Wed, 17 August 2022

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By Nikki da Costa
Press releases

Female MPs back Meghan Markle amid war with media over 'invasion of privacy'

Female MPs back Meghan Markle amid war with media over 'invasion of privacy'
3 min read

Female MPs from across the political spectrum have signed an open letter backing Meghan Markle over the "abuse and intimidation" she has received from the media.

A letter organised by Labour MP Holly Lynch and signed by 72 MPs including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and former Tory minister Tracey Crouch vows to "stand against" the "often distasteful and misleading" press treatment of the Duchess of Sussex.

And it hits out at what the MPs call the "outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories".

Last month the Duchess's husband Prince Harry issued a statement condemning the press for publishing a private letter from her father, as the pair launched legal action against the owners of the Sun and the Daily Mirror.

Warning of the "human cost" of the "relentless propaganda" against his wife, Prince Harry said: "There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives." 

Backing that stance in their open letter, the 72 MPs vowed to "stand with" the Duchess.

"As women MPs of political persuasions, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family," they said.

"On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy and have sought to cast aspersions about your character, without any good reason as far as we can see.

"Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories. As women Members of Parliament from all backgrounds, we stand with you in saying it cannot be allowed to go unchallenged."

The MPs argued that, as women in public life, they "share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation" the Duchess faces.

"With this in mind we expect the national media to have the integrity to know when a story is in the national interest and when it is seeking to tear a woman down for no apparent reason," they add.

"You have our assurances that we stand with you in solidarity on this.

"We will use the means at our disposal to ensure that our press accept your right to privacy and show respect, and that their stories reflect the truth."

The letter, which has also been signed by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips, comes after Equalities Minister Liz Truss said the Duchess should be prepared to take the "flak" of being in the public eye.

"Any public figure inevitably faces the slings and arrows of being out in public. It’s part of what it’s about whether you’re a politician, whether you’re in  the royal family, whether you’re a journalist," she said earlier this month.

"I do think people should be able to say what they think about public figures in the press.”

Asked whether she felt sorry for the former actress, Ms Truss said: “No, because I believe that she is enjoying the role that she’s taken on.

"I think she’s doing a good job at the role and I think with any public position inevitably comes a certain amount of flak."

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