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Guardian apologises to former Sun managing editor Richard Caseby over Polly Toynbee article

By Dominic Ponsford

Richard Caseby may no longer be managing editor of The Sun but he is still securing apologies from The Guardian in his new job as director of strategic communications at the Department of Work and Pensions.

In his previous job Caseby persuaded The Guardian to publish a lengthy correction when it amended 37 articles which wrongly stated that News of the World journalists deleted voicemail messages providing “false hope” that missing school girl Milly Dowler was alive.

Today The Guardian apologised over a Polly Toynbee comment piece on 11 April which said: “Forget Civil Service factual information: Duncan Smith has just hired a Murdoch managing editor from the Sun and the Sunday Times. Perhaps he helps hone Duncan Smith's terminology inexactitudes."

Today the paper said in its corrections column:

We are happy to accept that Richard Caseby, the strategic director of communications at the DWP, carries out his duties in a thoroughly honest, diligent and professional manner. He was not hired by Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, but works as a civil servant. We apologise for any misunderstanding. In addition, the writer of the article said that "PIP replaces the disability living allowance" (DLA). To clarify: DLA is still available for children up to the age of 16 (Duncan Smith's treatment of disabled people is monstrous, 11 April, page 35).

Caseby told Press Gazette: "The implementation of a big agenda of welfare reform is naturally complex and challenging. And like any civil servant, I am duty bound to serve governments of any political complexion. The DWP accepts fair criticism – but critics need to get their facts right."

Caseby said his new job is a non-political role and that he was recruited following an open recruitment process and an interview panel of senior civil servants. He said he was not recruited by Iain Duncan Smith.

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He added: "The DWP has many dedicated staff – from Jobcentre advisers to regional managers to backroom analysts – all striving to explain benefit changes to claimants and the wider public. Confused media commentary doesn't make it any easier. I will always defend our people when anyone misrepresents their hard work."

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