Mirror's Ruth Kelly story in the public interest

The Press Complaints Commission today ruled that the Daily Mirror's decision to reveal that minister Ruth Kelly sent her child to private school was in the public interest.

The newspaper reported that Kelly had decided to sent one of her children to a private school, which could provide assistance for a pupil with learning difficulties.

Kelly argued that, by naming her, the newspaper had identified her child and interfered with his ability to attend his new school. She did not consider that the article served the public interest to the extent required by the Editors' Code.

The newspaper made clear that it had taken steps to minimise details about the child (omitting its name, age, sex and the identity of the school), and argued that the piece clearly served the public interest.

The Commission recognised the Kelly's concerns for the welfare of her child. However, it also felt that the article highlighted a subject of considerable public interest.

The fact that a Cabinet Minister – who had previously been Secretary of State for Education and Skills – had elected to remove her child from the state system to be enrolled in a private school raised important issues for public debate.

Even if government policy included an acceptance of private schooling for those with special needs, the fact that Kelly did not feel that the current state system could meet her child's requirements raised questions about the nature of publicly-funded schooling and its ability to cater for children with special needs, the Commission ruled.

The Commission concluded that the newspaper had, in its handling of the story, correctly balanced the public's right to know on the one hand with the child's right to privacy on the other. It said that care had been taken to avoid unnecessary intrusion into the child's private life.

As a result, it ruled that there was no breach of Clause Six (Children) of the Editors' Code. The complaint was not upheld

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