Friday 23 August 2013

Telegraph apologises to UKIP IoW candidate for publishing false quotes

The Daily Telegraph have published a correction on their website to an article they published during the May elections falsely attributing extreme remarks to Isle of Wight UKIP candidate Richard Wilkins.

The reporter in question - who has now moved to the Guardian - appears to have lied to the police about recording the phone conversation with the hoax caller.  Lying to the police is a serious enough offence in itself - publishing false statements about a candidate in an election makes it a far more serious offence.

The Press Complaints Commission have carried out an investigation and found against the newspaper and the journalist, Rowena Mason.  The paper have apologised to Wilkins but his good name and reputation has been dragged through the mud and the election unduly influenced.

Wilkins was tipped off about the person impersonating him by a local member of the Conservative Party.  The Chairman of the Isle of Wight Conservative Party also made an allegation at the same time that Wilkins had falsified signatures on his nomination papers.  If memory serves me the word at the time was that the alleged false signature was a member of the local Conservative Party.  Nigel Farage personally intervened in the case and wrote to the Tory Chairman, Alan Wells, pointing out that Wilkins submitted 14 signatures to the elections office when only 10 were necessary and so had no need to falsify any of them.

The evidence suggests a dirty tricks campaign by the local Conservative Party and hopefully Hampshire Police will reopen their investigation into this very serious matter and get to the bottom of who is behind it.