Matt Hancock Writes to IPSO Demanding Censorship

Matt Hancock has written to IPSO demanding they protect his children by stopping the publishing of the picture of him and Gina Coladangelo snogging in his Ministerial office:

Dear IPSO,

I am writing to ask your help to protect my children, following widespread media coverage of my personal life in the last few months.

Now, more than three months after my resignation as Secretary of State, there is no longer any public interest whatsoever in any publication about my private life, or the private life of my partner Gina Coladangelo or either of our families. While a perfectly reasonable case could have been made while I was in Government, there is clearly now no public interest case for invasion of our privacy. I am grateful to the many publications that no longer carry such inappropriate material.

Over the past two days pictures have been published of Gina and I on a private visit abroad. There was no public interest case in doing so. We have also been approached by members of the press relating to our private lives.

Specifically, there is no public interest justification for continued publication of the photograph and video first published that led to my resignation. The continued publication of this picture and video is causing significant harm to our children.

I would therefore request that all media outlets:

– cease publication of any material relating to our private lives, whether photographic or written

– cease publication of the past photograph and video

None of the parties with any knowledge of our private lives will be commenting to the media on these matters in the foreseeable future.

I would be grateful if you could alert IPSO members to our very clear position on this matter, and reinforce the importance of your members’ adherence to the Editors’ Code.

Yours sincerely


That horse has bolted through the office doorway. As for the video of Matt and Gina in Split which was circulating widely on social media after a holidaying Briton spotted them and whipped their smartphone out, asking IPSO to intervene would not make any difference. More importantly, as Matt told parliament after the Leveson Inquiry, when he was the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

“Over many centuries in Britain, our press has held the powerful to account and been free to report and investigate without fear or favour. These principles underpin our democracy and are integral to our freedom as a nation.”

The harm done to his children was, as he must know in his heart, a consequence of his own actions. The pictorial reminder disappearing from the papers won’t change that…

mdi-timer 25 October 2021 @ 22:05 25 Oct 2021 @ 22:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
QC Owner of Seal Killing Dog Claimed Right to Privacy

Before getting sympathetic coverage in the Evening Standard this afternoon, Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC instructed lawyers Schillings to bully the media into not naming her. She cited the Cliff Richard case to invoke a supposed right-to-privacy in an attempt to keep her name out of the story. Sabben-Clare had let her dog off its leash and it attacked and mauled the ten-month old seal pup that had become known as “Freddie Mercury” for its entertaining nature. The seal was put down as a result of its injuries.

Rebecca Sabbren-Clare set legal dogs Schillings on the press yesterday afternoon to try and cover-up her name, when that didn’t work after the Mail Online named her, Rebecca Sabben-Clare switched tactics and cooperated with a soft-soap PR puff piece telling the Standard:

I am heartbroken by this terrible accident. As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed. I apologise unreservedly for what happened. In hindsight I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary.

Yet another example of the rich and powerful trying it on with lawyers to muzzle the press. Shame Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC didn’t muzzle her dog. Didn’t work and Schillings have lost again…

mdi-timer 24 March 2021 @ 14:30 24 Mar 2021 @ 14:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Poster Banned As “Political”, the Wrong Kind of Political

The business backed campaign to unlock the economy, Recovery, is not a crazy bunch of covid deniers or anti-vaxxers. Their stated aim is to speed up the opening of the economy now the vaccination campaign has covered the vulnerable and starting to cover low-risk adults. A reasonable position, the sequencing is a matter of debate and as the PM told us dependent, on the data. The poster has been banned.

JC Decaux, the world’s largest poster company, have refused to run it saying “due to the political undertones within the messaging of the artwork we are unable to run this campaign.” JC Decaux has run countless political campaigns over the years, so that’s nonsense. The Government itself has spent £184 million on advertising over the past year, a fair proportion with JC Decaux.

Similarly, a poster site at Salford owned by Trafford Council, banned the poster from being used. Trafford Council said

“… unfortunately we won’t be able to carry the client on the TraffordCity roadside digital. As explained these roadside sites sit on Trafford Council land who have to approve artwork… Having looked at the website, unfortunately this would NOT be allowed as it is political and breaches our advertising policy.”

The campaign offered to change the poster design to no avail.

