Brighton lawyer wins apology

Posted On 12 Jul 2010 at 7:24 am

A Brighton lawyer has secured an apology from The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

The apology to Jill Whittaker – partner of former Brighton and Hove City Council leader Steve Bassam – follows an item in its Black Dog political gossip column three weeks ago.

It reported how Lord Bassam – the Labour Party’s Chief Whip in the House of Lords – had inflicted a defeat on the new Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government in a debate on town hall reforms.

The report said: “Labour used an obscure argument identical to one secretly obtained by government lawyers.

Spacewords Brighton

“Bassam’s partner Jill Whittaker, a Civil Service lawyer, advised the last government on the issue.

“Rumours she was involved must be firmly discounted.”

Despite the payoff line “firmly” discounting the rumours, it appears that Ms Whittaker, from Kemp Town, was not pleased by the item which some may have read as questioning her impartiality.

Yesterday the newspaper’s Black Dog column said: “We are happy to accept that she was not involved in advising on these arguments and did not disclose any information improperly.

“We apologise to Ms Whittaker.”

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