Ed Miliband will today call for the press watchdog to be scrapped in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
While he will say that he remains in favour of press self-regulation, he will use a speech in London to call for the creation of a new, beefed-up body with effective powers of investigation and enforcement.
“The Press Complaints Commission has totally failed. It failed to get to the bottom of the allegations about what happened at News International in 2009.
“Its chair admits she was lied to but could do nothing about it. It was established to be a watchdog. But it has been exposed as a toothless poodle. It is time to put it out of its misery.
“My instincts continue to be that self-regulation would be the best way forward. But it needs to be very different.
“A new body would need: far greater independence of its board members from those it regulates; proper investigative powers; and an ability to enforce corrections.”
Miliband, who has been leading demands for News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks to resign, will call on politicians from all parties to show greater courage to speak out in the face of press opposition.
“For too long, the political class have been too concerned about what people in the press would think and too fearful of speaking out,” he will say.
“We must all bear responsibility for that. My party has not been immune from it. Nor has the current Government.
“We all now must exercise our duty to stand up for the public, without fear and without favour.”
In allusion to David Cameron’s friendship with Brooks and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson – who he made No 10 communications chief – he will call on the Prime Minister to take a lead on the issue.
“I know this is difficult for the Prime Minister because of his personal relationships and because these are very powerful forces,” he will say.
“But there are moments in our national life when the public looks to political leaders, not just to express sentiment, but to accept the responsibility for leading the call for change. This is such a moment.”
The PCC said: “It is wrong of Mr Miliband to call for the scrapping of the PCC. His remarks are long on rhetoric and short on substance.
“He appears to be ignorant of the important and valued work of the PCC.”
In a statement, the regulator continued: “However, he is right to support self-regulation and to say that the phone hacking scandal should act as a catalyst for improvement and reform of the industry.”