Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed a ruling by the new press standards body that a leaked memo which claimed she wanted David Cameron to remain in Downing Street was “significantly misleading”.
The Scottish First Minister hailed the decision by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) as a victory for the truth.
Her office had lodged a complaint after the Daily Telegraph reported in the run-up to May’s general election that she had told French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann she would prefer to see the Conservatives remain in power.
Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael later apologised to both Ms Sturgeon and Ms Bermann after a Cabinet Office investigation concluded he “could and should have stopped the sharing of the memo”.
Ipso found the newspaper had “failed to make clear that it did not know whether the account it presented was true” and added that “as a consequence the article was significantly misleading”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I welcome today’s unequivocal verdict by Ipso on the Daily Telegraph’s story, which is a victory for effective regulation of the press – and for the truth.
“The complaint was lodged on the basis that the Telegraph’s conduct in producing this story fell short of the expected journalistic standards. Subsequent events have proven conclusively that the story was entirely untrue, and today’s ruling simply underlines that.”
The First Minister added: “The press have a vital job to do in scrutinising the work of government and of the political process in general. That is a role which is essential for democracy, and it is scrutiny which I welcome.
“But that does not mean that the press themselves are above and beyond scrutiny and oversight. They have a duty to ensure, as far as possible, that the stories they present to readers are fair, balanced and – above all – accurate.
“The Daily Telegraph, in failing to carry out the most elementary of journalistic checks and balances, failed in this case to meet that duty.”
The Telegraph today featured an article about the ruling on its first two pages, as required by Ipso.