MPs vote against forcing Leveson two inquiry into media hacking and the police - Press Gazette

MPs vote against forcing Leveson two inquiry into media hacking and the police

The House of Commons last night voted against forcing the Government to hold part two of the Leveson inquiry.

Part one of Leveson was reported in November 2012 and examined the culture, practices and ethics of the British press.

Part two was due to look at phone-hacking at the News of the World (and elsewhere) and what went wrong with the original police investigation.

Last night Labour tabled a new clause to the Policing and Crime Bill which would “compel the Prime Minister to instigate an independent inquiry such as Leveson two into the relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest”.

Speaking in November 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron said “we remain committed” to Levson part two.

He said: “It is right that it should go ahead, and that is fully our intention.”

Labour shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said: “It has been put to me that that promise was made face to face with some of the victims of hacking and press intrusion—people such as the McCanns and Milly Dowler’s family.

“It seems to Labour members as though the Government have subtly shifted their position in the intervening years.

“As we heard a moment ago from the minister, it is no longer a question of when the inquiry will go ahead; it is a question of whether it will go ahead. The Government now say that following the conclusion of the outstanding investigations on the matter, they will take a decision on whether the second stage of the inquiry will go ahead.

“I say to the minister tonight that we need a better answer.

“If he were to stand up now at the Dispatch Box and say clearly to the House that there will be a second-stage inquiry into the culture of relations between the police and the press, I would be the first to say that we would not press our new clause 64 to a vote.

“However, there is growing suspicion among organisations—Hacked Off, obviously, but others too—and campaigners for justice that they are slowly being let down and that this matter is being slowly slid into the long grass.

“We have had anonymous briefings from people close to the Culture Secretary and others in Government to suggest that it has already been canned. Well, we on the Labour Benches are not prepared to accept that, so I say clearly to the Minister that unless he can provide a much more direct reassurance, we will push the matter to a vote this evening to force the Prime Minister to honour his own promise—it is not our promise; it is his promise—to the victims of press intrusion and hacking.”

Home Office minister Mike Penning said: “On new clause 64, which is about Leveson part two, the Government have made it clear on many occasions—not least at the Dispatch Box—that we will wait for the criminal proceedings that are still ongoing to come to a conclusion, and then the Home Secretary will move forward.”

The clause went to a vote and was rejected by 268 votes to 158.



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.

Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette