UK Politics

Leveson Inquiry: Will Cameron regret Leveson?

  • 29 November 2012
  • From the section UK Politics
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He set up the Leveson Inquiry.

He said there could be no more last chances for the press.

He said the test of any change was whether it satisfied the victims.

And yet David Cameron has rejected the central recommendation of Lord Justice Leveson - that a new law is essential to underpin a new stronger press regulator.

Minutes after he did so the prime minister swapped places and a smile with his deputy Nick Clegg who took the unprecedented step of making his own separate Commons statement saying that only a new law could guarantee the independence of any regulator.

Given that that is the view shared by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, there is now in theory a pro-Leveson parliamentary majority made up of Labour, Liberal Democrat and dozens of Tory MPs who don't agree with their leader.

However, even though they could defeat and embarrass David Cameron that coalition could not force a new press law into being (since it is the government that controls the parliamentary time needed to pass legislation).

The prime minister knows he has given his opponents yet another stick to beat him with. He also knows, however, that the press are firmly on his side.

His hope is that the pressure he is under will be relieved when/if newspapers swiftly set up the new regulator they've been working on - adapted to meet the principles set out in today's report. One of his allies told me "It will happen".

Until it does, David Cameron will have plenty of time to wonder if picking up the phone to Sir Brian Leveson was really such a good idea.