Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Saturday, 1 September 2012


Was there a public interest in the Sun publishing the pictures of a naked Prince Harry frolicking in a private party? No. Does Prince Harry have to accept that in his position he should be more careful? Yes.

Harry is still relatively young, only 28, single and without his own kids. He lost his mother at the age of 12 and has had to grow up in the glare of the media. He insists on serving in the armed forces, active duty and all, against the wishes of his father. He has just completed a highly successful year in representing the Queen in the Caribbean where they fell in love with him. He also played his part well during the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. 

He deserves time and space to let his hair down occasionally in private. The person or people who sold their phone recordings of him to the media deserve condemnation. He was not taking illegal drugs or paying for sex. No crimes were committed.

But he is third in line to the throne.

I understand the argument that newspaper editors make. If an item of news is already freely available on the Internet why should they not have the right to publish it also? Answer: they agreed to respect the privacy of the princes unless there was activity that was in the public interest. How are pictures of a young man letting off steam with his mates in the public interest?

I imagine that after the immediate furore has died down, several things will happen. Harry will receive advice from his Army superiors and his family which he will do well to heed. He will get away with this incident because the public are fond of him and his rather spontaneous nature, although I suspect we will not want to see too many similar incidents in the future especially as he enters his thirties.

But we also need to see a clearer understanding of public interest thrashed out in the British media. I hope that the Leveson Enquiry will produce a hard-hitting report with firm recommendations to help put our irresponsible national media back in its box, without of course damaging essential press freedom. At the moment the balance is not right. I hope when the time comes that Parliament has the guts to legislate to put in place clearer parameters.

Prince Harry is a breath of fresh air. Give the lad a break!

posted by Gary @ 12:04