Johnston Press: Administration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 3:41 pm, 19th November 2018

Or Nigel Huddleston, sitting next to him, then.

Will the Secretary of State confirm that no one currently on a pension from Johnston Press will receive a shortfall in payments? Will the Government step in if they are going to? Will the pension regulator assess what obligation the new entity has to those employees set to lose out?

I understand that JPI Media was apparently established back in September. When was the Secretary of State made aware of that, because, clearly, the writing was on the wall for Johnston Press when the new entity was established, and what meetings as he or his ministerial team had since the creation of JPI Media, to protect the interests of Johnston Press workers?

There is a crisis in local newspapers that we have known about for many years and that, whatever our politics, it is all our civic duties to address. The Secretary of State has been in post for only 134 days. In that time, he has overseen the resignation of a respected Minister, made an obvious and humiliating policy climbdown on fixed odds betting terminals, while ignoring what everyone knew would be the inevitable crisis in local news. He should have given a statement to the House today, not been dragged here to give a woeful answer in an urgent question. After 134 days in post, he needs to wake up and stop sleeping on the job.