Coffee House

Harriet Harman and Maria Miller both claim victory in Leveson talks

18 March 2013

8:49 AM

18 March 2013

8:49 AM

Who has won in the late-night Leveson talks? Both Harriet Harman and Maria Miller seem to think their own party’s Royal Charter has come out tops. And one says they’ve secured statutory underpinning, while the other says there isn’t any underpinning. And again, one says the deal is done, while the other says the parties are ‘close’ to a deal.

This is what Harman had to say on the Today programme:

‘There is an amendment going forward into the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which says that where a Charter says in that Charter it can’t be dissolved or amended without a two-thirds majority in both Houses then that should have the force of law.’

She added:

‘The framework is set up in a Royal Charter, not by statute but in a Royal Charter. But just to make sure that the Royal Charter, which is run by the Privy Council essentially, which is effectively ministers, just to make sure that ministers can’t tamper with it in the future, there’s just a small piece of legislation in the House of Lords today which will say you can’t tamper with or water down this charter.’


And this is what Maria Miller had to say a bit later on the same programme:

‘We’re very close to a deal but I think what has been accepted by all the parties is that the Prime Minister’s Royal Charter should go ahead, and that importantly we’ve stopped Labour’s extreme version of the press law, which now, as part of any deal, the Labour party would actually vote against.’

She added:

‘I think now there’s a very clear acceptance from Labour, from the Liberals, that the Prime Minister’s Royal Charter is the right way forward and we should stop the extreme version of press law that has been tabled.’

Miller also insisted that there ‘is no statutory underpinning for the approach that we are taking’, while Harman used the words ‘bit of statute’. What appears to have happened is that Labour has defined the terms of the deal before anything has really been finally signed off on, leaving Miller to respond later.

Labour is saying that the ‘small piece of legislation’ Harman was referring to is the enshrinement of press regulation in law, which will make its way in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which has its report stage in the House of Lords this afternoon.

What’s impressive is that where previously Labour and the Lib Dems were worried that the Royal Charter idea was like – as one Labour source put it – ‘Dolly the Sheep’, the contest now is about whose Royal Charter has emerged victorious from last night’s talks. I understand that there will be a final meeting to cross the ts of this agreement this morning.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Thatcherite Lee

    I’m puzzled as to how exactly requiring a two thirds vote to change the royal charter interferes in press freedom as being made out today. I just don’t get it. Someone seriously explain it to me.

    • Vrai Telemachus

      Then you are easily confused and decieved. The day after these regulations are passed it will be possible to require all blogs in the UK who make any comment on current affairs and politics register to be able to continue to make such comments, and the registration fee could be whatever was felt necessary to silence the free blogosphere. Could you afford £1000 to run a blog?

  • O M

    OMG: can it really be true that senior politicians actually believe that this Parliament can by statute bind any future Government or Parliament?? As any fule kno, that is impossible under our constitution. So either Harman is lying, or she doesn’t know a basic constitutional rule. Whay oh why does this tripe get spouted?

  • Austin Barry

    We should seek clarification from St Hugh of Hollywood Boulevard.

  • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

    I’m against press regulation but, boy oh boy, I can’t make heads nor tails of this. Who the heck even knows what’s going on.

  • Gawain

    Well, they can’t both be right ! It sounds to me like the MPs are making a complete dog’s breakfast of this. I just wish there was an editor out there with the balls to tell them to get stuffed and to market his newspaper as an independent, “unregulated” journal. Anything that Harman approves is likely to be very, very fishy.

    • Vrai Telemachus

      It’s not the press they are after. It is the blogosphere. Every website that offers any comment on news and current affairs is subject to whatever regulations and registration process are produced. If you have to pay £1000 to be able to make any comment or offer any opinion on current affairs will you be able to do so?

      Thought not.

  • Harold Angryperson

    Of course they’re both claiming victory – they’re both on the same side.

    Can you honestly tell them apart Isabel? They are living, breathing embodiments of the convergence of ideology between the three main parties in this country.

