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Sunday Times breached privacy of MP Nicholas Soames by reporting gastric band speculation

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The Sunday  Times breached the privacy of MP Sir Nicholas Soames by speculating that he had a gastric band fitted, according to press regulator IPSO.
The piece, headlined “Soames’s mystery weight loss has Commons chewing the fat” , was published on 7 February 2016 and written by political editor Tim Shipman.
It said that “regulars in the House of Commons tearoom have their own theory” over Sir Nicholas’ sudden weight loss, namely that he had been “fitted with a gastric band”.  It also speculated that the weight loss was linked to a back complaint.
When quizzed about his weight loss by the paper, Soames responded “fuck off” (via text message).
He told IPSO that he “as a public figure, he was subject to press attention, this did not however mean that he did not have a right to privacy in relation to his health”.
The Sunday Times said in its defence: “Sir Nicholas’ physical appearance had always been a central part of his public image, and it was not intrusive for the article to speculate over the reasons for the sudden visible weight loss of a prominent political figure.”
IPSO said: ” It was not intrusive to report the mere fact that the complainant had recently lost weight, given that he is a figure in the public eye, and the change in his appearance was visible. However, the article went further than this, and speculated about possible medical causes for his weight loss, including questioning whether the complainant had undergone an invasive surgical procedure, which may have been due to back pain.
“This was information in relation to the complainant’s health about he had a reasonable expectation of privacy and the Committee was not satisfied that the newspaper had demonstrated a sufficient public interest to justify publication.”
The Sunday Times published the IPSO adjudication on page two yesterday.
In the same edition the paper published an interview with Soames which makes reference to his weight loss.
Reporter Rosie Kitchen writes: “This is something of a touchy subject (see the Ipso adjudication on page 2) but Soames’s weight loss has been so dramatic that he fills only a third of his suit, which encases his slimmed-down frame like a navy blue coffin.”
Soames explains his weight loss as being due to cutting out bread, sugar, cream and alcohol.
Clause 2 of the Editors’ Code states: “Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
“Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent.”

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Times breached privacy of MP Nicholas Soames by reporting gastric band speculation”

  1. Have asked Sir Nicolas to overturn court order preventing me from seeing my son after taking out parental responsibility order in 2014 . Due to raising concerns in Sussex and suffering detriment and having my legal case nobbled by politicians friendly with senior medics at BSUH NHS TRUST, they pursued a vendetta against my children and mothers. They sort to cut off communication and get police to arrest me when visiting my children. Judge Ellis friend of Mr Soams sort to make sure i never saw my son and utilised lower members of society to vandalise my property when i did, intimidated the my family . Social media was utilised to put violent messages on our devices in forms of ads, My work was restricted and had to remortgage property.
    Because I raised issue of far-right emblems in my child’s school, and incorporated this in court papers the conservative government sort to punish me via my family, and abused my children in the process.
    The day before my court case Theresa May said on media, OK to use hearsay as evidence , the next day the Judge Ellis (probably a cover name)removed any right to appeal being able to see my son , absent of any domestic issues, Then in the court family heard them all laughing in court while myself and mother waited outside, as if deliberately making fun of the situation. My son who i saw every week, now for no reason cannot see me . Imagine his feelings at 5 years old . He is being abused by some staff and sure having difficulties now orchestrated and at the behest of an MP who will not communicate with me after many emails to him and just his secretary replying. I had no legal help as i was targeted financially. just blacklisted, help my son who is 9 now and at risk. Social services will not help. At present, there is a court order stipulating only indirect contact and they just keep renewing each year, my son is afraid of the mother, but obviously will not speak against his soul carer,

    but whom I as a registered healthcare provider 28 years called the police due to her being violent. As i brought this up in parental rights application, My son is 9 years now and i want a judicial reveiw of my case and get this order revoked that is harming my son.

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