Stephen Gately's civil partner complains to PCC about Jan Moir column

Civil partner of Stephen Gately, Andrew Cowles, makes formal complaint to press watchdog over Jan Moir Daily Mail column

Andrew Cowles, the civil partner of Stephen Gately, has today formally complained to the press watchdog about the controversial Daily Mail column by Jan Moir about the pop star's death.

The Press Complaints Commission will now investigate whether Moir's column, headlined "A strange, lonely and troubling death", breached its code of practice.

Moir's column was first published online with the headline "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death" but Mail Online changed this to match the print version after complaints.

Cowles complained thorugh his solitictors, Mishcon de Reya, citing breaches of accuracy, intrusion into grief or shock and discrimination.

"The commission will now investigate this complaint with the newspaper and publish the outcome in due course," the PCC said.

"The PCC proactively contacted representatives of Mr Gately's family shortly after his death to ensure that they were aware of the PCC's services should they wish to use them."

Because of the move by Cowles, the PCC has delayed its findings on the 25,000 complaints, the largest in its history, it received after Moir's column was criticised on social networking websites and Twitter. The PCC generally does not launch formal investigations into third-party complaints.

Moir's column called for "the truth" to emerge "about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death". "Once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see," she wrote.

A week later Moir apologised for the timing of her column, saying she did not hold "poisonous" homophobic views.

Paul Dacre, the Daily Mail editor, chairs the PCC's code committee, which comprises 13 editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines.

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Stephen Brook

The GuardianTramp

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