  • anyfool

    In ten years time people will be wondering why freedom to express opinion was removed from the population because no one realised that voice mail needed a pin or could be made to automatically delete itself to make way for other messages.
    We are getting cleverer but at the same time more stupid.

  • jimmy mac

    There goes the free press. Shame, shame, shame

    • Geoff103

      There goes a free society. As I said the other day. We’re now East Germany with better shopping.

      • Russell

        I agree with you apart from the fact that East German shops are in a much better state of health than here in the UK high Streets.

        • Geoff103

          You know perfectly well, I meant EG under Her Walter Ulbricht!

  • Vrai Telemachus

    FOOL. Do you really think the blogosphere will be left unaffected. Leveson was very clear that bloggers and twitters need to be brought under control and said that it would be necessary to have some ‘creative thinking’ to achieve this.

    You can be sure that this ‘creative thinking’ is already taking place. The revolution will not allow dissent. Those who speak out against the progressive project will soon find that they are acting outside of all manner of laws and regulations and will find things very difficult indeed. It will begin with a bloggers registration fee I guess. Nice and small to start with so that no-one can complain, and then suddenly it will be increased more and more so that ordinary bloggers are squeezed out, or must restrict their comments to what they did with their family at the weekend.

    There will be no samizdat press allowed in this revolution.

    j3 – the real telemachus

  • George_Arseborne

    Of course Cameron had to cave in because he knew he was heading to a humiliating defeat in the House of Common this afternoon. As for Dear Maria she is very culturally confuse, that is why all media attention were focused on Harrit

  • Chris lancashire

    I’m hacked off with the whole charade. It really, really doesn’t matter – there’s a whole world of comment out there called the internet – far more powerful now than the Press – which this legislation doesn’t affect (thank heavens).

    • Russell

      Unfortunately you are wrong:-

      “Schedule 4, Point 1 of both the government and the opposition’s versions
      of the Royal Charter will bring blogs under the regulator’s control”

      • Chris lancashire

        Correct Russell, just read the same, shocking information on Guido. I take some comfort in the belief that it will be impossible to enforce on a website resident in say, Panama, whatever these pathetic idiots pass into legislation.

        • Patriccia Shaw

          So vrai telemachus was correct and should be commended.

          This is the intention of the Leveson proposals. It has little to do with newspapers and everything to do with the freedom of the internet. remember last week the EU proposals to restrict all material on the internet that reinforces gender stereotypes. This is how it begins.

          The revolution that telemachus talks about is already here.Thank goodness for Balls at a time like this. He will take the lead.

          • Chris lancashire

            As I assume the odious Balls will be voting the Labour line of endorsing the whole of Leveson I’m afraid I don’t follow your argument. As for leading – as half his own party can’t stand him – I doubt he will lead anything, ever.

            • Patriccia Shaw

              The blogosphere needs to be muzzled. This is what all the political leaders in the UK and the EU understand. Freedom of speech must always come secondarily to the progress of society towards social democracy. This is where Balls will lead us.

              • Chris lancashire

                You need to use the conditional rather than the future tense in your last sentence – “would”.

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  You are still vainly imagining that you live in a multi-party democracy where you vote makes a difference. Sorry. It no longer does. Whoever you vote for (apart from UKIP and that is not going to happen) you will end up with soceul democracy. One way or another it is all Balls in the end. There is a charisma about him which sets him apart from other men.

                • Chris lancashire

                  I would advise upping your medication.

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  idiot. The revolution has already happened and you haven’t noticed.

                • Chris lancashire

                  You’ve not been taking it at all have you?

                • albertcooper

                  You often use this post with those you disagree with

              • Swiss Bob

                The blogosphere needs to be muzzled.

                Yes, you can’t have anyone countering the constant propaganda of the left can you.

                Stalinist to55er.

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  Dear Swiss Bob,

                  Of course the propaganda of the left must not be countered. But look around you. If I am a Stalinist to55er then most of those in positions of power and influence in the UK and EU are as well.

                  You have left it too late, and reduced to verbal abuse you cannot roll back the tide of revolution. You needed to act but you preferred to complain.

                • Swiss Bob

                  The English are very tolerant and forgiving but if I were you I’d be worrying about the ‘tide of revolution’ coming your way.

