The Sun may have been ordered to print its apology to Jeremy Corbyn on its front page but some readers were struggling to find it today.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) found the newspaper had been “significantly misleading” in a September story that wrongly alleged the Labour leader joined the Privy Council to gain millions of pounds for his party.
After months of wrangling over an accuracy complaint, The Sun agreed to put a correction on its cover, but buried it with four lines at the bottom left corner of the page.
The headline, directing readers to page two, read “Ipso complaint on Labour short money upheld”, making no reference to Mr Corbyn or the fact it was the subject of the complaint.
The brief mention sparked ridicule on Twitter, where Corbynites expressed outrage at the tiny space afforded and called for a larger mention.
John Prescott, the former deputy Labour leader, was among the critics, writing: “Hardly equal prominence & not an apology.”
That moment when you're trying to find The Sun's front page apology. pic.twitter.com/l8k2mxTU1l— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) December 22, 2015
The full 297-word correction was published on page two as agreed with Ipso, which replaced the British media’s previous regulatory body following the hacking scandal.
Its ruling, first revealed by this newspaper, stipulated that the headline, placement and front size of both the front-page reference and full adjudication had to be agreed in advance, as well as appearing on The Sun’s website.
Rosemary Brocklehurst, who worked in the Labour Party press office in the 1980s, had made the complaint following its front page on 15 November reading: “Court Jezter: leftie who hates the royals WILL kiss Queen’s hand to grab £6.2m.”
Ipso ruled that the story incorrectly claimed Mr Corbyn accepted his invitation to the Privy Council for Short money – the funding allocated to opposition parties for parliamentary duties.
The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
1/11 He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
True. In a speech made to the Stop the War Coalition in 2009, Mr Corbyn called representatives from both groups “friends” after inviting them to Parliament. He later told Channel 4 he wanted both groups, who have factions designated as international terror organisations, to be “part of the debate” for the Middle East peace process. “I use (the word ‘friends’) in a collective way, saying our friends are prepared to talk,” he added. “Does it mean I agree with Hamas and what it does? No. Does it mean I agree with Hezbollah and what they do? No.”
2/11 ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
Partly false. David Cameron used this as a line of attack at the Conservative Party conference but appears to have left out all context from Mr Corbyn’s original remarks. In an 2011 interview on Iranian television, the then-backbencher said the fact the al-Qaeda leader was not put on trial was the tragedy, continuing: “The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy.”
3/11 He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
False. A Daily Express exposé revealed that the Labour leader’s ancestor, James Sargent, was the “despotic” master of a Victorian workhouse. Addressing the report at the Labour conference, Mr Corbyn said he had never heard of him before, adding: “I want to take this opportunity to apologise for not doing the decent thing and going back in time and having a chat with him about his appalling behaviour.”
4/11 Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament
This one is true. On 21 May 2004, Mr Corbyn raised an early day motion entitled “pigeon bombs”, proposing that the House register being “appalled but barely surprised” that MI5 reportedly proposed to load pigeons with explosives as a weapon. The motion continued: “The House… believes that humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and looks forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again.” It was not carried.
5/11 He rides a Communist bicycle
False. A report in The Times referred to Mr Corbyn, known for his cycling, riding a “Chairman Mao-style bicycle” earlier this year. “Less thorough journalists might have referred to it as just a bicycle, but no, so we have to conclude that whenever we see somebody on a bicycle from now on, there goes another supporter of Chairman Mao,” he later joked.
6/11 'Jeremy Corbyn will appoint a special minister for Jews'
False so far. The Sun report in December was allegedly based on a “rumour” passed to the paper by a Daily Express columnist who has written pieces critical of the Labour leader in the past. The minister did not materialise in his shadow cabinet.
7/11 ‘Jeremy Corbyn wishes Britain would abolish its Army’
False. Another gem from The Sun took comments made at a Hiroshima remembrance parade in August 2012 where Mr Corbyn supported Costa Rica’s move to abolish it armed forces. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every politician around the world…abolished the army and took pride in the fact that they don’t have an army,” he added. The caveat that “every politician” must take the step suggests Mr Corbyn does not support UK disarmament just yet.
8/11 Jeremy Corbyn stole sandwiches meant for veterans
False. The Guido Fawkes blog claimed that the Labour leader took sandwiches meant for veterans at at Battle of Britain memorial service in September but a photo later emerged showing him being handed one by Costa volunteers, who later confirmed they were given to all guests.
9/11 He missed the induction into the Queen’s privy council
True. After much speculation about Mr Corbyn’s republican views and willingness to bow to the monarch, his office confirmed that he did not attend the official induction to the privy council because of a prior engagement, but did not rule out joining the body.
10/11 Jeremy Corbyn refuses to sing the national anthem.
Partly true. The Labour leader was filmed standing in silence as God Save the Queen was sung at a Battle of Britain remembrance service but will reportedly sing it in future. Mr Corbyn was elusive on the issue in an interview, saying he would show memorials “respect in the proper way”, but sources said he would sing the anthem at future occasions.
11/11 He is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cheese
True. The group lists its purpose as the following: “To increase awareness of issues surrounding the dairy industry and focus on economic issues affecting the dairy industry and producers.”
There is no official requirement for the Leader of the Opposition to join the council in order to receive it, with the sum being determined by the number of seats won.
According to the printed adjudication, The Sun said that the article “could have been clearer, but was based on accurate information” that founded its argument that Mr Corbyn could have caused a constitutional crisis and put the funding at risk.
The newspaper offered a short clarification confirming Privy Council membership was not a condition for Short money but Ipso said the proposal, made more than a month after the complaint, was not fast enough.
“The newspaper had not offered a correction promptly and therefore had failed to comply with its obligations under Clause 1 (accuracy),” the ruling said.
“Ipso’s Complaints Committee found that it was significantly misleading to claim that Labour’s access to the £6.2m depended on whether Mr Corbyn was a member of the Privy Council. The two were not formally connected and the article did not make clear how a majority of the funding was in fact allocated.”