Leveson Inquiry: Will Cameron regret Leveson?

 

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.

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 22.

    I thought Cameron's response was quite measured to be honest ~ that parliament very carefully consider the statutory underpinning and data protection issues before implementing same. It would be far easier just to say 'I agree with Leveson'.

    Most of the press were not party to hacking and accept need for a tougher regulator but will come out all guns blazing, united, against statutory aspects.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 48.

    Personally I think Cameron is right to be cautious about legislating against the third estate. This is a group of independent organisations who have to attract our readership to survive. Those that plumb the depths in order to appeal to our basic instincts are to be abhorred but they are subject to existing criminal jurisdiction. An Independent watchdog that can refer abuse to the law is enough.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 46.

    Why Mr Bobinson , would Cameron regret setting up the Leveson enquiry ? Whatever the outcome, and it will disappear down the Swanee in a couple of weeks anyway,it will have no affect on Cameron or his relationship with Clegg, who will toe the line when called on to do so. Millipede will see no mileage in it and go back to acting his role as mouthpiece for the unions. Molehill out of a mountain ???

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 25.

    It is a shame that most comments here appear to lack understanding of the problems which Leveson's proposed new law would entail. It is important not to throw away freedom of the press because we are angry about the activities of some newspapers and journalists,activities which were and are already illegal.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 57.

    IA 49

    "What Lord Justice Leveson is proposing is no different from the judiciary."

    Well, not quite, but an interesting debating point. The law, of course, has licensed practitioners - ever thought, for example, what "QC" means?

    Do we really want statutory licensing of journalists?

 

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