MEP slams 'gutter press' after News of the World sting

Roger Helmer MEP has hit back at the News of the World on his blog, after the tabloid accused him and another MEP of exploiting the European Parliament’s expenses system.

NOTW journalist Sophy Ridge – posing as work experience student Arabella Ridge – had secretly filmed fellow MEP Tom Wise saying the European Parliament was “an opportunity to make shedloads of money” on expenses.

Helmer writes in the blog post: “I must admit that I had a passing suspicion…I noticed she seemed to be going to the bathroom every thirty minutes. Bulimia? Changing the tape? Phoning the office?”

Helmer says Ridge was “massively” in breach of the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice and warns that her actions may be of interest to the commission. The paper’s “mundane and routine facts” were turned into “highly pejorative and prejudicial reports which were highly unjustified,” he says, adding “they are probably libellous.”

The MEP admits however he has a “sneaking regard for Arabella/Sophy, In fact I wonder why she doesn’t take up acting full time and go on the stage. Her skills would be better used there than in the tawdry world of tabloid journalism.”

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