National Trust to complain to IPSO over ‘ludicrous’ Spectator claim

02 Jul 2021 News

The National Trust has said allegations in the Spectator that it asks interviewees their voting preferences “are without evidence or foundation”.

The charity has called for a retraction and said it will be taking up the issue with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which regulates much of the UK press including the Spectator.

In an article in the Spectator published on 1 July, Charles Moore writes that he has been contacted by “a current Trust employee, who naturally remains anonymous”.

This person is quoted as saying: “At interviews, people are asked how they voted in the Brexit referendum, and rejected out of hand if they voted to leave.”

The article adds that there is “an atmosphere of fear and bullying” in the charity against “anyone who holds a view opposed to the neo-Marxist model prevalent in the organisation”.

This unnamed person also adds that since the charity’s ‘Prejudice and Pride‘ initiative “they have been in cahoots with Stonewall, whereby ‘LGBT+ allies’ are recruited to spy on and weed out anyone who thinks, speaks or acts in an ‘unacceptable’ way.”

National Trust: Some claims are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘plain ludicrous’ 

A spokesperson for the National Trust said “it is ridiculous to suggest that ‘LGBT allies are recruited to spy on’ people” and denied the claims.

They said: “The allegations in Charles Moore’s article (Spectator, July 1) are without evidence or foundation, and some are plain ludicrous. We have asked for a retraction from the Spectator. We would not ask anyone about their voting preferences in any job interview. We have clear standards for all our staff to uphold on political neutrality. It is ridiculous to suggest that ‘LGBT allies are recruited to spy on’ people.”

“The Editor’s Code of Practice clearly states that the press must take care not to publish misleading or distorted information, and we will follow this up with the Independent Press Standards Organisation,” said the spokesperson.

The charity was also quick to deny the claims after the article was posted on social media.

The National Trust has come under fire from some sections of the press and was recently cleared of breaching charity law.

The Charity Commission found no grounds for regulatory action against the National Trust, which had been subject to scrutiny after publishing a report examining its links to colonialism.

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