Labour MP calls for Paul Dacre peerage to be delayed

Posted on October 7, 2022Comments Off on Labour MP calls for Paul Dacre peerage to be delayed

The peerage due to be awarded to Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, should be delayed during the legal action being taken against its publisher over alleged intrusion into privacy, Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and standards chair, has suggested.

Bryant, who formerly chaired parliament’s media committee, questioned whether it was appropriate for Dacre to be handed a peerage by Liz Truss’s government, which is likely to come within days.

“I think some peerages have been delayed while people have been under investigation. You could argue Dacre’s organisation is under investigation so there’s an argument that should be delayed as well,” Bryant said.

He added: “I don’t think that man should be allowed anywhere near the House of Lords. He has already poisoned the well of British politics quite enough.”

Doreen Lawrence and Prince Harry are among those behind the legal action against the publisher of the Daily Mail over the alleged misuse of their private information, including an accusation relating to the placing of listening devices in private homes.

Sir Elton John, David Furnish, Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost are also involved in the action. Their lawyers issued a statement claiming they have “compelling and highly distressing evidence” they have been the “victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy” by Associated Newspapers.

Dacre and Associated Newspapers have been contacted for comment. In a statement on Thursday, Associated Newspapers denied the allegations.

A spokesperson said: “We utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old.

“These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims – based on no credible evidence – appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”

Dacre is one of many Conservatives due to be handed peerages by the government within days, with the Telegraph revealing a list of names in the frame. These include Sir Michael Hintze, a major Tory donor and Australian-born billionaire who was a member of the advisory board of the company of Mark Fullbrook, Truss’s chief of staff. He also helped fund the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate denying thinktank.

Stewart Jackson, a former MP and Brexit hardliner, is also an ex-employee of CT Group, formerly Crosby, Textor, Fullbrook, when Fullbrook’s name was still attached to the company.

Others to be ennobled include Ruth Lea, an economist formerly linked to a string of rightwing thinktanks close to Truss such as the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs, plus Sheila Lawlor, the founder of the Politeia thinktank.

The government also announced on Friday that it was appointing a Simon Murray to the Home Office as a minister of state, and that he would be given a peerage to enable this. However, the Home Office was not able to clarify which Simon Murray had been appointed.

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