Newspaper review: Papers back PM over Leveson


"Tomorrow's fish and chip paper." That is the Independent's view of the Leveson report into press ethics after David Cameron chose to reject one of its key recommendations on Thursday.

It believes that ensuring that a new, independent regulatory body is underpinned by legislation is not only unnecessary but undesirable.

With the prime minister also against the idea, the Independent believes the onus is now on the press to devise a system of independent regulation that commands the confidence of MPs and the public.

It says the press must now do so with the same urgency, strength of purpose and understanding of public mood shown by Lord Justice Leveson in his inquiry.

Mistakes acknowledged

The Sun - whose sister paper the News of the World was a casualty of the phone-hacking scandal - agrees that newspapers must now devise what it calls "robust and muscular" proposals for regulation.

The proposals can prove there is no need for a new law, it says. But it says change has already come. The paper says it has acknowledged past mistakes by changing its culture and improving corporate governance.

The Times also feels that it is the press, not Parliament, that now needs to act and it calls on the industry to come together quickly - a sentiment echoed by the Daily Telegraph.

The Times believes the Leveson report must be regarded as a success but it also takes issue with the idea of statutory underpinning of regulation and feels David Cameron was right to do the same.

Elephant in room

The Times also thinks Ofcom is not the right backstop for any press regulation.

The Financial Times also questions the idea of a backstop, saying it amounts to press law by the back door.

The Daily Mail and the Times also attack Lord Justice Leveson for what they see as his failure to address the role of the internet.

The Sun concurs, describing the internet as the elephant in the room which remains part of the problem and must be part of the solution.

Stretching pensions

It says they are also underestimating how long they will live and, therefore, how far their pensions will have to stretch. A study is urging people to start saving more now.

The paper says the tightening of rules on funding come after representations from scientific and secular bodies concerned that Christian-run schools could present creationism as a credible theory.

Beetle mania

Finally, the Times reveals that the iconic Volkswagen Beetle - the bedrock of Germany's post-war car industry - only survived World War II because of the intervention of two British army officers.

It seems the car's blueprints were destroyed when VW's plant was bombed and the Russians and Americans, who then plundered the factory, had no interest in the Beetle parts stored in the basement.

But Col Charles Radclyffe and Maj Ivan Hurst then arrived on the scene and saw the Beetle's potential.

They produced new plans drawn from the parts left in the factory - and the Beetle went back into production in 1946.

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