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Complainant Name:
Mr Joseph Haines

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Daily Telegraph


Mr Joseph Haines complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainant said that the following statement, in an obituary of Geoffrey Goodman, which described Mr Goodman's time heading the government's counter-inflation publicity unit, was incorrect: "Goodman found the experience uncomfortable, not least because of obstruction from Joe Haines, Wilson's chief spin doctor". It had, in fact, been the complainant who had interviewed and offered Mr Goodman the job.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the complainant's letter:

SIR, In your obituary of Geoffrey Goodman, you say that he found his experience as head of the Government's Counter-inflation Unit "uncomfortable, not least because of obstruction from Joe Haines", repeating, in essence, a passage from Tony Benn's diaries. Allow me to set the record straight. The appointment of Goodman came after discussions between Sydney Jacobson, editorial director of the Daily Mirror, Harold Wilson and myself. I saw Goodman in my office at No 10 and offered him the job. The "obstruction" came from an enraged Cabinet Secretary, Sir John Hunt, who came into No 10 waving Goodman's MI5 file and demanding that the appointment be cancelled. I told him that was impossible but, at his insistence, the Prime Minister instructed that Goodman should not see papers marked "confidential" and left me to tell Goodman without saying why, though I did tell him many years later. Far from obstructing Geoffrey in his work, I gave him my deputy, Charles Birdsall, to work as his assistant.

Joe Haines
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Date Published: 06/11/2013

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