The Sun accused of hypocrisy over Human Rights Act opposition

Social media commentators have taken to Twitter to accuse The Sun of hypocrisy for running a front-page article condemning the Human Rights Act, after having used it to protect its own journalists during the so-called 'Plebgate' scandal.

The Sun’s front page yesterday announced its "bitter disappointment" at the decision to postpone the abolition of the Act during the Queen’s Speech under photographs of four offenders said to have used the Act to avoid deportation and four people opposed to it.

In September, The Sun made an official complaint about the Metropolitan Police using anti-terror laws to seize the phone records of three of its journalists as a part of Operation Alice ('Plebgate'). In this case, The Sun used the Act to appeal the Met’s use of the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act to seize the records. 

Despite using the Act to protect the rights of its journalists, The Sun supports the Conservatives’ pledge to abolish it and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, which would, The Sun said, preserve "proper protections" for journalists’ sources. The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn – whose phone records were seized by the Met – is the author of stories supporting the pledge to abolish the Act. 

The newspaper came in for criticism on Twitter for its stance.

Dylan Sharpe, head of PR for The Sun, denied accusations of hypocrisy.

He said: "The use of covert powers to access The Sun's phone records occurred despite the existence of the Human Rights Act, and we therefore continue to support its replacement with a British Bill of Rights that would enshrine proper protections for journalistic sources."

This story was updated on Thursday morning to include a comment from The Sun.

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