Christopher Meyer found himself under attack on a new front this week
when MPs accused the Press Complaints Commission of failing “to uphold
the highest standards of journalism”.
Led by Grimsby MP Austin
Mitchell, five Labour MPs and one Liberal Democrat MP tabled a Commons
motion criticising the PCC and its chairman for failing to uphold a
complaint against the Daily Express over its “Bombers are all sponging
asylum seekers” headline.
On 15 December Meyer will be appearing
before the Commons Public Administration Committee to defend himself
against criticisms that his memoirs of his experiences as ambassador to
Washington, DC Confidential, breaches trust with ministers and makes
him unfit to remain as PCC chairman.
But another Commons motion
urging him to resign as chairman has attracted only 30 signatures two
weeks after it was tabled, suggesting that it lacks widespread support.
the new offensive, Austin Mitchell called on the Government to make the
PCC a public body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.
Such a move would require the PCC to release relevant papers showing
how it arrives at decisions.
“The PCC is failing to address the
concerns about unethical journalism and the threat it poses to social
cohesion within communities,” Mitchell’s motion claims.