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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 12:38 GMT
MP 'unwise' to alter news release
Philip Mawer
Sir Philip took up the post in 2002
Parliament's standards watchdog has said an MP who inserted a quote from herself into an Electoral Commission press release had been "unwise".

Labour MP Emily Thornberry e-mailed the doctored press release on to the media as if it were an official release.

Sir Philip Mawer said in his annual report her action had not breached the code of conduct as there had been "no intention... to deceive the public".

However, he said, the MP's actions had been "unwise and unfortunate".

Sir Philip stands down at the end of December after five years in the job of Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

He said this was only the second time that the MPs on the standards and privileges committee had had to decide whether an MP's action had "brought the Commons or its members generally into disrepute".

Sir Philip, who wrote a report on the complaint against the MP and made recommendations to the committee, said they had agreed with his findings.

He said that "although the member's actions had not breached the code - as there was no intention on her part to deceive or manipulate the public, nor had that been the effect of her actions - they had been unwise and unfortunate".

The Committee on Standards and Privileges published a report in June 2006 in which they accepted the Islington South and Finsbury MP's action was intended to improve local interest in the Electoral Commission campaign to increase voter registration.

It also says that "in the event, neither the Electoral Commission's press release, nor the version sent by Ms Thornberry appears to have been used by the local newspapers".


* Earlier versions of this story did not include the name of the MP as it was a straight report from Sir Philip's report in which she was not named. We added the name, and some extra background, once we became aware of her identity.

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