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Government to draft legislation on Leveson recommendations

30 November 2012

9:25 AM

30 November 2012

9:25 AM

The first of many cross-party discussions on the response to the Leveson Inquiry lasted 30 minutes last night. The ‘frank’ meeting resulted in David Cameron agreeing to draft bill to see if the proposals in Lord Justice Leveson’s report were workable. The idea is that the legislation will prove that the statutory underpinning of the new independent press regulator is unworkable, while Number 10 sources are briefing that the Prime Minister has ‘not shifted one inch’ on his position on the report.

But agreeing to draft legislation, if only to prove those deep misgivings that Cameron retains, is a canny way of approaching the divide in Parliament over the response to the report. Rather than appearing to dismiss the recommendations out of hand, the Prime Minister can then say that the Government really did try to see if statutory regulation would work. It could underline the concern he expressed in the Commons yesterday that the system that Leveson said was not statutory regulation would in fact end up as statutory regulation. The draft legislation could be ready in the next two weeks.

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But while ministers can drive their government lawyers as fast as they possibly can to draft the legislation, one thing they do rely on without having any power over is the response of the newspaper industry to Leveson. There is a risk that in celebrating the apparent demise of the threat of statutory regulation, the press gives the impression that it does not want to change. That is untrue: as Fraser says in his blog this morning, the abuses that triggered the Leveson Inquiry have brought shame on the newspaper industry. Maria Miller was stern about the need for enthusiasm among editors for the new independent regulator when she appeared on Sky News this morning, saying:

‘Their solution to the questions that have been posed by Lord Leveson, what Lord Leveson has made clear is that the current Hunt/Black model has some significant flaw and I think the press need to be under no illusions if that isn’t forthcoming then we would have to take further action.’

Cameron said yesterday that he wanted to give the newspaper industry some time to plan for its new regulator. But it will be very important for him that a tough new independent regime that bears no resemblance to the weak Press Complaints Commission is set up with expedience if he is to deflect claims that he is simply bowing to bullying from the press. The important thing, he argued yesterday, is that the newspaper industry changes for good. He needs the press to show that this can happen without statutory underpinning.

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Show comments
  • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

    Will this include finding and killing Piers Morgan?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    So Cameron is waffling, as usual.

    What a surprise.

    And the poor Speccie teenagers had teed up all that heroic praise for him, too. It’s always best to wait before awarding the bravery medals, kids.

    It is troubling, the premise Cameron is making here, that people have to be shown the reasons that the Leveson censorship protocol cannot work, rather than explaining to them the reasons why a censorship protocol SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WORK.

    But that’s Cameron. And that’s the Cameroons. Freedom of speech and press is just passing fancy for them, evidently.

  • Swiss Bob

    Just seen Miliband on Sky. Who would have thought he’d be an authoritarian statist. Twat.

    • Colonel Mustard

      They all are. There is no such thing as the “soft left” or the “moderate left”. Within each and every one of them is a coercive bully who believes everyone should think as they do and be compelled to do so. When anyone doesn’t they reveal the hatred that they try to ban in others and the complete abandonment of “embracing and celebrating” the “diversity”, “equality” and “fairness” they are always bleating on about so sanctimoniously.

  • DavidDP

    This strikes me as being more about a) So called “Regulation Tories” and b) Nick Clegg in that order who seem to be persuadable on the matter.
    Ed “I can read more than 19 pages a minute” Miliband appears to have set his position in stone, alas.

  • Open_Palm

    Here is a golden opportunity for newspapers to prove to the public why freedom of the press must be protected – to tell us whether it is their freedom to report the truth or freedom to boost sales that they champion.

  • Heartless etc.,

    Never mind all the Lev bullshit – it’s gilding a porcine snout. The really important matter is matter is – what is the H2B going to do about The Results?

    Dismiss them?

    Push on with all the PC Bullshit?

