With the deadline for the government’s public consultation on press regulation now passed, Karen Bradley must decide whether or not to trigger Leveson 2. Should section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act be activated, any publication not signed up to Impress — the press regulator largely funded by Max Mosley — would have to pay all the costs in a libel case even if it successfully defends the claim.
So, with that in mind, Mosley appeared on the Sunday Politics this morning to put forward the case for Impress. Alas things didn’t get off to the best start when Andrew Neil began by asking where Impress’s funding comes from. Mosley went on to admit that a large part of the money came through inheritance from his father Oswald, founder of the British Union of Fascists.
AN: This is money that was put together by your father?
MM: Yes, not put together by my father — my father inherited it from his father and he from his father. The whole of the middle of Manchester once belonged to his family — that’s why there’s a Mosley street. This is actually completely irrelevant because
MM: No, let me finish. As we have given the money, we have absolutely no control — if you do even the most elementary checks into the contracts between my family trust, the trust that finances Impress it is impossible for me to have any influence — so it is just the same as if it had come from the national lottery.
AN: Well, except that people will find it ironic that money being used to regulate the British press, has come from Britain’s historically best known fascist.
MM: Would you please.. you see it hasn’t… it comes from a family which goes back to…
AN: His family
MM: My family… Mosley
With Mosley insisting that the origin of the money has no relevance as he has no influence, Neil asked if it was pure coincidence that so many involved with the regulator share his hostile view of the press. In response Mosley said he did not know a single member of the board, before adding that he did know the chairman… and the chief executive:
AN: Well let’s look at the chief executive Jonathan Heawood. In one recent month, he tweeted or retweeted 50 attacks on the Daily Mail, including some calling for an advertising boycott of the paper. He also liked a post calling the paper a neo-fascist rag. Are these fitting views for the boss of what’s meant to be an impartial regulator?
MM: Well, the person you should ask about that is the press regulatory panel
AN: I’m asking you
MM: They are completely independent. Probably what you’ve done is produced something very selective… I’ve no idea. The one thing I’m certain about is that these people are absolutely trustworthy.
Mosley went on to declare that allegations that he has a hidden agenda and wants to shackle the press are ‘pure guff’ — as he simply wants somebody who’s got no money to ‘be able to sue in exactly the same way that I can’. However, Mr S suspects that today’s confirmation that part of Impress’s funding comes through the leader of the British Union of Fascists ought to be of concern to even the most right-on press regulation campaigners.