Former Royal and Downing Street PR joins PCC

Charles Anson, a former press secretary to the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, has become the latest member of the Press Complaints Commission.

PCC chairman Lord Hunt announced Anson's appointment as a commissioner this morning, just days after confirming the watchdog was being dissolved and transferred to a new body.

His appointment came after an appointments process to find five new public commissioners was kicked off a year ago.

Anson served for seven years as press secretary to the Queen and worked in the Downing Street press office for two Prime Ministers, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher.

He is a past director of communications for three FTSE-100 companies: Kleinwort Benson, Grand Met and The Hilton Group. He joins the commission with immediate effect after Ian Nichol's term expired.

"I applied to be a member of the commission a year ago because I wanted to play my part in the important public service it offers,'said Anson.

'The PCC's work dealing with complaints and helping individuals to achieve redress is rightly recognised as valuable.

'I am looking forward to using my experience to contribute both to this important work, and to the necessary transition to a new system of press regulation in this country".

Lord Hunt added: 'The present period is one of change and transition into a new more robust and rigorous system of independent self-regulation for the newspaper and magazine industry.

'Charles has a distinguished record of public service and experience in the private sector: his counsel and guidance at this time of great change will be invaluable.

'I also wish to record my thanks to Ian Nichol for his hard work and service as public Commissioner over the last six years."

On Thursday Hunt announced the PCC was closing and transferring all staff, assets and liabilities to a new body. The name and structure of the new body has yet to be finalised.

In November the former deputy chairman of the Advertising Standards Agency, Neil Watts, was appointed to the board of PCC.

The PCC has 17 commissioners to rule on complaints, the majority of whom are independent from the press industry.

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