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Ofcom rejects Lord Ashcroft's complaint of unfair treatment

Complaint involved implication of tax evasion during Today programme discussion.

Ofcom has turned down Lord Ashcroft's complaint about receiving unfair treatment on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which involved a discussion about tax evasion.

The 17 December show had discussed questions put to Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman the previous day in parliament.

Lord Ashcroft's law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, complained to Ofcom that the programme's coverage of a Liberal Democrat question on tax evasion was objectionable. It charged the show with stating "unfairly and wrongly" that the Liberal Democrats had, during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), accused Lord Ashcroft of tax evasion, which implied that he was guilty of a criminal offense.

The firm said Ashcroft was not given an opportunity by the programme to defend himself.

Rejecting the complaint, Ofcom ruled that it did not find any unfairness to Lord Ashcroft and that the Today programme provided a "fair reflection of the discussion" held during PMQs.