Hornsey & Wood Green Constituency Labour Party last night passed an emergency motion in favour of complaining to press regulator IPSO about an article published in the Sunday Times last weekend which claimed activists had taken over Haringey council in a ‘putsch’.
It is demanding a prominent correction in the paper, which ran a long piece by Andrew Gilligan about the role played by Momentum in deselecting Labour councillors in the borough over their support for a housing development.
The motion claims Gilligan’s ‘scurrilous’ article contains ‘falsehoods’ and ‘half truths’. It says the ‘town hall putsch’ headline is inaccurate because no rules were broken and it is therefore ‘inappropriate and deliberately misleading’.
The Haringey CLP will tell IPSO the paper breached the Editors Code if Conduct on Accuracy. It is also demanding an apology from the paper.
It is not the first time Gilligan has been the subject of a complaint, of course. He is the journalist who famously claimed live on the BBC that defence experts believed the last Labour government had deliberately and knowingly misled the public by publishing the ‘dodgy dossier’ claiming that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had chemical weapons.
The ensuing row cost Gilligan his job at the Today Programme and led to the resignation of the Director-General of the BBC.
The stakes are nowhere near as high in this occasion, but Haringey’s complaint to IPSO is significant nonetheless. It shows that Momentum’s flagship London Council won’t take criticism lying down – and given that it’s likely to come under intense scrutiny over the coming months this could the first of many skirmishes with the ‘Mainstream Media’.