Coffee House

Leveson report: Nick Clegg backs statutory underpinning

29 November 2012

29 November 2012

As trailed on Coffee House over the past few days, Nick Clegg used his own separate Commons statement to declare his support for the statutory underpinning of the new independent press regulator. He said that nothing in the debate that he had heard so far suggested to him that there was a better system of regulation than the one before MPs today.

‘The long grass is the last place that this problem should end up in,’ he said, adding: ‘I am convinced that he has made a case for legislation.’

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The Deputy Prime Minister said he acknowledged that ‘we now need to show how that can be done in a workable way’. But he argued that it was a ‘straw man’ to suggest that law is always a threat to the freedom of the press.

What is interesting is that shortly after David Cameron gave his own statement, his official spokesman hinted that the Prime Minister was not entirely unequivocal on refusing statute. The spokesman said: ‘He did not in his statement rule it out. All he said here is that we need to think very, very carefully.’

Harriet Harman clearly hopes there will be wriggle room on this issue. Like Ed Miliband, she wants to put the proposals to a vote in the House of Commons if the cross-party talks do not produce a constructive outcome by January. Responding to Clegg, she said it would be a ‘craven’ act of bowing to the press and leaving them at ‘the lock-in at the last-chance saloon’. That might not contribute to a convivial atmosphere in the talks taking place in the Prime Minister’s office straight after this debate.

But Clegg also made clear that he does have concerns about specific elements of the Leveson recommendations, rather than accepting them wholeheartedly. He said he was unconvinced that OfCom was suited to regulating the newspaper industry, pointing out that Leveson had conceded in his report that another body could take this on.


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Show comments
  • Remittance Man

    If Nick Clegg supports it then there’s a very good chance it should be opposed.

  • MikeBrighton

    Who give a slightest toss what this excuse-for-a-politician thinks about anything!

  • launcher

    I am at a loss as to who cares what Clegg thinks about what the grown-ups are doing.

  • In2minds

    Look at him howling at the moon!

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Yep the Illiberal Liberals strike again. Anything so they can impose their grubby little wheezes on the world.and get themselves a few sound bytes in the media who ironically they clearly so despise (and who don’t think much of them either).

    But these two comments I think provide the most foreboding

    What is interesting is that shortly after David Cameron gave his own
    statement, his official spokesman hinted that the Prime Minister was not
    entirely unequivocal on refusing statute.

    And…

    But Clegg also made clear that he does have concerns about specific elements of the Leveson recommendations,

    Its sound like the Downing Street Diarrhea Daleks have been at it again:

    Equivocate, Equivocate

    They are going to drag this nonsense out for years and the electorate are going to have to continue to suffer the interminable ramblings of Hugh Grant for god knows how long.

    Please, please please can we stop this incessant Westminster Freakshow navel gazing and have some real politics about real people in the real world (even if it is abominations such as minimum alcohol pricing) and leave the NeverNeverland of Westminster behind. Just put the guilty behind bars and move on.

  • Noa

    Me too, please sir!

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