Watchdog rejects Ashcroft complaint

A complaint that the Today programme treated Lord Ashcroft unfairly was rejected yesterday by the broadcasting watchdog.

Lawyers Harbottle and Lewis complained to Ofcom about an edition of the BBC Radio 4 show on 17 December last year. They felt the programme had wrongly and unfairly stated that during Prime Minister's Questions the Liberal Democrats had accused Lord Ashcroft, the Tory party deputy chairman, of tax evasion and therefore implied he was guilty of a criminal offence.

But Ofcom found the report was a "fair reflection" of the discussion which made clear that while the Liberal Democrats had initially raised a question about tax evasion, they had not accused Lord Ashcroft of committing the offence.