Richmond Park and north Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith to make formal complaint over Channel 4 report

Richmond Park and north Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith

Richmond Park and north Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith

First published in News by

Zac Goldsmith is set to make a formal complaint to Ofcom following his head-to-head with Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow on Friday night.

The MP for Richmond Park and north Kingston appeared in the live interview to answer questions that arose about his election spending, following an investigation by Channel 4 and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

But Mr Goldsmith was so enraged by comments made by Mr Snow the previous evening, when the original report was shown, that he refused to answer any questions until an apology was given.

Mr Snow refused to apologise, instead demanding answers from the MP, which sparked a heated exchange in which Mr Goldsmith dubbed Mr Snow a "charlatan".

He said: "I contacted Channel 4 and said I would like to come and do a live interview to address these issues on air, head-to-head. You clearly tried to create the impression I was unwilling to do so."

A spokesman for the channel said Mr Goldsmith was given ample opportunity to respond to the report, after they contacted him a week before it showed.

Mr Goldsmith said he did not provide a comment before because he did not believe the programme would be aired because the allegations were so flimsy, and because it originally involved a number of MPs.

He also did not believe his comment would go in unedited, but did offer a live interview as soon as they confirmed it was being shown and that he was the only MP implicated.

The eventual interview soon descended into a shouting match, before Mr Goldsmith said the Electoral Commission had one of three options.

He said: "Either they will decide not to look at it, in which case you want to watch it. Or they will decide to look at it and give me a green, light, in which case you want to watch it. Or they will look at it and find out there's something wrong."

At which point Mr Snow interrupted and said: "In which case, you'll have to watch it."

Mr Goldsmith said: "I will make a formal complaint to Ofcom on Monday (today). I’m told by legal experts that I have a very strong case. As far as I can see, it is water tight.

"Regarding the election expenses, that will be led by the Electoral Commission. I am hoping they’ll get on the case soon, to bring this to an end."

Comments (14)

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10:35am Mon 19 Jul 10

Phillip Taylor says...

Zac Goldsmith is quite right to complain about the way he was treated on Channel 4 by Jon Snow and the invisible team of people masterminding the programme.

OFCOM=WASTE OF TIME
I have always found OfCom rather unsatisfactory as a device for complaints because of the procedural aspects of any complaint made, and the lack of 'teeth' when it comes to a sanction- like cutting off funding.

It is a little bit like the 'Yes, Minister' programme on 'freedom of information' where the retiring head of the civil service is appointed head of the freedom of information organisation... we all know that this means there will be no freedom of information as they get rid of the difficult bit (ie being transparent) in the title!

However, for interested readers, the details of how to complain are to be found here:

https://stakeholders
.ofcom.org.uk/tell-u
s/specific-programme
-epg

Good luck, Zac Goldsmith.


Phillip Taylor
Zac Goldsmith is quite right to complain about the way he was treated on Channel 4 by Jon Snow and the invisible team of people masterminding the programme. OFCOM=WASTE OF TIME I have always found OfCom rather unsatisfactory as a device for complaints because of the procedural aspects of any complaint made, and the lack of 'teeth' when it comes to a sanction- like cutting off funding. It is a little bit like the 'Yes, Minister' programme on 'freedom of information' where the retiring head of the civil service is appointed head of the freedom of information organisation... we all know that this means there will be no freedom of information as they get rid of the difficult bit (ie being transparent) in the title! However, for interested readers, the details of how to complain are to be found here: https://stakeholders .ofcom.org.uk/tell-u s/specific-programme -epg Good luck, Zac Goldsmith. Phillip Taylor Phillip Taylor
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Mon 19 Jul 10

kimbers says...

Whether its claiming for the wisteria to be removed from your chimney, sharing a cleaner with your brother or irregularities in your campaign funding, our politicians have been shown up for what they are.
And zac goldsniths defence that 'everyone else does it too 'just shows how much contempt the man has for the law and the electorate.
Whether its claiming for the wisteria to be removed from your chimney, sharing a cleaner with your brother or irregularities in your campaign funding, our politicians have been shown up for what they are. And zac goldsniths defence that 'everyone else does it too 'just shows how much contempt the man has for the law and the electorate. kimbers
  • Score: 0

2:56pm Mon 19 Jul 10

Phillip Taylor says...

Your correspondent,Kimber
s of Chiswick is clearly not living on the same planet as everybody else when it comes to election campaigns or politics in general judging by this contribution.