One-sided bans on political advertising are a dangerous form of censorship, like a lot of what is going on currently it is a slippery slope. Recovery is making a fair-minded political argument about the timing of the wind-down of this lockdown. We don’t suspend democratic argument in pandemic…

mdi-timer 23 March 2021 @ 15:20 23 Mar 2021 @ 15:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
We Won’t Comply With Sturgeon’s Crown Office Censors Because When Truth is Silenced, the Silence is a Lie

Today’s Spectator has a leader (The Crown Office, The Spectator and a Fight for a Free Press) which explains how the Crown Office, led by a member of Sturgeon’s cabinet, is seeking to censor and redact Alex Salmond’s allegations against Sturgeon. Allegations which were published on the Holyrood Parliament’s website, in the Spectator and here on Guido. The Crown Office subsequently instructed that they be removed from the Scottish Parliament’s website, the parliamentary authorities meekly complied. Which signals the Scottish Parliament is subordinate to the Scottish executive. A constitutional state affairs that is not the case in Westminster.

We reported and explained the story to our readers here, taking care not to name any witnesses, which we thought responsible. We produced another story after the take down highlighting an example of a redaction demanded, specifically where Salmond’s original submission states that Sturgeon’s tale to the Scottish Parliament of when she first learned of complaints “is untrue and is a breach of the Ministerial Code”. The redacted version deleted this entirely. We described this as “fishy”.

The Scottish Crown Office subsequently wrote to us on March 5th demanding we remove the article. Guido decided to ignore it as it seemed unlikely to prejudice matters or reveal witnesses. The Spectator has taken the same approach to the same letter.

The Crown Office even told us not to tell our readers about its demand, which we are now also ignoring. As the Spectator’s leader puts it

“we can’t be silent about its mendacious threats to a free press. Even if we end up succumbing to its censorship, we can still put its methods on record. This is how the SNP government and its supine supporters operate. The recently passed Hate Crime Act gives them even more powers to menace the press. Scotland is being ushered towards an era of censorship, threats and state repression. The good news for those who cherish the principles of democratic debate — and those of the Scottish Enlightenment — is that this will not happen without a fight.”

Guido wouldn’t comply with an instruction from a Chinese Communist Party official to censor criticism and has no intention of complying with a Scottish National Party cabinet official’s demands. Fraser Nelson and Andrew Neil may be more vulnerable to threats from the Scottish jurisdiction. Good luck extraditing Guido’s editor to Scotland…

mdi-timer 18 March 2021 @ 12:54 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Judge Blocks Assange Extradition

Judge orders Assange’s discharge, blocks extradition on the grounds that his mental state makes it likely he would commit suicide if extradited. US government likely to appeal decision…

Guido’s view, for the record, is that whilst Assange is a monumental pain in the arse and an unpleasant person in many ways, it is a dangerous and slippery path to jail him for journalism. Mainstream newspapers published his stuff without facing consequences. Why should he feel the might of the US government’s anger at him, for embarrassing them by publishing the truth?

Not certain he’ll be released from custody. Though in full lockdown it won’t be much of a change for him if he is released.

mdi-timer 4 January 2021 @ 11:01 4 Jan 2021 @ 11:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Wants to Give State Power to Ban Websites


Last week Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he was appointing Amal Clooney as the UK’s envoy on media freedom. Today Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has put out a government White Paper on ‘Online Harms’ which includes proposals for a regulator which will have the power to ban the websites of non-compliant companies from being accessed in the UK at all. Someone tell Amal quick!

You would think that the likes of Facebook and Twitter would be up in arms – they are not because as Dom Hallas, Executive Director of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says

“Everyone, including British startups, shares the goal of a safer internet – but these plans will entrench the tech giants, not punish them. The vast scope of the proposals means they cover not just social media but virtually the entire internet – from file sharing to newspaper comment sections. Those most impacted will not be the tech giants the Government claims they are targeting, but everyone else. It will benefit the largest platforms with the resources and legal might to comply – and restrict the ability of Britissh startups to compete fairly. There is a reason that Mark Zuckerberg has called for more regulation. It is in Facebook’s business interest.”

86% of UK investors surveyed by Coadec say that proposals claiming to tackle tech giants could lead to poor outcomes that inadvertently damage tech startups and hamper competition. As with the GDPR and we are likely to see with the Copyright Directive, the tech giants are in fact best placed to absorb wide-ranging regulation. There is a real risk of the global platforms getting bigger and British startups suffering.

There is also a risk that a future Corbyn govenment will use the legislation against political opponents. When you see the likes of Owen Jones being applauded for describing the Spectator, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and of course Guido, as “spreading hate”, you can easily imagine the legislation being used by a Corbyn government to close down dissident media. This is a dangerous path being foolishly and short-sightedly cheered on by newspapers who think it will scupper the global platforms who are eating into their advertising revenue.

See: Coadec report with the survey data referred to can be found in full here.

mdi-timer 8 April 2019 @ 09:45 8 Apr 2019 @ 09:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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