Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Tory MP set to sue Daily Telegraph

A Tory MP alleged by the Daily Telegraph to have exploited foreign contacts to set up business deals is to sue the newspaper.

Mark Pritchard said he was in "final legal discussions about issuing a writ" over the report which claimed he could use his "network" to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections.

The parliamentary commissioner for standards this week said there was insufficient evidence to mount an investigation into the claims that Mr Pritchard, a member of the all party parliamentary group on Albania, told an undercover reporter posing as a businessman that he should invest £10 million in a group of boutique hotels in the country.

Mr Pritchard told BBC One's Sunday Politics: "These sort of headlines create suspicion.

"I am suing the Telegraph and I expect an apology, and I don't wish to prejudice legal proceedings here today.

"I am in final legal discussions tomorrow about issuing a writ."

Mr Pritchard claimed the Telegraph's article was false and malicious, indicating that the newspaper may have targeted him for previously suing it and for being supportive of politicians' proposals for press regulation.

He said: "These claims by the Telegraph are false, they are hurtful and they are malicious.

"The reason I say they are malicious is it's known quite widely that I've sued the Telegraph previously, I've also been quite critical of their coverage of the Plebgate affair, their reporting of that, and also I've been supportive of the cross-party Royal Charter and I know that some people in the media don't like my position on that, and that's why it's malicious.

"The fact is that I believe in a free press, very much so, but that free press also has a responsibility to be fair, to be accurate and to be lawful."

He added: "To be fair, there's some very good journalists at the Telegraph. I know that there's a dispute at senior parts of the Telegraph at the moment about the direction of that paper.

"Do they want to return to being a Catholic, objective newspaper, a quality broadsheet, or do they want to slip into the slippery slope of being an agnostic rag looking for sensationalist headlines?"


From Belfast Telegraph