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Complainant Name:
Mr Martin Webster

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Evening Standard

Complaint:

Mr Martin Webster complained that an article about the death of Blair Peach in the Southall riot of 23 April 1979 was inaccurate and misleading in regard to the involvement of the National Front. He was also concerned that the newspaper had failed to respond to his direct correspondence before lodging a formal complaint with the PCC.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following letter from the complainant:

Your article of 15 April about the death of Blair Peach in the Southall riot of 23 April 1979 claimed that a National Front "rally" was "an act of deliberate provocation". In fact, the rioting commenced at 1.30pm, six hours before the meeting was due to start, with no NF presence. There were no "clashes between white skinheads and ‘pretty angry Asians youths'" and no members of the NF were arrested on that day.

The NF meeting was a public election meeting organised on behalf of John Fairhurst, its candidate in the impending General Election.

There was never any instance of NF members "rampaging around Brick Lane", let alone "every weekend". NF members had a long-established pitch at the corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road where they sold party publications on Sundays, which became a target of demonstrations by the NF's opponents from 1978 onwards.

Report: 79



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