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Leveson report: David Cameron left in a minority over press regulation

29 November 2012

29 November 2012

Following this afternoon’s statements I am certain that David Cameron is in a minority in the House of Commons in not wanting to create a statutory back-stop for a press regulator. But, so far, no one can explain how even an alliance of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Eustice Tories can force the Prime Minister to provide parliamentary time for a bill that he doesn’t want.

Cameron got the tone and content of his statement right. I’m reassured that Cameron appreciates that while he set up an inquiry, he didn’t outsource his judgment to Lord Justice Leveson. He is also surely correct that a press law, however brief, would have worrying consequences.

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Just before the statement, a visibly agitated Miliband walked over to Cameron to talk to him. When he rose to spoke, Miliband was passionate and sincere. But I do find it odd how keen Miliband is to simply take Leveson whole, saying that ‘we should put our trust in Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations’ and that he wanted Leveson ‘accepted in its entirety.’

Nick Clegg’s statement following David Cameron’s turned out to be a less dramatic moment than I expected. Cameron sat there calmly and the Tory backbenches largely behaved, there was no barracking of the Deputy Prime Minister. Labour attempted to hug Clegg close. Miliband nodded at the key lines, Harriet Harman praised him in her opening remarks and even Ed Balls tried to listen courteously—but he still couldn’t resist checking his phone repeatedly. A moment of Labour-Clegg reconciliation seemed to be on the cards.

Significantly, though, Clegg rebuked Harman when she accused Cameron of bowing to vested interests and betraying the victims. That seemed to me an indication that Clegg is not prepared to inflict structural damage on the coalition over this issue.

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Show comments
  • Carol-Ann

    I never thought I would say this but, I’m proud of Cameron. He has shown leadership and is putting the long term interests of the people before political gain.
    I think the tide is going to turn against Miliband. He is in the pockets of Mosley, Grant, Coogan etc. Labour sticking up fir the rich, famous and powerful against the ordinary person is a disgrace.

  • MikeBrighton

    So a few “celebs” have their phones hacked one minute and then they are selling their stories to the press the next. Frankly who gives a monkeys toss.

    This is light years from the basis for a state controlled press.

    The political dividing line is authoritarianism vs a free press. As usual Labour and it’s lefty hangers-on are on the side of authoritarianism as they were in office. I must confess I’m plesantly surprised by Cameron who has played this well.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Well said.

  • JL

    I wonder whether Gove threatened to resign over Leveson, and that’s why Cameron didn’t go along with it.

  • HooksLaw

    If Balls is reduced to checking his phone in the Chamber of the House of Commons then he is reduced to a complete joke. Pathetic.

    • Noa

      It’s the one he caught when Big Gordon threw it at him.

  • Swiss Bob

    Sky reporting that no serving MP could sit on the so called independent body.

    So just another Quango for retiring Labour MPs and Labour activists just like every other Quango in the county.

    • HooksLaw

      As opposed to a bunch of former editors. I am sure that Lindsay Nicholson,
      Editorial Director, Good Housekeeping, is an ideal person to rely on to regulate the press.
      The current state is of course a joke. Levenson’s notions hardly seem that controversial.

      • HellforLeather

        In what way do you oppose the credentials of the said Lindsay Nicholson whom you refer to?

        Argue your case when you comment, don’t just snipe and whinge

        • HooksLaw

          I bow to your superior knowledge of the crusading instincts of Good Housekeeping.
          Yes the future fair and honest reporting on the subject of magnolia is safe in her hands.

          To be fair her stint as health and beauty editor of ‘Honey’ may have helped, and ditto her role as Editor in Chief at ‘Prima’

          The point of course which I confess my droll style may have allowed you to miss, is that how come its so wrong for an ex MP to be part of a commission when currently the press regulate itself in such an obviously biased and incompetent way?
          It is true that Ms Lindsay drew my short straw.

  • HooksLaw

    Thanks to the obsessive campaign by the likes of The Spectator and loopy Conservative backbenchers we see the BBC able to get a victim of the press to label him insincere on the 6 o’Clock news. Ignore the reality of the nuances.

    One might almost think the Spectator wants a Labour government. And what is the issue – a total nonsense of an issue.

    • HellforLeather

      Obsessive and loopy best describe you, from what yor write.

      The “Thick Cut” rides on… imagining again how it might be a tinpot dictator, somewhere, somehow

      • HooksLaw

        The ‘thick of it’ describes the tory backbenchers obsessing about the press. The overriding impression to come out of the news was of Cameron (irrespective of the nuances of his speech) being labelled insincere by a press victim.

        There was no need for a pro press campaign or the Spectators own stance, which ignores the sad state of the press. Defending a free press is important and Levenson did not usurp such a notion. As a result we see I think Cameron on the wrong side of the argument.

        In terms of writing here to point out the fantasy world of the UKIP crowd I will keep up the obsession.

        And to keep Ms Klapp happy on the subject of energy I will point her to some totally wasteful Federal expenditure on green energy.

        • Baron

          HooksLaw, for FS just think for once, we have enough laws to keep the press in check, laws aplenty oozing from any orifice of the body politics, the problem is these laws are not being enforced. That’s what the problema is, my blogging friend. And they are not enforced because many of those in charge of any of the supposedly independent agencies of state pursue their own self-interest as opposed to the interest of those they are set-up to protect.

