IPSO’s Sir Alan Moses is in a rush for the three weeks-old new press regulator to get to the bottom of our Brooks Newmark investigation published in the Sunday Mirror. For the record and the avoidance of doubt, Alex Wickham – better known to our readers as WikiGuido – is a fine young journalist with more front page splashes to his name than some of his critics have had in their entire careers. His so-called sting – which was actually evidence gathering – was not an unauthorised operation. There will be no “rogue reporter defence”, it was an agreed plan.
Brooks Newmark was one of the founders of “Women2Win”, a campaign to get more Conservative women into politics. Newmark had a certain reputation among younger Tory women for being, for want of a better word, a bit of a creep. Think what his position gave him access to – ambitious, younger women. As with Lord Rennard that combination has obvious temptations.
MPs have been shown to be corrupt in the past by sting operations; Cash for Questions and Byers for Hire revealed MPs exploiting their positions for financial gain. How do our critics expect us to prove an MP is exploiting his position for carnal gain?
This was no fishing operation, it was a narrowly targeted effort. The Sophie Wittams Twitter account followed almost 100 MPs as part of the cover story – not to target them – which is obvious given that many of them were women MPs and the list included the Prime Minister. There was no intention to trap the PM.
If IPSO finds against the Daily Mirror it won’t prove it has teeth, it will prove as we told the Leveson Inquiry, that “media standards” are really a form of censorship that will protect the powerful from having their wrongdoings uncovered. This blog will never bow to the censors – we will continue to use subterfuge and clandestine methods to go after wrong ‘uns – there is no other way.