  • oldervoter

    Of course the press has lobbied the prime minister in this shameful abuse of power. Leveson has said that this lobbying should be disclosed. Nothing has been said about that. Anyone with me on boycotting buying any newspapers until the bill is put before Parliament and the press sets up the independent body? As to the drat bill that is likely to be the most complex piece of legislation ever seen – to prove Cameron’s point. Shameful.

    • Swiss Bob

      I suppose you’ve forgotten one Gordon Brown’s promise to destroy NI after they decided to support the Tories and how they all had a nice sleepover together, Brown and Brookes, and one T Blair’s children having Murdoch as their Godfather.

      You also appear to have forgotten that Leveson let the police off for not being too corrupt even though they failed to prosecute any of the lawbreaking but rather took long lunches and gifts instead.

      You want these sorts of people regulating the press?

      • oldervoter

        It is tiresome to hear arguments that someone else is also guilty as an excuse for shameful actions. Leveson’s proposals are sensible and should be implemented. The press has conspired to protect its coroprate interests, the very abuse of power that Leveson was investigating.

        • DavidDP

          No they aren’t. They do set out some good principles for the independent regulation that should be set up, but call for statutory underpinning is not sensible, and neither are some of the its about data protection.
          Your position re the press seems to be tha the press has been bad, ergo whatever they must be saying is bad. That sort of logic can lead to some very silly positions. Judge things on their merits – the press is right to be set against statutory regulation, and one does not need to agree with their previous behaviour in order to join that call.

        • Swiss Bob

          You misunderstand, what I wrote is not ‘whataboutery’, it’s about politicians, two thirds of whom were found to be crooks, now wanting to be able to regulate those who uncovered their thieving.

        • The Crunge

          Sensible! To tear down one of the bulwarks of our national freedom which for all its manifest faults helps to protect us from the excesses of wicked politicians. Imagine where we would be if the excesses of Blair and Brown (Iraq, Afghanistan, the deficit, destruction of private pensions,MPs expenses, cash for questions etc etc etc) had not been exposed by the press. And when, like a good socialist, do you expect to legislate for the “Gestapo apparatus” necessary to enforce political control of the press. You will I assume be happy to see people imprisoned for disagreeing with Ed Milliband. You may be naieve, stupid or malign or a combination of all three but by god you hold our freedoms cheaply and you and your odious kind truly terrify me.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Go away. Fed up with lefties. Fed up with the causes of lefties.

      • oldervoter

        It is playground debating to call people names rather that engaging in adult conversation. Go and read the Sun.

        • Colonel Mustard

          No thanks and I’m not calling you names – other than lefty, which you are (I’ve checked all your other comments and it is very apparent) and no worse than applying the word “Tory” or “Tories” which you do in many of your comments.

          I remain utterly fed up with your pervasive political ideology, it’s overweening claims to moral superiority and its coercive, emotional blackmail deployed to intimidate dissent. If you want a demonstration on playground debating you need look no further than the many pejoratives childishly applied by lefties to anyone who should disagree with them – e.g. “Go and read the Sun” which is a shameful attempt to belittle me and establish your superiority.

          So. Go away. Fed up with lefties. Fed up with the causes of lefties.

  • Noa

    This draft legislation, no matter how bad, will taken down, dusted off and enacted in 2015.

  • Frederick James

    Clegg seems a nice sort of chap but he has the shallowest intellect of the main party leaders (and that is saying something). When he sees the draft legislation there is at least a chance it may dawn on him what the practical consequences might be. It’s a smart move by Cameron.

  • Swiss Bob

    And how are they going to regulate me?

    If I publish stories, using leaks from the Govt that may even be state secrets then my sources have absolute protection under Swiss law.

    I was also going to add: that the European Arrest Warrant can’t be applied to me but on checking, sh1t, you learn something new every day, it can!

    • Noa

      I wouldn’t bet on it. Swiss Bob.
      There’s always a polonium pellet for those who don’t behave and play nicely with the other children.

      • Swiss Bob

        That’s the Russians. They only kill you.

