Debbonaire Criticises Sky/Tortoise ‘Westminster Files’ as “Misleading”

Shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire used an appearance on Newsnight last night to criticise some of the reporting by Sky and Tortoise on donations to MPs. After an interview about Nadhim Zahawi’s taxes, Kirsty Wark widened the discussion to questions about MPs’ finances as a whole. Citing the ‘Westminster Files’ data investigation by Sky and Tortoise, she described it as an attempt to shine a light on what MPs get from whom. Thangam cut in:

 “That’s not strictly accurate, what they did was they showed donations as well as income. And frequently what I saw on Sky was a collapsing of the two things together. So there was some reporting which was misleading and said ‘so and so received such and such money’ when actually it had gone to their campaign, or to their constituency party.”

Thangam’s right about this – as Tom Harwood wrote recently. Investigating money in politics is an ancient pursuit for journalists, however implying that Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer or Rebecca Long-Bailey had money put into their personal bank accounts by donors to their respective leadership campaigns is obvious nonsense. Some MPs saw the Sky News website sloppily imply they’d personally pocketed money given by groups to fund policy experts in their offices, or pay for leaflets for their local constituency association. The Sky/Tortoise website stripped the context out to imply something darker happening in British politics. It muddied the water, it didn’t make things clearer…

mdi-tag-outline Donors Newsnight
mdi-account-multiple-outline Thangam Debbonaire
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