Journalist Zoe Mills has hit out at her former editor for highlighting a caption competition showing a picture of her with Tory MP James Gray, who had an affair while his wife was suffering from breast cancer.
The former Wiltshire Gazette and Herald chief reporter believes the picture, which appeared on anonymous political blogger Guido Fawkes’s site, suggested she could be the mistress. Gray was publicly lambasted for his affair with Philippa Mayo.
Mills, who is now news editor on the Ilford Recorder, ran a campaign in the summer to save a hospital in Wiltshire and a photograph of her and Gray was published in the Gazette outside the newspaper’s offices.
Guido Fawkes agreed to take down the blog entry, but not until 109 captions had been entered.
Gazette and Herald editor Gary Lawrence said on the newspaper’s website that the MP was “the subject of a, how should I put it, robust blog featuring him and our former reporter Zoe Mills in a picture, to which readers are invited to submit captions. So far there have been more than 100 entries. You can add your’s here. Be warned, some are a bit close to the knuckle.”
Mills said: “I don’t even want to go into what these captions said – it’s an embarrassment to me. What I was annoyed about was [Lawrence] having a right old laugh about it and linking people to the site. Nowhere did it explain that I wasn’t the mistress. It’s not very professional.”
Lawrence insisted his blog made reference to Gray’s affair with Mayo. He said: “The captions I saw were about that. If I had been aware of any personal comments about Zoe then I wouldn’t have put the link on there.”