Pro EU fact-checking website InFacts has had its fifth complaint to press watchdog IPSO rejected.
It complained over a front-page Daily Express story from 8 March 2016 headlined: “Now EU wants asylum control.”
The sub headline reported “madness as Brussels plots to tell us who can come and stay in our country”. And the article itself said that: “Brussels chiefs last night unveiled plans to end Britain’s control over asylum seekers.”
InFacts said that the UK can opt out of the European Commission’s proposals for reform to the Common European Asylum System, so it was inaccurate for the newspaper to report that the proposals represented a plan to “end Britain’s control over asylum seekers” or that it was a “plot” to tell the UK “who can come and stay”.
But IPSO said: “It was not in dispute that the European Commission had put forward plans for reform of the Common European Asylum System.
“Nor was it in dispute that while the UK could opt out of these plans, it was likely that the EU would want the UK to join. As a member of the EU, there was a possibility that the UK could be subject to these new proposals.
“It was therefore not misleading for the article to suggest that the proposals could affect the UK’s asylum policy.
“The article made clear that the UK had an opt-out from the proposal; at the time of publication, however, the UK had not exercised its opt-out.”
IPSO has ruled there was no breach of the Editors’ Code over two other Express articles and two Daily Telegraph pieces (adjudications available here) following InFacts complaints.
IPSO ruled in favour of the Telegraph over a piece headlined: “The gap between the official migration figure and the truth is as wide as the Grand Canyon. We are owed an apology”.
In that case, IPSO said: “The committee understood the complainant’s concern that the article contained some numerical errors.
“According to the relevant ONS data, the ‘gap’ referred to in the article amounted to approximately 1.4 million, rather than 1.5 million. Although 100,000 is a large number of people, the numerical error identified by the complainant did not amount to a significant inaccuracy in the context of an article as a whole; the total figure applied to a five-year time period, and the error did not substantively change the columnist’s argument.”
InFacts founder Hugo Dixon told Press Gazette in June that a series of “significantly misleading” articles had misled the British people when they voted by 48 per cent to 52 per cent to leave the EU.