Letter to Richard Wallace, The Editor, Daily Mirror
3 November 2005
Dear Mr Wallace
The article today "Asbestos switch to hit thousands" (3 November) is inaccurate as it is sensationalist. Stories designed to purely scare are irresponsible. When its author, your reporter Bob Roberts, contacted the Health and Safety Executive, my press officers spent a good deal of time and effort ensuring he was fully briefed - a fact that was not evident in your article.
We do not expect journalists to write, or indeed to print, propaganda on our behalf, but we do expect a fair and balanced hearing. The suggestion that HSE would condone anything that would result in the increase in death of thousands of people is ludicrous.
What your journalist failed to write is that HSC today published a consultative document seeking comments on proposed amendments to the asbestos regulations. Overall these proposals will tighten standards. We feel your readers in particular have a valuable contribution to make to this debate (which again your reporter clearly failed to recognise). That is why your organisation was given an early briefing yesterday and invited to a full press briefing this morning, which you chose not to attend.
For what it is worth I have attached a press notice for your attention, which outlines the changes we are consulting on.
Chief Press Officer