Former prime minister objected to story about more than £2m in fees and expenses received since he stepped down
Gordon Brown’s complaint to the Press Complaints Commission over a Sunday Times story about the more than £2m in fees and expenses received since he stepped down as prime minister has been rejected.
Brown objected to a Sunday Times story in December headlined “Globe-trotting Gordon Brown loses his voice”, which reported that while the MP had not spoken in parliament for more than a year, he was busy “criss-crossing the globe to maintain an international profile”.
Sunday Times reporter Dipesh Gadher went on to detail 28 trips Brown had made according to the MPs’ register of interests since he had last spoken in the Commons on 30 November 2011.
The article also reported that “since leaving No 10, Brown has received more than £2m in fees and expenses — although this has all been ploughed back into his public and charitable activities”.
A complaint was lodged with the PCC by Charlie King, who works for the office of Gordon and Sarah Brown, accusing the Sunday Times of publishing “a deliberate slur” because it had reported that the former Labour prime minister had “received” the money when in fact he had not personally received the fees.
According to the Sunday Times, which reported the PCC’s ruling at the weekend, King had demanded a correction and apology.
Brown’s office had made the complaint under clause 1 of the PCC editors’ code of practice, which relates to accuracy.
The PCC rejected the complaint as the paper had made it clear that the money was not for his personal gain and ruled there was no breach of the accuracy clause.
“It was the commission’s view that the newspaper had not mispresented the situation,” the PCC said in its adjudication, which has not been made public in line with its policy on straightforward cases that do not involve public censure.
“The article had made clear repeatedly that the payments were not for the gain of Mr Brown personally – it stated that the money ‘was not for personal gain’, that it had ‘all been ploughed back into his public and charitable activities’ and that ‘each payment goes to the office of Gordon and Sarah Brown’,” the PCC noted.
Brown’s office had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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