Kimbers is also confusing the issue of MPs claiming the wrong amounts on their expenses after negligent advice from civil servants and Lord Martin, with the issue of expenses which must be set out in accordance with a formula agreed for expenditure incurred when running a campaign.

I believe it is incorrect to say that Zac Goldsmith shows contempt for the law and the electorate. No. This is not the case at all. In fact, it is the complete opposite because Mr Goldsmith has made absolutely sure that the amounts stated are correct under the rules as set out so he is not acting unlawfully or with contempt for anyone.

Kimbers should be aware that all candidates are fully briefed on the expenses aspect of a political campaign after many high profile cases of abuse in past elections.

Kimbers exhibits an "all too familiar" cynicism about politics and politicians which is wrongly placed in this squalid little story concocted by disaffected Guardian reporters/supporters who cannot come to terms with the fact that the Conservative Party is now running the government in a coalition. It is time for the cynics to wake up to a bit of reality and stop spreading falsehoods in the hope of re-running elections.

Phillip Taylor
Your correspondent,Kimber s of Chiswick is clearly not living on the same planet as everybody else when it comes to election campaigns or politics in general judging by this contribution. Kimbers is also confusing the issue of MPs claiming the wrong amounts on their expenses after negligent advice from civil servants and Lord Martin, with the issue of expenses which must be set out in accordance with a formula agreed for expenditure incurred when running a campaign. I believe it is incorrect to say that Zac Goldsmith shows contempt for the law and the electorate. No. This is not the case at all. In fact, it is the complete opposite because Mr Goldsmith has made absolutely sure that the amounts stated are correct under the rules as set out so he is not acting unlawfully or with contempt for anyone. Kimbers should be aware that all candidates are fully briefed on the expenses aspect of a political campaign after many high profile cases of abuse in past elections. Kimbers exhibits an "all too familiar" cynicism about politics and politicians which is wrongly placed in this squalid little story concocted by disaffected Guardian reporters/supporters who cannot come to terms with the fact that the Conservative Party is now running the government in a coalition. It is time for the cynics to wake up to a bit of reality and stop spreading falsehoods in the hope of re-running elections. Phillip Taylor Phillip Taylor
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Mon 19 Jul 10

RiverLover says...

Shall we wait and see what the result of the electoral commission's findings are? Then we will be able to comment with the full facts and the decision made.
Shall we wait and see what the result of the electoral commission's findings are? Then we will be able to comment with the full facts and the decision made. RiverLover
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Mon 19 Jul 10

jsam says...

Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press.
Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press. jsam
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Mon 19 Jul 10

jsam says...

Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press.
Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press. jsam
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Mon 19 Jul 10

jsam says...

Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press.
Zac's reaction is the oxygen of publicity. That'll keep it in the public eye. Good. Thank goodness for a free press. jsam
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Mon 19 Jul 10

MacGregor says...

Phillip Taylor is quite right, kimbers, chiswick, is conflating two separate issues – expenses of sitting MPs, and election expenses.

What many people are overlooking is these were historic elections because it was the first time London has had a general election, and ‘all out’ council elections on the same day.

The point being made is whilst Richmond Park posters were for the MP candidate only – the “Vote Conservative” message was for council candidates too. This formula was also followed by the local Lib Dems with posters urging people to “re-elect” Susan Kramer, and Vincent Cable – and the message to vote for that political party would be deemed to include council candidates, too.

Zac Goldsmith has a statement on his website: “In addition, we only used one type of poster in the campaign, for both the local elections and the parliamentary election, primarily because few homeowners would put two different posters in their garden. We checked that the poster we used could cover both elections (an image of me with my name, and beneath in bold ‘Vote Conservative, vote for change’). Some of the cost of the poster was then apportioned to the Council election. This is an accepted formula, and was approved by compliance experts before the election.”
The rest is here:
http://www.zacgoldsm
ith.com/default.asp?
contentID=85
Phillip Taylor is quite right, kimbers, chiswick, is conflating two separate issues – expenses of sitting MPs, and election expenses. What many people are overlooking is these were historic elections because it was the first time London has had a general election, and ‘all out’ council elections on the same day. The point being made is whilst Richmond Park posters were for the MP candidate only – the “Vote Conservative” message was for council candidates too. This formula was also followed by the local Lib Dems with posters urging people to “re-elect” Susan Kramer, and Vincent Cable – and the message to vote for that political party would be deemed to include council candidates, too. Zac Goldsmith has a statement on his website: “In addition, we only used one type of poster in the campaign, for both the local elections and the parliamentary election, primarily because few homeowners would put two different posters in their garden. We checked that the poster we used could cover both elections (an image of me with my name, and beneath in bold ‘Vote Conservative, vote for change’). Some of the cost of the poster was then apportioned to the Council election. This is an accepted formula, and was approved by compliance experts before the election.” The rest is here: http://www.zacgoldsm ith.com/default.asp? contentID=85 MacGregor
  • Score: 0

10:53pm Mon 19 Jul 10

acaciaave says...

