London Mayor Boris Johnson came out in support of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre yesterday and defended the right of the press to write ‘very rude things’about public figures.
A story in the Daily Mail today interpreted Johnson’s comments as a ‘clear challenge’to Prime Minister David Cameron, who has made repeated calls for an overhaul of the current system of press regulation.
Speaking at a Westminster lunch for journalists yesterday the Mail quoted Johnson as saying:
People looking at London see a society that is as honest as anywhere in the world – thanks very largely to the very rude things the media says about so many people.
The Mail article went on to quote Dacre’s comments to a Leveson inquiry seminar last week:
Am I alone in detecting the rank smells of hypocrisy and revenge in the political class’s current moral indignation over a British Press that dared to expose their greed and corruption.
It also noted that Johnson’s support for the press comes despite the Mayor repeatedly being on the receiving end of “media stories about his private life, including details of extra-marital affairs and claims that he fathered a love child”.
The Independent quoted Johnson saying:
I was amazed by how passionately I found myself in agreement with what Dacre was saying.