The Sun was told to apologise to Jeremy Corbyn, but did so in the smallest way it could

The Sun has printed a correction on its front page today for claiming the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the privy council in order for his party to benefit financially. The paper reported that Corbyn would “kiss the Queen’s hand” in order to “grab £6.2m.”

The £6.2 million claim made by The Sun was based on something called “short-money,” which is public money given to political parties who are in opposition to help them cover running costs. By accepting a place on the Privy Council, an ancient advisory body to the Queen, the Sun claimed that Corbyn would secure his position as leader of the Labour party and £777,538.48 in short-money that would be given to help run his leadership office.

Here is the offending Sun front page.

A complaint was made to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) saying that there was no basis for the claim Corbyn joined the Privy Council in order to secure the £6.2 million in funding. While Ipso said that The Sun was entitled to speculate about the potential consequences of Corbyn refusing to join the Privy Council, it found some significant problems with the terms in which the article was framed:

  • It did not acknowledge that short-money is not formally conditional on Privy Council membership.
  • It did not clarify that most short money funding relates to the Party as a whole rather than the leader.
  • It did not clarify that Short money is allocated based on the number of seats won by a party.
  • It was not prompt enough in its offer to print an apology.

Ipso said that these problems meant that the article breached “Clause 1″of their Editor’s Code that says the Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. Here is the apology that the Sun printed today.

Ipso didn’t uphold a further complaint made about the article that the image of Corbyn wearing a jester hat characterised Corbyn as a “leftie who hates royals.” It said these concerns didn’t breach Clause 1. Ipso is a press regulator that was established last year in the wake of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking by British journalists. It is a voluntary organisation, so publications don’t have to sign up to it.

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