This really is pathetic behaviour from Zac Goldsmith and marks a new low in Richmond Park's representation in Parliament.

Channel 4 made it clear that they had investigated the election expenses of up to 30 MPs from all political parties. Mr Goldsmith was singled out for further investigation due to the scale of his expenses particularly when compared to the material he claimed he used in the campaign.

Channel 4 quite rightly gave Mr Goldsmith a right of reply on their terms during which time Mr Goldsmith choose to debate whether Channel 4 had invited him onto the programme the previous day. Mr Goldsmith obfuscated, jabbed his pen and threatened. His flannelling meant Jon Snow, and the viewer, did not get a response to his legitimate questions about Mr Goldsmith's expenses.

Some have called it 'car-crash' television; I got the impression of a grown man having a tantrum.

I hope OFCOM dismiss Zac's enquiry and Zac himself gets used to tough scrutiny even when he may be in the right.
This really is pathetic behaviour from Zac Goldsmith and marks a new low in Richmond Park's representation in Parliament. Channel 4 made it clear that they had investigated the election expenses of up to 30 MPs from all political parties. Mr Goldsmith was singled out for further investigation due to the scale of his expenses particularly when compared to the material he claimed he used in the campaign. Channel 4 quite rightly gave Mr Goldsmith a right of reply on their terms during which time Mr Goldsmith choose to debate whether Channel 4 had invited him onto the programme the previous day. Mr Goldsmith obfuscated, jabbed his pen and threatened. His flannelling meant Jon Snow, and the viewer, did not get a response to his legitimate questions about Mr Goldsmith's expenses. Some have called it 'car-crash' television; I got the impression of a grown man having a tantrum. I hope OFCOM dismiss Zac's enquiry and Zac himself gets used to tough scrutiny even when he may be in the right. acaciaave
  • Score: 0

12:04am Tue 20 Jul 10

MacGregor says...

acaciaave, Hampton refers to “a new low in Richmond Park's representation in Parliament” regarding Channel 4’s attack on Zac Goldsmith.

But what about Lib Dem Jenny Tonge who – in January 2004 when she was still MP for Richmond Park – was sacked from their frontbench for saying she “would think of becoming a suicide bomber if she lived in the Palestinian territories”. For more see: http://www.guardian.
co.uk/politics/2004/
jan/23/israel.libera
ldemocrats and http://news.bbc.co.u
k/1/hi/uk_politics/3
421669.stm

Then – in February 2010 – Jenny Tonge – now Baroness of Tonge of Kew, the Lib Dem health spokeswoman in the House of Lords – was sacked from that role “after comments she made about alleged organ trafficking in Haiti. Jenny Tonge told the Jewish Chronicle there should be an inquiry into claims that Israeli troops sent there after the earthquake were trafficking organs. Nick Clegg said the comments were "wrong, distasteful and provocative" and dismissed her from her post. He said she apologised "unreservedly" for any offence she had caused.”
The rest is here: http://news.bbc.co.u
k/1/hi/8513662.stm
acaciaave, Hampton refers to “a new low in Richmond Park's representation in Parliament” regarding Channel 4’s attack on Zac Goldsmith. But what about Lib Dem Jenny Tonge who – in January 2004 when she was still MP for Richmond Park – was sacked from their frontbench for saying she “would think of becoming a suicide bomber if she lived in the Palestinian territories”. For more see: http://www.guardian. co.uk/politics/2004/ jan/23/israel.libera ldemocrats and http://news.bbc.co.u k/1/hi/uk_politics/3 421669.stm Then – in February 2010 – Jenny Tonge – now Baroness of Tonge of Kew, the Lib Dem health spokeswoman in the House of Lords – was sacked from that role “after comments she made about alleged organ trafficking in Haiti. Jenny Tonge told the Jewish Chronicle there should be an inquiry into claims that Israeli troops sent there after the earthquake were trafficking organs. Nick Clegg said the comments were "wrong, distasteful and provocative" and dismissed her from her post. He said she apologised "unreservedly" for any offence she had caused.” The rest is here: http://news.bbc.co.u k/1/hi/8513662.stm MacGregor
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Tue 20 Jul 10

kimbers says...

