People in parliament are editing politicians’ Wikipedia pages to remove awkward information and add positive PR.
It’s against Wikipedia’s rules to edit with an obvious conflict of interest but- more than anything – editing the page of someone you’re associated with comes across as a little desperate.
There’s no way of knowing who is actually making the edits from parliament’s internet connection given politicians, researchers and visitors all have access. But whoever made them, most of these edits are pretty convenient for politicians.
These edits have been made within the last eighteen months:
1. Someone in parliament removed an embarrassing reference to Richard Ottaway MP buying a bed from Harrods at the taxpayer’s expense.
Even though he did bill the taxpayer for half the price of a Harrods bed.
2. Someone in parliament removed references to political funding received by Stewart Jackson MP.
Although he did receive £24,500 from Tribune (and has since received a further £2,500) according to official declarations collated by the union-funded website SearchTheMoney.
3. Someone in parliament added claims about Mark Pritchard MP’s divorce to his Wikipedia page.
Mark Pritchard’s wife Sondra continued to work as his office manager in the Houses of Parliament, despite the looming divorce.
4. Someone in parliament added more claims about Mark Pritchard’s divorce to Wikipedia.
5. In fact, someone in parliament added quite a lot of information about Mark Pritchard’s divorce.
The Mail on Sunday has suggested that Pritchard and his wife were in a tit-for-tat Wikipedia editing war over their divorce.
6. Someone in parliament removed mentions of Baroness Rawlings’ role in the proposed sale of a central London site earmarked for hospital use.
The relevant section is as cited in a Guardian report from the time.
7. Someone in parliament added quite a lot of fluffy information on how Mike Weir MP stands up for people.
Which also includes links to Scottish National Party press releases.
8. Someone in parliament removed a section entitled “controversy” from the page of Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.
The relevant Wikipedia section referenced a Guardian article by campaigner Julie Bailey who did call for Burnham to be sacked and have “nothing more to do with health policy”.
9. Someone in parliament deleted details of a youth history prize from the page of Kwasi Kwarteng MP.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of there.
10. Someone in parliament took the time to really big up Steve Rotheram MP’s football skills.
11. Someone in parliament removed the fact that Anne Main MP claimed for a second home despite her constituency being close to London.
St Albans is definitely only a “short train journey from London”.
12. Someone in parliament deleted a section saying Baron Ahmed was not actually the first Muslim peer.
Technically he became a peer a few months after Lord Alli and Baroness Uddin. Someone would prefer this wasn’t on his Wikipedia page.
13. Someone wiped references to Lord Razzall’s interest in an African mining company.
He definitely has a shareholding in IMRAS, as Wikipedia reported.
14. Someone in parliament repeatedly deleted references to Caroline Dinenage MP voting against the marriage equality bill in the House of Commons.
The MP – daughter of former How 2 presenter Fred Dinenage – did vote against marriage equality and has made her views clear on this.
15. Someone in parliament deleted Ian Paisley Jr. MP’s views on homosexuality.
This definitely happened – or, to put it another way, someone in parliament would prefer if this comment was not on Ian Paisley’s Wikipedia page: “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society. That doesn’t mean to say that I hate them – I mean, I hate what they do.”