‘That nice Mr Liddle’: exchange of emails with ‘The Sun’, 27 January 2012

The ME Association is attempting to get the following letter published in ‘The Sun’ in response to Rod Liddle’s column yesterday:


Dear Editor

Re: ‘Pretend Disabled’ really ARE sick

Rod Liddle has made yet another incompetent and inaccurate attack on people with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis).

ME is not ‘newly invented’.

It was first described by The Lancet in 1956 and was later classified by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disorder.

ME is recognised by the Department of Health to be a serious and debilitating condition.

The Medical Research Council recently provided £1.5 million to fund biomedical research into the cause, diagnosis and management of this devastating illness.

Yours sincerely

Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, ME Association
Member of MRC Expert Group on ME/CFS Research
Member of the (previous) Chief Medical Officer’s Working Group on ME/CFS

ME Association
7 Apollo Office Court
Radclive Road
Bucks MK18 4DF

After receiving a standard response from the paper’s acting letters editor, which read:

Dear Charles Shepherd

Thank you for your letter.

I am sorry you do not agree with some of the views expressed by our columnist, Rod Liddle.

We allow all our columnists to express their views in their columns, but that does not mean that they are the Sun’s views.

It is always useful to hear readers’ opinions, and we do take them into consideration when forming policy for future. I am sorry for the distress that this article has caused for you, and can assure you that your views will be passed on to the Editor and senior executives for discussion, as well as Rod Liddle.

Do feel free to write to us about the paper, or any other subject that you feel merits discussion. Our readers are the most important element of our success and we constantly strive to give satisfaction and value, so we do listen and take account of what you have to say.

Yours sincerely

Kay Cox
Acting Letters Editor

Dr Shepherd has sent the following email and we await developments:

Dear Kay

Thank you for sending a copy of this Rod Liddle reply letter.

The MEA has, not surprisingly, received a substantial number of complaints about this article and my response, which corrects a factual inaccuracy, is clearly intended for publication.

So I would be grateful if you could confirm whether you are intending to publish a response from the MEA.

I have also been in contact with the Press Complaints Commission this morning.


Dr Charles Shepherd


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