Whittingdale under pressure over sex worker relationship

John Whittingdale's position as culture, media and sport secretary has been questioned after he revealed he had a relationship with a sex worker.

Mr Whittingdale is facing calls to withdraw his involvement in regulation of the press after it was reported that a number of newspapers had investigated the claims but decided not to run the story.

Mr Whittingdale, who is divorced, insisted the relationship never compromised his position.

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The tale of the minister, the sex worker and the press

When John Whittingdale was appointed as Culture Secretary last year, he didn't tell the Prime Minister the press had potentially embarrassing information on him.

Months later, he said he would not impose financial punishments on newspapers that break the rules.

Did the newspapers hold off publishing because he was helping their interests?

ITV News Political Editor, Robert Peston reports:


Neil Wallis: 'Press didn't hold Whittingdale leverage'

Former tabloid newspaper deputy editor Neil Wallis doesn't believe the press held any leverage over John Whittingdale after finding out about his affair with a sex worker.

The ex-Sun and News of the World deputy editor said he doesn't believe editors would have viewed the story as being of "public interest" post the Leveson inquiry

Labour: 'Whittingdale can't continue press role'

Maria Eagle believes John Whittingdale should step aside Credit: PA

John Whittingdale should withdraw from his role regulating the press, the shadow culture secretary said.

Labour's Maria Eagle said for the public to have "any confidence" in the Government's approach to press regulation then Culture Secretary Mr Whittingdale should step aside from any decision making.

Everyone is entitled to a private life

However, these revelations raise serious questions about why the Secretary of State has reneged on the Government's promise to deliver the cross-party agreement on Leveson when this is something he was previously committed to as chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

In order for the public to have any confidence in the Government's approach to press regulation and to allay any concerns about perceptions of any undue influence, the Secretary of State must now recuse himself from any decision making over this matter, just as Vince Cable was removed from deciding media policy in the last Parliament.

– Maria Eagle, shadow culture secretary


Whittingdale refuses to speak about press role

John Whittingdale refused to be drawn on the appropriateness of his role as Culture Secretary on Wednesday.

The Conservative MP declined to comment this morning following admissions he had a relationship with a prostitute.

He broke it off after discovering someone was trying to sell the story to the press.

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