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New regional lobby chairman to seek better access for political journalists

Patrick_DalyThe organisation which represents regional political correspondents in Westminster has appointed a new chairman.

Patrick Daly, parliamentary correspondent for the Bristol Post, Hull Daily Mail and Grimsby Telegraph, has taken on the role with the Newspaper Conference, having previously served as the organisation’s vice chairman.

Patrick’s appointment follows the departure of previous chair Kate Langston, formerly of the Yorkshire Post, from the Westminster lobby last month.

Kate, who took on the role last spring, is now working as an intern at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

Patrick, pictured, began his career at the Plymouth Herald as a political correspondent and general news reporter before moving to Westminster to work for Trinity Mirror sister dailies the Post, Mail and Telegraph in November 2015.

He has signalled his intention to campaign for better access for regional political journalists as well as his opposition to moves to restrict press freedom.

The House of Lords recently voted to include a clause in the Data Protection Bill similar to Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which would force newspapers who did not sign-up to a state-approved watchdog to pay both sides’ costs in a libel or privacy action, as well as a second Leveson-style inquiry.

Said Patrick: “What worries me about Leveson 2 and Section 40 is the prospect that local newspapers could be wiped out in one fell swoop if we do not sign-up to a state-approved regulator. That would see both local accountability and livelihoods vanish even though the paper did nothing wrong.

“It could also mean less exposes into the behaviour of public figures, with editors less keen to back their journalists’ exclusives if it means having to get the lawyers involved. As much as some anti-free press campaigners might like that, it would be dreadful for democracy.

“During my time as chair of the regional lobby, I want to ensure better access for regional newspaper political journalists, who report on the events in Westminster for their communities up and down the UK, so we can keep breaking the scoops we’re known for.”