PR and spin have not undermined the public’s trust in politics, according to a debate held at the University of Westminster on Tuesday night.

University of Westminster flag

The motion “PR and Spin have undermined Trust in Politics” resulted in the majority of votes going against the motion. The audience was made up of students, journalists and PR and public affairs practitioners.

Kevin Maguire, Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror, and Sheila Gunn former Times Political journalist and Conservative Prime Minister John Major's political press spokesperson argued that PR and Spin (Political PR) have, over time, corroded the public’s trust in politics.

Speaking against the motion, Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and Lance Price, author and former Blair spin doctor, argued that whilst political PR was not entirely blameless, the behaviour of politicians and the media were as much, if not more to blame for undermining the trust of the British public.

Trevor Morris, Visiting Professor in Public Relations at the University Westminster, said: “It was an excellent debate, iluminated by rational analysis and examples from the real world. There was broad agreement that while some political PR had been significantly damaging, this would not have happened without the complicity and sometimes encouragement of politicians and the media. The concluding message from the event was "don't shoot the messenger”.

There were 78 votes against the motion and 60 for with around 60 abstainers still undecided.

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