PCC job nets Wakeham £72,000

Lord Wakeham, under attack for accepting a non-executive directorship with N M Rothschild, is being paid £72,000 for the part-time job of chairing the Press Complaints Commission, which he started earlier this month, writes Maggie Brown.

His predecessor, Lord McGregor of Durrisreceived £55,000.

A former member of the PCC said yesterday: "I always thought his appointment would be a very difficult one. He's a fixer, doing it for the money. The last thing the PCC needs is a politically controversial chairman. But he has been hired [for the PCC] onprecisely the same grounds as Rothschild: his ability to lobby government."

Under Lord Wakeham, a former government chief whip, the PCC is seeking nine new members, to bring its strength to the maximum of 17 it is supposed to have. The chairman also wants to tip the balance away from journalists to lay members. No formal list has yet been drawn up, but there is speculation that Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's press secretary when she was prime minister, may be approached.

Before new members can be selected, the appointments committee, chaired by Lord Wakeham, has to be strengthened with the addition of two people of distinction and independence, to underline the PCC's separation from the press.

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