Kevin Barron versus The Daily Mail

Not for nothing is the Daily Mail known as – well – all sorts of things, but it really is a depressingly low-rent, reactionary paper seemingly existing so it can print the headline “See, We Told You Everything Was Rubbish” when a meteor strikes the earth and wipes us out. Although being The Mail it will probably do so several days too late for it to be classed as current affairs.

Quite why Labour stalwart Kevin Barron cares what the Daily Mail thinks about a left wing MP from the North (my hunch is ‘not much- although at least he’s not an illegal immigrant’) is anyone’s guess. Why he bothers to check baffles me even more, but he took the time to report the Daily Mail to the Press Complaints Commission, when, at the height of the expenses scandal they made an inaccurate claim about him in a paper.

Kevin Barron’s complaint was:

Kevin Barron, MP for the Rother Valley, complained that an article had quoted him as saying that his daughter had done some unpaid work experience with him. In fact, he said, he had never spoken to the newspaper on the issue.

and the outcome was

The newspaper acknowledged that the comment had, in fact, come from Mr Barron’s assistant and agreed to amend its cuttings file and database. The managing editor also wrote directly to the complainant to apologise for the mistake.

So that’s that absolutely massive and potentially embarrassing issue cleared up then. The Mail spoke not to Mr Barron, but his assistant. Phew. We’re still not quite clear on whether or not Kevin Barron’s daughter worked for him as that was not clarified – one can only assume that she hasn’t done unpaid work for him. Maybe she has done paid work? We don’t know – Kevin just wanted to make it clear that any comment on the issue most certainly did not come from him, but from an unaccountable assistant, which could be useful if it turns out if the statement about his daughter is incorrect. You can read the PCC judgement here.

What I find fascinating here is that Kevin Barron MP is seemingly very keen that the correct information is in the public domain, so keen that he will correct the tiniest detail. And yet he won’t tell his constituents why a printer worth a few thousand pounds is necessary for his work, or why he needed thousands of pounds worth of furniture, or why the documentation released with his expenses suggests the capital amount of his mortgage has increased by several thousand pounds.

Big questions that constituents are asking: ignore

Tiny, inconsequential errors in a paper no-one takes seriously: complain to the PCC to get it corrected.

It’s the Kevin Barron way.

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