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Complainant Name:
Mr Jack Irvine

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Sunday Herald


Mr Jack Irvine, Executive Chairman of Media House International, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that coverage of the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Councillor Steven Purcell was inaccurate and misleading, particularly with regard to his handling of the matter as Mr Purcell's PR advisor.


The complaint was resolved when the newspaper - which had already published a correction on the matter - published the following letter from the complainant:

The circumstances surrounding the resignation of Councillor Steven Purcell were a personal tragedy for the Glasgow City Council leader and I am sure I am not alone wishing him a return to good health.

One of the most worrying aspects of the saga to date was the attitude taken in some quarters by people who failed to comprehend the extent of Councillor Purcell's health problems at the time. The Sunday Herald, in particular, was clearly disappointed that Cllr Purcell had not performed a Tiger Woods-style ‘mea culpa' as he announced his resignation and took the view that this should have been my recommended strategy as his adviser. In fact, Cllr Purcell was in the care of health professionals at the time and was simply not in any position to make detailed statements to anyone.

Instead, the focus swung to the PR ‘strategy' of the handling of Councillor Purcell's resignation and this newspaper went off the deep end, seeing conspiracy, intrigue and spin at every turn. Sometimes things are not that complicated. Councillor Purcell simply asked for my help and he got it. I would do the same again.

As a former newspaper editor I know what it means to chase a story but just because 'full confessions' are not served up immediately in the breathless world of 24 hour news, it doesn't mean there is some sinister conspiracy in operation. If the Sunday Herald reporters had bothered to ask me, which strangely they didn't, they may have formed a more balanced view.

Date Published: 03/06/2010

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