17th October 2017

At the end of September Trinity Mirror, owners of the Daily Mirror and a number of regional titles published a story about a court hearing concerning myself and my former wife. The articles contained a number of allegations which were untrue, were not an accurate reflection of the facts, were unbalanced and defamatory. At no time prior to publication did any journalist approach me to check the truthfulness of the claims they intended to print.

The story was then also repeated by the Daily Mail and the Sun.

My lawyers immediately contacted Trinity Mirror and explained why the articles were untrue, unfair, unbalanced and defamatory. They then demanded the articles be removed, an apology printed and my legal costs covered. Were these reasonable demands not met, my lawyers were instructed to issue proceedings for libel accordingly.

Trinity Mirror have today written to my lawyers and confirmed that all articles across all their titles have now been deleted and have issued an apology to me which states "We accept that [the articles] gave a misleading impression to readers.....".

For the avoidance of doubt the family court case was brought by my former wife for the enforcement of Spousal Maintenance to which she was no longer due. The court agreed with my position that she was not in fact entitled to further payments and dismissed her application accordingly. In addition, contrary to what was printed I did not seek at any time to end child maintenance payments and I continue to pay child maintenance in full. I happily financially support my children. Furthermore, allegations that I ’moaned’ in Court are completely without merit or foundation as the article failed to accurately reflect that I was obliged by Court Order to disclose my finances, including my Parliamentary expenses, and was answering questions on them.

I regret that Trinity Mirror failed to abide by basic journalistic standards in the way it covered what, even for a Member of Parliament, should have been a private matter and furthermore in misreporting what was said in the context of a family court matter. This has caused both myself and my family a great deal of distress.

I am pleased that this matter has now come to an end with apologies by the media outlets. Cllr Wyatt who commented on the story also retracted his statement.

Unfortunately being exposed to this sort of reporting is a sad fact of public life, although arguably it should not be, as even public servants should have a reasonable expectation of being able to resolve what should be private family issues without intrusive and inaccurate media coverage.

I am a public servant, and honoured to be one. But I am also a husband and a father - and these different facets of ones life need to be better understood and the media should show both more restraint and a greater desire for truthfulness in order to prevent the press being brought into disrepute, something which undoubtedly leads to calls for stronger privacy laws, something which in general terms I do not support. Freedom of speech is the life-blood of a free society and a democracy but it must be exercised responsibly , accurately and within the law for its own protection.

Newspaper Apologies

| Daily Mail
| Leicester Mercury
| Nottingham Post
| The Mirror


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