MPs fear job losses will cut their coverage

By David Rose

Newspaper proprietors are facing the first signs of a backlash from members of parliament who fear that political coverage will suffer from the axing of journalists’ jobs around the country.

MPs have tabled a Commons motion to allow colleagues to express their concern, and back a plea for proprietors to "put investment in quality journalism"

at the heart of their future strategies.

So far, seven MPs from three parties have put their names to the motion, but it is likely that others will do so when Parliament reassembles on 27 February after a week’s break.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Great Grimsby Labour MP Austin Mitchell, but the SNP’s Angus Robertson and Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd have given their support, indicating concern that Scotland and Wales as well as England have felt the loss of journalists’

jobs.

Other signatories are Labour MPs John McDonnell, Tony Lloyd, David Drew and Kelvin Hopkins.

The motion states: "This House expresses its grave concern at the hundreds of jobs, including those of many journalists, which have been cut at local newspapers in recent weeks, including more than one in five journalists at the Manchester Evening News.

"Profit levels are up to 37 per cent in some parts of the newspaper industry and all local newspaper groups are making substantial profits.

"Coverage of local news, local and national politics, sport, arts and other events will suffer as a result of the cuts and mergers; and therefore we urge newspaper proprietors to put investment in quality journalism at the heart of their future strategies."

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