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Tory MP claims entrapment over Sunday Mirror sexting sting

Mark Pritchard claims he was contacted by the paper for the story which took down a UK Minister.

A CONSERVATIVE MP is to contact Scotland Yard after he claims the Sunday Mirror attempted to entrap him in a sexting sting that cost a colleague his job.

Mark Pritchard says he will also be making a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) which was set up following the UK phone hacking scandal.

He says that the complaint will act as a test case for IPSO and is involving the police because criminal laws may have been broken.

Pritichard’s intervention comes after colleague Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society before the Sunday Mirror published a story that claimed he exchanged a series of ‘sexually explicit photos online’ with a freelance reporter who was posing as a young party activist.

Brooks Newmark comments on charities Brooks Newmark resigned on Saturday. Source: Frank Vincini

A number of other MPs are also understood to have been targeted by the sting.

The reporter used a now disabled Twitter account under the name “Sophie Wittams” to contact the MPs. The user was seen to have flirted with several of the MPs and described herself as a “twentysomething Tory PR girl”.

Buzzfeed reports that the picture used to accompany the account was pulled from the Instagram of a Swedish model.

“Sophie” is believed to have first contacted Newmark through Twitter before they exchanged numbers and began messaging each other on WhatsApp. The exchange of explicit pictures is alleged to have happened on WhatsApp.

Pritchard’s complaint to Ipso seems likely to involve clause 10 of the code of practice for editors that guards against “clandestine devices and subterfuge”:

Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.

Read: Bad day for Cameron: Minister quits over ‘explicit photos’ and MP defects to UKIP >

Read: Minister says his Twitter was ‘compromised’ after porn tweet >

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Rónán Duffy

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