In her acceptance speech to members at the union’s Delegate Meeting, in Southport, Michelle Stanistreet today thanked her supporters and said she looked forward with optimism to her next five-year term.
After claims about Mr Whittingdale’s private life were revealed by the BBC this week, Michelle claimed he had “compromised his position” and been “shielded” by newspaper owners prior to the story’s publication.
During her speech, Michelle, pictured above left, also praised members in the regional press who had taken “collective action” in recent months.
Of Mr Whittingdale, she said: “It’s not his sex life, but that he has compromised his position and integrity by allowing his privacy to be shielded by the newspaper owners who have been leaning on him throughout this time, in order that he deliver on press regulation and on the emasculation of the BBC.
“The reality is that in not coming clean to parliament about a clear conflict of interest, Whittingdale compromised his own position. He’s taken decisions of vital interest where his knowledge of the dirt that (Daily Mail editor) Paul Dacre has had on him cannot but have had an impact.
“We cannot be expected to believe that the sweets he’s served up to the industry on press regulation and the BBC are but a coincidental meeting of minds. He should resign and he should resign right now.”
Michelle went on to praise the 10-day industrial action taken by members at Newsquest South London which secured the London Living Wage for trainees and other concessions.
She added surveys in the UK and Ireland last year showed that pay is one of the greatest issues facing NUJ members, with one in five journalists in the UK having earned less than £20,000 in the past financial year.
The former Daily Express journalist is the union’s first female leader, and had previously held the position of deputy general secretary prior to her unopposed election in 2011.