Tuesday 16 November 2010

Campaign for Politicians Complaints Commission

I feel sorry for the Press Complaints Commission and its lack of success in getting any response from Tony Blair to its complaint that references to the press watchdog in his biography are inaccurate.

As reported yesterday, the PCC's director of communications Jonathan Collett has written to Press Gazette pointing out a number of errors in Blair's book about the Commission and adds: "I have informed Mr Blair's representative of these errors, but received no response."

It reminded me that years ago, when politicians were turning up the heat on the press and threatening regulation, one of the tabloids (the Sun, I think) decided to set-up the Politicians Complaints Commission.

The idea was that complaints could be made about any politicitians that had lied to the media or given out inaccurate information. It was a stunt that never got off the ground.

But, intriguingly there is a proper campaign for the setting up of an independent Politicians Complaints Commission by the Jury Team political reform pressure group.

It wants the new body to be modeled on the Independent Police Complaints Commission and able to investigate accusations about national and local politicians.

The Jury Team says:
"Any sanctions against MPs or Lords for their activities are decided by other MPs or Lords who may well have, or at least be seen to have, a vested interest in maintaining generous arrangements and flexibility for their colleagues....It has become quite clear that self policing either by the Privileges Committee or by the Prime Minister is not only ineffective but undermines public confidence.

"The Jury Team therefore proposes the setting up of an independent Politicians Complaints Commission modeled on the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

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