Sunday Times cleared over sting on UKIP party boss

The Sunday Times has been cleared of breaching the Editors' Code by using subterfuge to reveal the UK Independence Party boss was employing Polish migrant workers.

UKIP leader Roger Knapman contacted the Press Complaints Commission after an article on 7 May headlined: “Anti-migrant UKIP leader hires Poles”.

He claimed it was inaccurate (clause one of the Code), breached his privacy (clause three) and involved the use of subterfuge (clause ten).

The article reported that Knapman had used Polish workers to renovate his house.
The MEP complained about the use of subterfuge by a reporter who approached his son pretending to be interested in buying a property.
He said that another reporter came to his home, claimed he wanted to use the same builders he was using and then used quotes from the conversation in his article.

Knapman said that subterfuge was unnecessary as he had made no secret that his house was being renovated by some Polish workers. He said he would have answered questions if asked them openly by journalists.

He also said the article contained inaccuracies regarding pay and conditions for the workers and he denied that UKIP was anti-immigrant.

Rejecting his complaint the PCC said: “The Commission was satisfied that there was an element of public interest in the newspaper’s pursuit of this story, given the perceived difference between the complainant’s political position as leader of UKIP and his practice of employing non-UK workers.
“The subterfuge used did not strike the Commission as being disproportionate or unnecessarily intrusive in the context of confirming a story of some public interest. It therefore did not conclude that there was a breach of Clause 10. “

Regarding the privacy side of the complaint, the PCC said: “In stating that he would have been happy to discuss the matter with the newspaper, the complainant had clearly suggested that he did not regard the matter to be private.”

The Times has offered to correct an inaccuracy over the length of time the Polish workers were employed.
The PCC said The Times was justified in voicing its opinion that UKIP was anti migrant.

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