  • Jupiter

    A few points on today’s insanity –

    That numpty Leveson is off on a jolly to Australia, hopefully he won’t be allowed back into the country.

    Cleggy should cross the floor (and take that numpty Cable with him)

    Milipede proved again that he would be a joke as PM

    The media have ridiculously overhyped this story (including the Speccie teenagers). Isn’t there any real news today?

    • MirthaTidville

      Yes the SAS Sergeant has been released by the Court of Appeal and had his sentence reduced and suspended. A good news story indeed, totally ignored by the Speccie et al…….too interested in silly celebs and their fucking mobile phones!!

      • Noa

        But not the full pardon he and re-instatement he should have had. The rotten laws are still there for the next victim and miscarriage of justice.

        • HooksLaw

          He can now appeal against the conviction, having quickly been able to appeal the sentence.
          The sad fact is its illegal to own an automatic pistol and 300 rounds of ammunition in this country.

          As we see today the original sentence (by an army court martial which may have had its own agenda) has been deemed far too heavy. And correctly so.

          • MikeBrighton

            Sadly a Glock and 300 rounds can be easily obtained in the pubs of sarf London and elsewhere

            • HooksLaw

              Indeed if its as easy as you say.
              But how does this alter the legality of possession?

          • Cogito Ergosum

            No, he can’t. He pleaded guilty.

    • Paddy

      Yes, but the socialists keep saying “it’s what the public wants”.

      Leveson is off on an all expenses paid holiday to Australia with his wife…..with a few speaking engagements on “press freedom”.

  • Swiss Bob

    Blow me Cameron appears to have done something courageous.

    • HooksLaw

      And just watch the rating plummet.

    • Noa

      Did you miss his get out claws?

  • anyfool

    Miliband was passionate and sincere,
    That anyone can think this cypher is sincere is not living on this planet, that he is passionate to muzzle the press is a given, if anyone thinks that the likes of Labour and the Lib Dems have anything but there own interests at heart is deluded.
    If Cameron does as little as he can about this report it will be the first sensible decisions he has made as PM.
    His next sensible decision should be to resign for calling this futile exercise in pandering to people like Miliband and his fellow crooks and liars.

    • telemachus

      Excellent conclusion anyfool
      If Cameron resigns we will then have a passionate and sincere PM

      • HooksLaw

        Sincere? Like he was when he faked a none existent NHS meeting so he could go for a ride in a donors Rolls Royce?

      • Noa

        A real compliment to Nigel F! Or do you mean Michael Gove?

        • telemachus

          A real couple of oddballs-a bullfrog and a lizard

          • Noa

            Judgements on competency and professionalism based on looks? Very shallow.

      • MikeBrighton

        Who? I take it you mean Michael Gove so I definately agree.

        You certainly can’t mean anyone on the Labour benches all certified liars and cheats who pretended that Gordon Brown was the greatest Chancellor and then PM ever, when everyone with eyes could see he was fool of the first order

        • telemachus

          As you well know I was referring to Miliband Minor who will gain office before doing the decent thing and finally giving us a leader with charisma and drive-after he has triggered the buid for growth revolution

          • MikeBrighton

            Yes on current trends Milliband minor may well, amazingly gob-smackingly gain office! The least well equipped PM since er the last Labour one a Mr G Brown. A man of almost no discernible talent who as a member of the north London marxist labour set is laughably MP for Doncaster North. A pretty deprived constituency with high unemployment, crime and social deprivation, where millionaire Marxist Ed no more knows the needs of his deprived constituents than an amoeba knows quantum physics!
            By doing the decent thing I guess you mean the pearl handled revolver passed to him by the grim Balls duo?
            Btw your definition of charisma is markedly different than my own. If you discern Ed as charismatic i suggest an urgent appointment with your doctor

            • telemachus

              As you say Yvette and Ed are the couple of the moment
              We are all excited

              • Span Ows

                A real couple of oddballs-a bullfrog and a lizard

        • HooksLaw

          Eyes and/or a nose.

          • MikeBrighton


        • Whyshouldihavetoregister

          Gove’s ‘definately’ got some work to do at education still.

    • Hugh

      It’s interesting that Miliband is always passionate and sincere about issues where there is a 70% leaning one way in opinion polls (being tough on banks, taxing the super rich, giving tabloid hacks a hard time), and impossibly circumspect about anything that would risk public ire (like what he might cut and when).

      • anyfool

        Yes he is an absolute gutless cur when it comes to anything that requires a degree of resolution, but when you have writers on this organ calling that turgid one nation drivel, as a brave and defining speech, then despair looks to be order of the day.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Twelve posts on Leveson by my count. That is way beyond enough. Please return to our regularly scheduled programming. Oh, and get over it, the weight of the report belies its importance and relevance. Nothing is going to change.

    • The Crunge

      I only hope you are right.

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    Groucho Marx on politics as now applicable to The Leveson Report: ”Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

    • Rhoda Klapp

      In case anybody has never seen the Ambrose Bierce definition:

      Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Am I mistaken but aren’t there three by elections happening in the real world today?

    • Swiss Bob

      Yes, and I’d love to know what’s up in Rotherham.

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