UK Politics

Ed Miliband calls for press review after phone hacking

Labour leader Ed Miliband
Image caption Ed Miliband said the wider lessons needed to be learned

Labour leader Ed Miliband wants an independent review of the regulation and practices of newspapers in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

He said the review should begin once the police inquiry into phone hacking and any legal cases had been completed.

The News of the World has apologised to some victims, including actress Sienna Miller, and set up a compensation fund.

Three journalists have been arrested and bailed as part of the latest police inquiry.

Speaking in the Guardian, Mr Miliband said the police investigation was the immediate priority but once it was finished, wider lessons needed to be learned.

'Risky step'

"I think it is in the interests of protecting the reputation of the British press that these matters should not simply be left to rest, and lessons have to be learned," he said.

He said the Press Complaints Commission had not "covered itself in glory" but his instinct was that he did not want government regulation.

"The press itself will want to look at how self-regulation can be made to work better because it clearly did not work very well in relation to these issues here," he said.

"It is not about government imposing this on the press... I think the review needs to have some independence, both from government and from those involved in the day-to-day running of newspapers.

"There has to be a sense that the future is not going to be like the past. Wider lessons have to be learned."

The Labour leader will be hoping that his call does not sour relations with newspaper proprietors, who he may need to turn to for support ahead of the next general election.

Mr Miliband's predecessor as Labour leader, Tony Blair, devoted much time and energy before the 1997 general election to securing Rupert Murdoch's support and The Sun's decision to back Labour was seen as a decisive factor in that year's election.

The Sun switched to supporting the Conservatives in 2009, but Labour still relies on the support of the newspaper's rival The Daily Mirror, which would also come under the scope of any investigation.

Settlements

In 2007, the first police investigation into voicemail interception led to the convictions and imprisonment of then News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was employed by the paper.

The paper said hacking was restricted to a single rogue reporter but legal cases brought by alleged victims for breach of privacy have led to a drip feed of information, and a new police investigation was launched.

Four people have reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper, including celebrity publicist Max Clifford, who received a reported £1m.

There are 20 cases going through the courts at the moment, and last week a High Court judge said four test cases should go ahead later in the year as a possible framework for action by 91 alleged victims.

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