Sunday Express kills inaccurate story about EU coastguard

by Hugo Dixon | 10.10.2016

“EU seeks control of our coasts” the headline on the Sunday Express splash on March 6 screamed. “Britannia will no longer rule the waves as Brussels threatens our island sovereignty” said the sub-head. The story was badged “exclusive”. The only problem is it was not true. The EU’s plans for a coast guard only covered the Schengen Area – which the UK is not a member of.

Following an InFacts complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the tabloid finally corrected the story in print yesterday and pulled the online version of the story on October 4. But it has taken an awfully long time. InFacts first wrote to the journalist Caroline Wheeler on March 6 pointing out the error. After it failed to get satisfaction, it complained to IPSO on May 19 as part of a batch of eight misleading stories by various papers. After a long drawn out email exchange, the Sunday Express has finally acknowledged its error – seven months after the event.


The tabloid’s mistake was just one of many inaccurate or misleading stories it and other papers published during the referendum. This barrage of distorted stories – some about spurious challenges to our sovereignty but most about migrants – may well have influenced the outcome of the vote. It is good that the Sunday Express has finally fessed up to its error. But this has come far too late.

Hugo Dixon is co-founder of CommonGround as well as editor-in-chief of InFacts. You can sign up as a supporter here.

Tags: Categories: Articles, Sovereignty

6 Responses to “Sunday Express kills inaccurate story about EU coastguard”

  • I don’t believe for a minute that this was a “mistake”. I believe this excuse for a newspaper deliberately publishes false information in order to deceive its ultra-reactionary readers.

  • Seven months to correct a false or misleading story in the Press is clearly much too long and one can wonder if the correction, after such a long delay, serves any purpose.The present system run by IPSO clearly does not work. This is one of the lessons which have been revealed by the referendum campaign. And it would seem that there is nothing that can be done about the situation .

  • This “mistake” and all the others like them were a deliberate scaremongering tactic to appeal to the sun etc. readers who would then repeat it as gospel to like -minded folk. This is how the referendum was “won”

  • Let it be acknowledged that IPSO is no better than, and apparently just as slow as, the PCC. If the U.K. had a press regulator that was concerned with accuracy and speed where its reports are influential, then it might well have been (a) that this false story never appeared, and (b) [taking account now of other false stories], the referendum result was different.

  • You guys are too nice. All the Express wanted was one day of a stupid headline, no matter whether it is a lie or not, to renew the effort of putting a fright about the EU into the Brexit cattle. And they succeeded. That’s all there’s to it.