Time to give MPs a taste of regulation?

With a general election finally underway, now might be the time to
revive Kelvin MacKenzie’s wheeze of setting up a Politicians’
Complaints Commission.

The then Sun editor came up with the
brainwave in the early Nineties when newspapers were under pressure
from politicians after press self-regulation got a slating in Sir David
Calcutt’s report and the Government looked certain to bring in
statutory controls. The sadly shortlived Politicians’ Complaints
Commission lasted long enough to uphold a complaint against MP Peter
Bottomley for demanding a fax of an exclusive story about his
mother-in-law should be sent to him within five minutes. It also rapped
Prime Minister John Major three times for failing to answer letters.

With
Labour concentrating on portraying Michael Howard as “paranoid” and the
Tories targeting Tony Blair as “untrustworthy”, the personalities of
the party leaders are going to be major targets in the rival campaigns.
Maybe the first complaint to a revived Politicians’ Complaints
Commission could be made against any MP who has the nerve to accuse the
media of focusing on personalities and not policies.

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