Leveson 'strayed' far beyond his remit, Tory MP says

John Whittingdale Mr Whittingdale warned the government that statutory regulation of the press would be dangerous

The Leveson Inquiry into media ethics has "strayed" far beyond its remit, a senior Conservative MP has said.

John Whittingdale, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman, suggested Lord Justice Leveson had invited "anybody who has a grudge against the press" to give evidence.

This is why the inquiry had encompassed "controversial issues" such as Page Three girls, he told BBC Radio 4.

"You don't need a judicial inquiry to look into that," he said.

In an interview with the Media Show, Mr Whittingdale said: "Some of the witnesses have borne grudges about treatment by the press, quite understandably, but it has looked slightly like 'come and form an orderly queue and come and kick the press'."

He said it would be a "dangerous road to go down" if Lord Justice Leveson recommended statutory regulation of the press.

"There will be great pressure on the prime minister to immediately accept the recommendations made by Leveson.

"I hope he won't, whatever it is," he said.

The Conservative backbencher said Lord Justice Leveson had "encouraged anybody who has a grudge against the press over many years to come and unburden themselves in front of him, and as a result he has been looking at things which just seem to be a long way from what he was meant to be doing.

"Things like the question of Page Three girls. That's a controversial issue but you don't need a judicial inquiry to look into that."

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