Clauses Noted: 1
Publication: The Sunday Telegraph
Mr Philip Davies MP complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an inaccurate article in breach of the Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The article reported that, in the two years since MPs were informed they could no longer claim mortgage interest on expenses, a number of MPs who had continued to claim had avoided paying "capital gain" on their second homes to parliamentary authorities by saying their properties had decreased in value. The complainant said that the article had incorrectly implied that he had continued to claim for mortgage interest on his second home for two years - in fact, he had claimed for only one year - and wrongly suggested that his flat had increased in value. The article had failed to make clear - despite the newspaper's possession of his precise address - that Zoopla recorded his flat as having decreased in value during that period. As such, it was entirely correct that he should not have paid for an increase in value on the property. The article also incorrectly reported that the property was located in Westminster. The complainant considered that the article had been deliberately designed to bring his honesty and integrity into question.
The newspaper had published an apology making clear that the complainant had continued to claim mortgage interest for one year rather than two. The complainant considered this to be wholly inadequate.
The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following further apology:
Philip Davies MPFollowing "How MPs avoided expenses payback" (Dec 2, 2012), we are happy to make clear that the value of Mr Davies's flat dropped by 3.4 per cent over the period he claimed expenses for it. We accept, therefore, that it was right he was not required to repay Parliamentary authorities for any increase in value. We also wish to clarify that the property is in Lambeth, not Westminster. We apologise to Mr Davies for any contrary impression given by the article.
Date Published: 21/02/2013
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