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More resignations from Politics Home


2:22 pm - September 28th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Liberal Conspiracy can reveal that John McFall MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, and Richard Reeves, Director of Demos are among the latest high-profile opinion formers to resign from the PoliticsHome insider panel.

This following concerns expressed about its impartiality and editorial integrity in the wake of the takeover by Conservative deputy chairman Michaal Ashcroft.

On Saturday LibDem leader Nick Clegg and deputy Vince Cable said they were also leaving the panel.

Several independent media voices have also ended their participation in the panel.

Jean Eaglesham of the Financial Times, Stryker McGuire of Newsweek and Andy McSmith of The Independent as among the journalists to depart from the panel. Others are known to be considering doing so.

Liberal Conspiracy last night spoke to Demos Director Richard Reeves in Brighton. Reeves said he had been considering the issue since hearing of the Ashcroft takeover, and had decided that he should leave the panel because of the lack of confidence expressed in its editorial integrity by senior journalists.

“Impartiality is an absolutely vital value for Demos”, he said.

Reeves’ resignation will come as a particular blow to PoliticsHome. He has made a point of working across the political spectrum – hosting David Cameron and housing the progressive Conservative project, alongside that of James Purnell and Open Left, and publishing Nick Clegg on liberalism.

There are likely to be more resignations from the panel – not least because many MPs are not yet aware of, or just catching up with as story which has broken during the party conference season.

Editor Freddie Sayers’ wrote on Friday that he remained proud of the panel, and that the resignations had not affected its ability to continue. However, his email was described by one media expert as offering ‘tacit acknowledgement that the panel is bust’, in his plan to undertake an overdue ‘refresh’.

As it happens, the Phi100 process has been due for a refesh for some time, and we will certainly be looking to make it more dynamic, interesting and transparent very soon.

Any “refresh” is unlikely to restore trust unless it is overseen by independent voices, such as was the case with the role played by senior journalists including Andrew Rawnsley, Nick Assinder and Martin Bright to create the panel in the first place.

The website publishes a “Reputation Index” tracking how leading brands are perceived by the Westminster elite. Yet very few reputations seem to have been as seriously damaged as that of PoliticsHome itself since the Ashcroft takeover.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Sunny – is there a list of those who have withdrawn?


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