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Were these MPs’ expenses stories misleading? The screen grabs

As reported on the main site ["Telegraph 'didn't tell any lies but was selective in its facts' - says Lib Dem Voice site editor"] several MPs, or others on their behalf, have voiced various concerns in regards to claims about their expenses in the Daily Telegraph, and subsequently reproduced in other stories by other media organisations.

Here are the screen grabs of the Telegraph and other news organisations’ headlines, in the order featured in the article, with links to the complaints. If you wish to add any examples, your own thoughts or information about the questions raised, please leave them in the comments below, or email Judith at journalism.co.uk. As stated in the original article, a spokesman from the Telegraph said: “The Daily Telegraph does not discuss individual cases.”

Update: the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has confirmed that it has not received any complaints from MPs over stories about expenses to date. Generally, third parties cannot complain on the first party’s behalf.

1. Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire
Issues raised on Quaequam blog by James Graham [he discloses that he is a friend of Swinson's] and other Liberal Democrat blogs, e.g. Mark Reckons.

Swinson denies claiming for eyeliner or other cosmetics and dusters but said they were included on the same receipt as items she did claim for.

  • Telegraph.co.uk May 21, 2009. The online version reproduced below; the print version of the headline read: ‘Tooth flosser, eyeliner and 29p dusters for the makeover queen’

swinson1

bbcswinson

mailswinson


2. Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly
Issues raised on the Liberal Democrat Voice website in a piece by Alix Mortimer and also by George in media interviews: the MP claims that he owns a third of the flat in question, it is for his use, and is only used by his daughter occasionally.

andrewgeorge

3. Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat MP for Argyll & Bute
In the same piece (see above) on the Liberal Democrat Voice website, Mortimer claims that unfair criticisms were made of Reid’s B&B expenses: she argues that the size of his Scottish constituency, and the number of islands within it, more than justifies the money spent. Other pro-Lib Dem bloggers, Andrew Reeves and Stephen Glenn make similar points.

alanreid

4. Andrew Turner, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight
The VentnorBlog reproduces Turner’s response to the Telegraph the day before publication. It shows that Turner denied claiming for life coaching for his girlfriend, stating that it was for another member of staff in his office. Turner also responds to the allegations on his site. Issues raised on OUuseful.info.

andrewturner1

5. Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham
Gloucestershiretoday.co.uk has published an article reporting that the Telegraph apologised to Horwood for stating that he had claimed mortgage interest in parliamentary expenses.

martinhorwood

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Election 2.0: blogs, video and mobile streaming out in force for local election coverage

May 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

The BBC’s coverage of today’s local elections will feature live blogging, with comments being expertly sifted by Newsnight and BBC News 24 presenter Emily Maitlis, assisted by leading political bloggers Iain Dale, Luke Akenhurst and Alix Mortimer.

The elections see 4000 seats up for grabs at 159 councils nationally, along with the London Mayoralty and the London Assembly.

“It’s become increasingly clear that the web has something extra to offer on election night. An elaborate network of opinion formers, activists and analysts collide online producing fact, rumour, and mood not found anywhere else.” Craig Oliver, editor of BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten, wrote on the BBC Editors Blog.

“While guarded politicians offer the official line on radio and TV, the web provides the unvarnished truth about what the parties are really thinking.”

Harnessing new web technology for election coverage is not exclusively the domain of national big guns. The Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo will have reporters at each of the 10 vote counts in the area, who will feed to a live blog accessible on both sites.

There will be newspaper staff at three of the counts – Liverpool, Wiral and Knowsley – using mobile phone technology to stream live reports and a TV unit will produce a video package of events. The final video version is expected to go live by 7am in time for the morning rush.

“Harnessing the new technology on the Post and Echo sites will enable us to bring the most comprehensive coverage of local elections to readers who now demand nothing less,” said Alastair Machray, editor of the Liverpool Echo, in a press statement.

The titles attempted online election coverage last year, which was viewed by over 4,000 people. The sites have since been relaunched and with improved technology the two expect the coverage to be a hit with voters.

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