I dont think im confusing anything here zac goldsmith is simply reinforcing my opinion that many politicians habitually ignore rules and regulations.
And as for the way he handled himself in the interview- his threats against John Snow "you better watch out" what further evidence of arrogance and bullying could there be?
I dont think im confusing anything here zac goldsmith is simply reinforcing my opinion that many politicians habitually ignore rules and regulations. And as for the way he handled himself in the interview- his threats against John Snow "you better watch out" what further evidence of arrogance and bullying could there be? kimbers
  • Score: 0

2:54pm Tue 20 Jul 10

kimbers says...

Oh and ive just read that Zac Goldsmith has non-dom status.
How anyone can be have an MP but not care enough about this country to pay taxes is beyond belief. The more i see of this man the more unpleasant he seems
Oh and ive just read that Zac Goldsmith has non-dom status. How anyone can be have an MP but not care enough about this country to pay taxes is beyond belief. The more i see of this man the more unpleasant he seems kimbers
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Tue 20 Jul 10

kimbers says...

oh dear i must apologise, it seems that Zac Goldsmith gave up his non dom status and started paying taxes here just before the election. Thats fine then hes obviously a very scrupulous and conscientous man who cares deeply about this country
oh dear i must apologise, it seems that Zac Goldsmith gave up his non dom status and started paying taxes here just before the election. Thats fine then hes obviously a very scrupulous and conscientous man who cares deeply about this country kimbers
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Tue 20 Jul 10

MacGregor says...

For kimbers, chiswick’s information – here is part of Zac Goldsmith’s statement – of 30 November 2009 – on his website: “My late father created an international trust to provide his children with an income. We do not have access to the capital. As a result of his own international status, I have technically had non-domicile tax status. However, I have always chosen to be tax resident in the UK. Virtually everything I do is in the UK, and therefore the vast majority of my income comes to the UK, where contrary to what the Lib Dems have claimed, I have always paid the full rate of tax on it. Non-dom status has therefore offered me very few benefits, as has been confirmed by the accountants, Pricewaterhouse.”
The rest is here: http://www.zacgoldsm
ith.com/article.asp?
contentID=3&newsID=2
62

As for the adjectives “arrogant”, “bullying”, and “unpleasant” – that could easily apply to Jon Snow who appears to have forgotten he’s not a cross-examining barrister, but an interviewer. Indeed, I’d suggest Snow needs a refresher course in interviewing so he learns it’s the interviewee who is supposed to do the bulk of the speaking – not the interviewer. Moreover, the interviewer is not supposed to constantly talk over the interviewee. As I said on another post, Jon Snow behaved in such a boorish way to Zac Goldsmith it was almost like watching a re-run of the campaign hustings where Lib Dem Susan Kramer fought a vicious smear campaign against him.
For kimbers, chiswick’s information – here is part of Zac Goldsmith’s statement – of 30 November 2009 – on his website: “My late father created an international trust to provide his children with an income. We do not have access to the capital. As a result of his own international status, I have technically had non-domicile tax status. However, I have always chosen to be tax resident in the UK. Virtually everything I do is in the UK, and therefore the vast majority of my income comes to the UK, where contrary to what the Lib Dems have claimed, I have always paid the full rate of tax on it. Non-dom status has therefore offered me very few benefits, as has been confirmed by the accountants, Pricewaterhouse.” The rest is here: http://www.zacgoldsm ith.com/article.asp? contentID=3&newsID=2 62 As for the adjectives “arrogant”, “bullying”, and “unpleasant” – that could easily apply to Jon Snow who appears to have forgotten he’s not a cross-examining barrister, but an interviewer. Indeed, I’d suggest Snow needs a refresher course in interviewing so he learns it’s the interviewee who is supposed to do the bulk of the speaking – not the interviewer. Moreover, the interviewer is not supposed to constantly talk over the interviewee. As I said on another post, Jon Snow behaved in such a boorish way to Zac Goldsmith it was almost like watching a re-run of the campaign hustings where Lib Dem Susan Kramer fought a vicious smear campaign against him. MacGregor
  • Score: 0

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