, typically, answers none of these interesting and important questions. Must do better.
Alex Bailey (13/08/2008 09:59:03)
I live in Brent which has 2 Labour MPs and 1 Lib Dem and whilst the coverage of the Lib Dem MP is slavishly obsequious the other 2 MPs largely appear as targets of criticism or humour.
My partner and I now refer to this rag as the Willesden & Lib Dem Times.
But, a paper that is so in hock to the advertising monies of estate agents, escort agencies, phone sex lines and prostitutes is probably not a paper no respectable MP would want to be featured too heavily in.