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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.

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We're hiring! Join the New Statesman as an editorial assistant

The NS is looking for a new recruit.

The New Statesman is hiring an editorial assistant, who will work across the website and magazine to help the office run smoothly. The ideal candidate will have excellent language skills, a passion for journalism, and the ability to work quickly and confidently under pressure.

The job is a broad one – you will need to understand the requirements of both halves of the magazine (politics and culture) as well as having an interest in the technical requirements of magazine and website production. Experience with podcasts and social media would be helpful.

The right person will have omnivorous reading habits and the ability to assimilate new topics at speed. You will be expected to help out with administration tasks around the office, so you must be willing to take direction and get involved with unglamorous tasks. There will be opportunities to write, but this will not form the main part of the job. (Our current editorial assistant is now moving on to a writing post.)

This is a full-time paid job, which would suit a recent graduate or someone who is looking for an entry into journalism. On the job training and help with career development will be offered.

Please apply with an email to Stephen Bush (Stephen. Bush @ with the subject line ‘Editorial Assistant application’.  

In your covering letter, please include a 300-word analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the New Statesman. Please also include 500 words on what you consider to be the most interesting trend in British politics, and your CV as a Word document. 

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 12th October.