        They’d more likely arrange a visit by the Rotherham SS, smear you as a nonce and drive you to suicide.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Sadly it looks like a climb down by Cameron and another win for the odious Clegg. We will probably end up with more bad law courtesy of the noisy, coercive leftist collective which will provide a charter for all the usual suspects – lefty axe-grinders and serial complainers – to ban and suppress anything they disapprove of.

    • Noa

      Did you really expect anything different from Cameron?

      • Colonel Mustard

        I must confess to a brief surge of hope when I listened to his speech. I should have known better. What you see is never what you get. We now have the prospect of a dog’ breakfast of legislation and a whole warehouse full of unlabelled unintended consequences to contend with. The meddlers and ban merchants must be delighted though.

  • HooksLaw

    Its amazing that its the press/media who are a total bollocking mess of a corrupt inept and bigoted shambles (not least the BBC) but you put the pressure into Cameron. In defending your freedom to be a total waste of space its ironic that its Cameron who is getting the bad press.

    Mr Nelson’s comments are pathetic. He has stood by and done nothing whilst press regulation and morals have gone down the tube.

    And in terms of the Dowler affair of course then from which ever angle you look the press turn out bad. It was crass to access the voice mails and the Guardian lied when it accused the NOTW of deleting them. The Guardian campaign of course was founded on self interest and run in conjunction with the Labour Party.

  • toco10

    An excellent piece Isabel which captures the situation perfectly.Given the utter destruction by the BBC of Lord MacAlpine however it is strange how the Today programme revels in misdeeds of newspapers and totally ignores its own biased and sometimes sinister behaviour.

    • HooksLaw

      Well I take your point, but it was a BBC interviewer who defenestrated the DG.

      • Vulture

        No he defenetrated himself by showing himself up as an incompetent, paperclip pushing dawk who couldn’t run a roadside Mister Chef

    • dalai guevara

      Yes, let’s not forget that -apart from Italy- the UK is the only country on the planet to sport 10+ red tops that deliver biased innuendo packaged with voyeuristic tat to deceive the masses. I have seen enough bikini shots from footballers in Dubai, time we raise the standards.

      • Julian F

        Seen enough bikini-shots have you? Don’t buy the red-tops, then. No-one’s forcing you. That’s the great thing about freedom….

        • dalai guevara

          Freedom to package political message with voyeuristic tat to those who were ‘educated’ to claim benefits? I am loving your way of thinking – you must believe you are holding the moral high ground 😉

          • The Crunge

            While drafting the legislation to muzzle the press perhaps we could draft the legislation to introduce the Gestapo apparatus (Churchill’s words) to enforce said legislation. Watching people disappear in the night without trace would certainly have me yearning for the days when the most offensive blot on the landscape was a few footballers in bikinis. By the way, the moral high ground is of course unobtainable fully occupied as it is by sanctimonious hypocritical socialists who care only for a democracy of the committed and hate this country with a passion. What a world we can look forward to when you get your way.

            • dalai guevara

              Yes of course, you outline eloquently the causal relationship of bikini shots and fascist arrests under the beam of a maglite. Is your world really that black and white?

              • The Crunge

                No but I prefer to the disgusting, intolerant freedom hating fascistic paradise that you envision.

                • dalai guevara

                  You lower yourself to equating my position with fascism, then socialism, then freedom hating – all as you begin to grasp that there were victims of crime (remember) and proven collusion of the police (remember) and celeb journos publicly admitting to phone hacking on Leveson TV now outsourced to CNN untouched (remember). Now, find another diverting phrase to describe my position. Give it your best shot.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, mate, if it looks like a fascist, and censors like a fascist, and goosesteps like a fascist, well, you know what they say.

                • dalai guevara

                  I am thrilled to see your not calling me a socialist anymore. Otherwise I would begin to believe that I am all things to all people.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Not sure I ever called you a “socialist”. I do recall mentioning how stupid you are, mind.

