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October 20, 2014

IPSO still ‘considering’ Sunday Mirror sexting sting despite fact MP has dropped complaint

By William Turvill

The Independent Press Standards Organisation is continuing to investigate the Sunday Mirror for its Brooks Newmark story despite the fact the complaint has been dropped.

Three weeks ago, the Sunday Mirror’s front page revealed that the Conservative MP had exchanged lewd online messages with a journalist – Alex Wickham of the Guido Fawkes blog – posing as a “twenty something Tory PR girl”.

Newmark resigned as a minister as a result of the story and last week, after The Sun on Sunday revealed he had had a two-year extra-marital affair, said he would also be standing down as an MP next year.

Fellow Conservative MP Mark Pritchard complained to IPSO after he and other politicians were contacted by the same journalist posing as a PR.

But Pritchard tweeted yesterday that he had reached an “amicable settlement” with the Sunday Mirror.

The paper said in its corrections column: "Following our article of September 28 concerning the investigation into Brooks Newmark MP and the exchange of explicit pictures online with an undercover freelance reporter, although the Sunday Mirror did not publish any allegations about Mark Pritchard MP, we are happy to make clear that Mr Pritchard was not at any time suspected or accused of sending inappropriate or explicit messages and/or pictures to anyone via social media or otherwise. In addition, Mr Pritchard is not married and is single."

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IPSO – which unlike the Press Complaints Commission has the power to investigate in the absence of a complaint – said it is still “considering” the case.

A spokesman said: “We have seen the statement in today’s Sunday Mirror and comments from Mark Pritchard MP which suggests that Mr Pritchard’s complaint about the Sunday Mirror has been resolved. We have not heard directly from either party.

“However, we would be pleased if it were the case that resolution has been achieved since that would be a success for the Ipso complaints process.

“Nevertheless, IPSO is considering whether this case raises broader questions which demand further investigation from the regulator.”

Newmark himself has not made a complaint.

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