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The Sun admits its '600,000 benefit tourists' story was false

The Sun newspaper has admitted an article claiming the EU had no problem with 600,000 “benefit tourists” in the UK was false.

Inaccurate: The Sun correction and online article screengrabs

The paper issued a correction on Thursday after running the story - which was written by The Sun's chief political correspondent Kevin Schofield - last month, admitting: “Our 21 October headline ‘Brussels: UK’s 600,000 benefit tourists is no problem’ was not accurate.

“There is no evidence of 600,000 ‘benefit tourists’ in the UK. Neither has the European Commission said this would be no problem.”

However, despite acknowledging the story’s inaccuracy in the printed version, the online version of the article remains without any correction on it.

The original article claimed: “Euro bosses have been accused of trying to hide the negative impact of benefit tourism to the UK.

“A European Commission report revealed more than 600,000 ‘non-active’ migrants are currently living here.”

It went on to highlight criticism which “blasted” the BBC’s coverage of the issue after the BBC 10 O’Clock News said claims of “large scale benefit tourism in the EU are exaggerated”.

At the time of writing, the online version of the story had a different title from that of the printed piece, although the article did state that it was last edited on 24 October, three days after the story ran in print.

When The Drum contacted The Sun, a spokeswoman said she was "not sure" why the article did not have a link to the correction alongside it. The Sun later contacted The Drum to say that its online article was correct and had never been changed. However, after querying this further, The Sun admitted that the online article had been changed post-publication, but insisted there was no need to issue a correction.

The spokeswoman said: "Our article was correct, however the sub-deck was wrong. We immediately corrected the sub-heading online; without a formal complaint to the PCC, and promptly issued an in-paper correction in our designated clarifications and correction column."

This article has been updated since publication on Friday morning, 1 November.

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