Another reminder of why politicians should be kept away from press regulation (From The Northern Echo)
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Another reminder of why politicians should be kept away from press regulation
Politicians help to set standards so they have to live by them. Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate should, therefore, be ashamed that he has been found guilty of breaching rules in a "cash-for-access" scandal.
He does not, however, appear to be ashamed. Far from it. Instead, he has dismissed the prospect of a six-month suspension from the House of Lords as "a bit of gardening leave".
He has trotted out the "we all make mistakes" line and condemned The Sunday Times for its use of "entrapment". In other words, he was caught red-handed trying to use his position of influence for personal gain and he doesn't like it.
The Sunday Times should, of course, be congratulated, not condemned, for exposing the willingness of the Darlington-born Lord "to negotiate an agreement which would involve him providing parliamentary services in return for payment".
It is another example of strong investigative journalism which underlines why politicians should be kept away from press regulation.
There is a place for entrapment in journalism if there is reason to believe that wrong-doing is taking place, and if the trap produces a catch which is in the public interest.
There is no ambiguity in what Lord Mackenzie did. It was plain wrong, he should have had no doubt that it was plain wrong, and taxpayers have an absolute right to know that he is the type to cross the line if someone crosses his palm with silver.
The question is whether he should be allowed back in the House of Lords after six months. Having been found guilty of such a breach of the rules for personal gain, how can he be trusted to play a credible part in the political process again?
Sorry, but it should be the end of the peer show.
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