Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely rinsed The Sun after they were forced to print an apology to him on their front page. The concession regarded their recent accusations towards him that he only agreed to be initiated as a Privy Councillor because the Labour Party stood to gain financially from it.
The complaint wasn’t made by Corbyn himself, but a member of the public – former journalist Rosie Brocklehurst who had worked for the Labour Press Office in the mid 1980s. She was upset with a story that ran on September 15th last year and questioned whether the then recently elected leader would go through with the ancient ritual of becoming a privy councillor.
It ran under the headline: ‘Labour hypocrite: Leftie who hates the Royals WILL kiss Queen’s hand to grab £6.2m’. The article was correct in its assumption that Corbyn would complete the ritual, but incorrect in its indication that he was only doing this for state funding, a statement which was grossly incorrect.
Opposition parties are entitled to ‘short money’ to pay researchers and aides, and their leader receives and extra grant of more than £700,000 to cover office expenses under legislation that was passed 40 years ago. Even though there was no precedent for this, The Sun alleged that if Corbyn refused to become a privy councillor then he would not receive this money and this was the only reason he was doing it. This has never happened since the legislation was passed.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation Complaints Commission ruled the following:
It was significantly misleading to claim, as fact, that Labour’s access to Short money (either the £6.2m, or the £777,538.48) was conditional on Mr Corbyn’s joining the Privy Council; the two were not directly connected.
The ruling is even more of a landmark – with the front page retraction – as IPSO has been regarded as weak and feeble since its inception 15 months ago. It has routinely struggled to enforce its authority on powerful newspaper firms so this is a major victory.
Long may it continue – the sings are good as the NHS recently put The Sun in its place over some bogus claims about smoking weed.