Clarence Mitchell speaks out following Leveson Inquiry

Clarence Mitchell has told PRWeek that he 'takes some comfort' from yesterday's Leveson Inquiry, where there were revelations about the News of the World printing extracts from Kate McCann's diary.

Clarence Mitchell: speaks about the Leveson Inquiry
Clarence Mitchell: speaks about the Leveson Inquiry

Former News of the World news editor Ian Edmondson revealed yesterday that former editor Colin Myler ordered that Mitchell should be told only in ‘very woolly’ terms that the newspaper would be running a story about the McCanns, without giving any indication of a plan to publish the diary in full.

Mitchell, who works as PR representative for the McCanns, told PRWeek: 'What Edmondson said entirely supported my version of the events, and while its true we did discuss a possibility of a piece going into the paper, I was left with the distinct impression it would be a minor piece, and that it would be entirely supportive.

'It should never have happened. I take some comfort that Edmondson has supported my version of events. It was a fairly insalubrious episode.'

Mitchell, who is Burson-Marsteller's MD, added that he did not rule out being called up to speak in the inquiry in the future.

Elsewhere in the inquiry, Max Clifford dubbed phone-hacking a ‘cancer that now hopefully has been cut out’.

Following his appearance, Clifford told PRWeek: ‘The British public is starting to be aware of the excesses of the media over the past ten years. If nothing else comes out of it, we hope we will have a free press in a democracy.

‘I hope we have an effective press complaints authority that will take care of ordinary members of the public, who at the moment have no-one to protect them.’

Speaking after the inquiry, PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham said that one of the themes to emerge was ‘how central PR professionals are to many, if not most, of the stories those newspapers carry’.

'Given I am clear that our industry performs a predominantly beneficial role in society, the more it is understood, the better,’ added Ingham.

W Communications founder Warren Johnson added: ‘The appearances of Max Clifford and Clarence Mitchell before the Leveson inquiry have highlighted the surprisingly low turn out from the rest of the PR industry.

'The recent Independent story on Bell Pottinger has certainly served to spark wider public interest in the influence that parts of the PR industry do, or allege to, wield. My wider concern, though, is that the inquiry may further erode trust in and credibility of the press, which in turn could negatively affect the role of PR in the eyes of clients and consumers alike.’

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