British pie reporters' parliament passes returned

20th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Two British journalists banned from the Palace of Westminster over their reporting of the foam pie attack on Rupert Murdoch had their parliamentary passes reinstated, the Speaker's office confirmed Wednesday.

BBC producer Paul Lambert and Sky News reporter Theo Usherwood were barred after they upset parliamentary authorities by pursuing Murdoch's attacker through the Houses of Parliament as he was escorted out by police.

However, their passes were returned following a Twitter campaign supported by the wife of the Commons' Speaker John Bercow and an intervention by a Conservative lawmaker who quizzed Murdoch at Tuesday's committee hearing.

Louise Mensch, who had just began to question the media mogul when the incident occurred, raised the issue in parliament on Wednesday.

"I hope that the House will agree with me that it's appropriate that we support freedom of the press, particularly when the press are reporting on serious failures of security in this House," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Speaker said: "The circumstances in which the breaches of the regulations took place were unprecedented and unpredicted.

"We have had assurances from all the journalists concerned that they will respect the filming regulations in future and the Speaker feels that no useful purpose will be served by the withdrawal of these passes."

Bercow announced earlier that there would be an "entirely independent" inquiry into the security failures that lead to the plate of shaving foam being thrown at the 80-year-old tycoon.

Bercow said he had been "very concerned" about the incident, and added it was "wholly unacceptable".

© 2011 AFP

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