Livingstone loses battle with Daily Mail

By Ian Dunt

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone has lost an complaint against the Daily Mail over claims he “dodged” a train fare.

Mr Livingstone failed to buy a ticket when travelling to Slough from Paddington earlier this year, after he was unable to queue for a ticket due to a tube delay.

He said he then purchased a ticket from staff at his destination.

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) admitted the Daily Mail article contained the interpretations of the freelance journalist who covered it, but said it was substantially true.

“The freelance reporter was an eyewitness to the fact that the complainant [Livingstone] did not have a ticket, which was the substance of the story, so there was no need to contact the complainant to find out whether it was true,” the PCC said.

“The statements regarding the complainant being warned were attributed to a spokesman for First Great Western, and the suggestion that the complainant had looked embarrassed was attributed to a witness.

“Whether or not it was technically correct that the complainant had ‘admitted his error’ was not significant given that he had accepted that he had approached station staff to tell them that he did not have a ticket.”

The former mayor has a long-standing animosity with the Mail. He was outspoken when the group took over London’s Evening Standard, although the paper now has a new owner.