                • dalai guevara

                  …all claimed by our in-house ‘now watch that drive’ Dubya groupie. I have tested my new tool, the Big Bertha btw – it was ergonomically shaped to drive away all the insults from the likes of you.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I doubt you understand ergonomics any more than power engineering or anything else you blather on about. Try not to hurt yourself, in any case.

                • dalai guevara

                  I am an engineer (only one of my qualifications) and the money’s in the bank…if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen, or perhaps just turn off your hearing aid?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you have told us of your many cosmopolitanly educated qualifications. However, they don’t seem to translate well on this site. Only the stupid comes through.

                  What kind of “engineer” are you, by the way?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Probably a social engineer, intent on re-shaping society to conform to a socialist ideal but using fascist methodology to achieve that.

                  Like Common Purpose. Marcusean “logic”. Resist them. Never give up. The stronger and more outspoken the resistance the more their mask slip to show their stark reality.

                • dalai guevara

                  If 10+ red tops packaging up voyeuristic tat whilst delivering hidden innuendo is your way forward to fight the rise of dissent, then so be it. Care to comment on the original message, or are you still off on one about how beautiful Bavaria is?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Ageism too now. Tut tut. The Chinese venerate their older citizens for wisdom and experience. But more importantly your snide remark demonstrates just how shallow your “socialist” sensitivities extend.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  A nice piece of disingenuity. You forget that national socialists were fascists and I am reminded ever more often by comments on this and other political forums of the apparent attraction of fascism to the modern breed of socialist – although of course they don’t call it that.

                  In fact most of them, like you, have no self awareness of that at all. So, yes, you can indeed be both socialist and fascist. Socialist in intent, fascist in execution, exactly similar to the previous marriage of the two ideologies in the NSDAP. And a great wheeze for the modern Left to perpetuate the mythology that the Bavarian corporal was “far right” and for that most fascist of modern political pressure groups to call itself Unite Against Fascism.

                  Back to the books for you, to study political methodologies in practice rather than intention and to become more self aware.

                • dalai guevara

                  You have just clarified (to me at least) that you are five years old. Thanks for that.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Although he was born in Austria he served during the Great War in Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16. In modern times Gefreiter has been equated with ‘private’ by comparison to the NATO rank system but in 1914-18 it was considered to equate to Lance-Corporal as it was a grade above Gemeiner or private. He was not in the Austrian Army thus he was indeed, strictly speaking, a Bavarian corporal.

                  PS Your abusive scorn demonstrates the response often resorted to by leftists when confronted with realities about themselves. The fact that modern socialists can and do exhibit fascist tendencies is well documented in learned political writing.

                • dalai guevara

                  Dear Colonel, whilst you eloquently put meat on the bones with regard to why you believe Bavaria is of any relevance here, your stance of witnessing ‘…ever more often (by) comments on this and other political forums of the apparent attraction of fascism…’ just keeps me thinking you have not yet reached puberty.

                  Of course it is true that the kind of press ‘regulation’ we are currently debating, or indeed Leveson is suggesting, does not make him or anyone siding with him a supporter of fascist doctrin. You have just totally lost the plot in this instance. Excuse me, but that’s all I have got to add.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You simply cannot argue without abuse can you? But your dismissal lies in the very lack of self awareness I pointed out as an enduring characteristic of leftists. One might think that after the debacle of 1997-2010 they might turn the spotlight on themselves for a good dose of home truth. But not a bit of it! It is always someone else’s fault and any attempt at an objective critique is scorned and abused – exactly as you have done. For those exact reasons you cannot even bring yourself to admit that you were wrong about the Bavarian corporal – and it is not my belief but fact – check it for yourself.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  PS You think that Gleichschaltung started with Hitler holding a press conference and saying “I’m a fascist!”? How naive you are about political methodologies and the incremental abuse of power.

                • dalai guevara

                  What, frankly, are you on about? Bliar is not my dad. You are the one who commenced with abuse, if cannot take it, don’t dish it…

                • The Crunge

                  You are not worth any further effort.

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