PCC to review rules as MPs step up attack

By David Rose

The Press Complaints Commission is to review its rules and
procedures following the row over the controversial memoirs of Sir
Christopher Meyer.

The move, clearly designed to safeguard confidence in the newspaper
industry’s self-regulation, is to ensure that rules dealing with
potential conflicts of interest involving the chairman and commission
members are robust and transparent.

Sir Christopher revealed the review when he again faced demands from MPs, which he rejected, to step down as PCC chairman.

Labour
MPs claimed DC Confidential, the memoirs of his time as Washington
Ambassador, had breached trust with ministers and made him unfit to
chair the independent body that investigates complaints against the
press.

While Sir Christopher defended himself against hostile
cross-examination by the Commons Public Administration Committee, which
met before Christmas, he acknowledged that “the situation has given
rise to concerns and embarrassment” for the PCC.

“Members of the
PCC have met to discuss the criticism, and agreed to work with me to
strengthen public confidence in our work further,” he told MPs.

“The
PCC has decided to review the rules and procedures relating to
potential conflicts of interest incurred by the chairman, commission
members or the secretariate to ensure that they are robust and
transparent. The outcome of this review will be made public.”

Sir
Christopher added that serialisation of DC Confidential in The Guardian
and Daily Mail had been approved by the Press Standards Board of
Finance.

He said: “I remain committed to the successful self-regulation of the press and the independence of the PCC.”

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