The Yorkshire MP who led support for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has said Parliament could take further action to tackle the “hounding” of the Duchess of Sussex and other public figures.
Holly Lynch, the Labour MP for Halifax, co-ordinated the letter of support from 72 MPs which was cited by Ms Markle and Prince Harry in their dramatic interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this week.
“What we said in that letter was there’s got to be an integrity to the British press, to know when something is in the public interest or when it is just tearing down a woman in public life for no reason,” she said.
“Some of that will be harder to find very clear guidance, legislation, to make sure that happens in reality, but clearly we cannot have a position where a woman in public life finds that she is feeling suicidal because of the relentless nature of the attacks on her and on her character, so we need to find ways that we can create that environment where a woman isn’t hounded in the way that we saw Meghan Markle being hounded.”
During the interview, which was aired on ITV on Monday, Prince Harry referred to the letter and said he felt he had more support from the MPs than from his own family.
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“I guess one of the most telling parts, and the saddest parts, was over 70 … female members of parliament, both Conservative and Labour, came out and called out the colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan,” he said.
“Yet no one from my family ever said anything over those three years. And that hurts.”
Ms Lynch, who is a shadow home office minister, said freedom of the press “comes with a responsibility to not be engaged in relentless and aggressive bullying of a woman – which is not about accountability, which is about tearing down somebody’s character for no good reason”.
And she questioned whether MPs could continue to support a “voluntary approach to press regulation”
“How long do you continue to let that fail before you have to recognise it has failed and say ‘what next?'” she asked.
“We are in the very early stages of saying ‘OK, what next?’, because we are certainly at that point.”