A senior Number 10 source tells me that David Cameron was awake and available throughout the Leveson negotiations. They also point out that Nick Clegg left the meeting at 11.30pm, before the crucial business was done. On the Hacked Off point, they insist that Oliver Letwin ‘very politely’ asked them to leave the room for the sensitive part of the discussions.
I’m told that Cameron then chaired a 6am conference call on the result of the negotiations where he declared himself satisfied. He feels that he’s avoided a press law.
Downing Street is bristling at the idea that they got the worst end of the deal. They argue that Hacked Off wanted full statutory regulation and they haven’t got that. Ed Miliband initially wanted Leveson implemented in full and that’s not happening either. They point out that the press will now help draft the code, something that Labour and the Liberal Democrats were opposed to.
I suspect, though, that the tight spot Cameron is in today can be traced back to two decisions he took long ago. First was the decision to set up a judge-led public inquiry in the first place. Any inquiry led by a judge was bound to suggest a legal remedy to the problem. The second was to embrace the Dowler Test, the idea that the verdict of the victims was paramount. This, ironically, very News of the World logic has left him in an extremely awkward position.Tags: David Cameron, Hacked Off, Leveson, UK politics