                  Piano wire and lamp posts may be in short supply.

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  Lol. The revolution has already taken place and you haven’t noticed!

                • Swiss Bob

                  You might be right in some contexts but your ‘revolution’ is nothing of the sort, it’s more of the same old crap rolled in glitter to appeal to the morons of this World.

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  And the world is full of morons it would seem. The majority of the UK population is now composed of those who benefit from the state and are dependent on it. The majority of people in London are now no longer white British. Immigration continues to increase. Debt continues to increase. Spending and taxation continue to increase. Perhaps it is the same old crap, but the moron’s lap it up (using your phraseology).

                  From the progressive point of view the revolution continues apace and morons such as you cannot even see it happening.

                • Swiss Bob

                  Yes, the revolution is going so well that money is now being confiscated from people’s bank accounts to pay for it.

                  I can see that ending well.

                • Russell

                  I see telemucus has a sibling.

              • anyfool

                It goes without saying that the left wing or the right wing will use this, that you are too stupid to realise this goes without saying. Left wingers like Hitler and Stalin put people like you to death first, guess where in the line you would be if we ever got a real right wing nut job as leader.
                You really should think things through, even to unlikely outcomes like this, you can bet the Berlin that was the twenties cultural capitol of Europe in the twenties never dreamed where it would end up.

              • Smithersjones2013

                And there we have it. All must bow to the sacred cow of socialism. When will Dictator Miliband and his pet thug Balls make their move?

                • Patriccia Shaw

                  i am sorry but you have missed what has happened entirely. Cameron, Clegg, all of the EU leaders and national Governments are ALL signed up to the socialist agenda. It has nothing to do with Labour, they are just one face of the same programme.

                  Do you still think you have a choice? The last roll of the dice might have been UKIP, but you won’t support them and you won’t come out onto the streets. So it is all over.

  • albertcooper

    Two dreadful Harpies !

    • Vrai Telemachus

      Misogyny is foreign to Speccie
      Besides Harriet to get her with Ed Balls week on week win the visuals on PMQ’s
      Via facebookG22

  • wobble

    Talk about self interest at the speccie
    The euro nuclear button has been pushed in Cyprus and not a peep in here…….Harperson is yesterdays news , and frankly utterly irrelevant .

    • Rhoda Klapp3

      3 hours, still nothing. Nothing to see here? Cyprus is plenty more important than leveson etc, which only excites the press and the ever-present ‘victims’.

      • Patriccia Shaw

        I think you have missed the significance of Leveson. It has nothing to do with the press or victims.

        • Vrai Telemachus

          The real Patsy only posts on Palestine

    • The_Missing_Think

      That’s why it’s called the ‘free press’… free to do what they want.

      That’s what they’re fighting so hard for… their freedom of power. For example:

      You remember how the ‘free press’ ruthlessly exposed the 1975 Ref lies? And subsequently, we are now safely ‘here’… phew… just think?

      This is just a minor example of the ‘free press’ at work.

    • dalai guevara

      If only one could have spotted continental Europeans in their thousands rubbing their hands with glee five years ago when NR expertise caused the indigenous to mistrust their peers. What a cheap attempt it is indeed to protect your Russian chums’ funds.

    • Colin

      You’re a bit of the mark. The fact that what’s being perpetrated by the political elites in Cyprus can actually be reported, by a free press is what’s relevant. How long do you think it will be before the EU and its fellow traveling socialist pals in nation states try to limit what the media can and can’t report?

      And, I wish people would stop talking just about the press, in relation to this. It’s about regulating all forms of media and information.

      It’s a truism, that whenever you give politicians power, they will always, always try to extend that power and will always, always succeed in abusing it. Can you even imagine creatures such as miliband (various), balls (various) and others having any ability to control the wider media. It’s terrifying.

      As I’ve written before, the expenses scandal handed the people of the UK a golden opportunity to enact a complete political reset, we should have taken it. We may never get another chance. As a result, the political elites recognised that they dodged a very lethal bullet. They’re in the process of making sure that they’ll never be caught out like that again.