Report: Cameron will oppose calls from Leveson for 'state meddling' in the press - Press Gazette

Report: Cameron will oppose calls from Leveson for 'state meddling' in the press

With Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly set to oppose any calls from Lord Justice Leveson for 'state meddling' in the press, leader of the opposition Ed Miliband has insisted that Leveson's recommendations should be implemented.

The Leveson report is set to be published on Thursday and senior politicians will not see it until Wednesday.

Miliband, who has already signalled his support for independent statutory regulation of the press, wrote in The Guardian: "The prime minister was absolutely right when he said that if Leveson's recommendations were 'bonkers', we could not be expected to go along with them.

"But it is equally right to state that if they are reasonable and proportionate, we should seek to implement them. From our meeting with the victims last week I know that rejection of the report will be seen as a clear breach of the promise we made to them. If parliament chooses a different course from that recommended there must be clearly demonstrated and very good reasons for doing so."

Yesterday, The Mail on Sunday reported in a front-page story that Cameron has already "ruled out the kind of state meddling demanded by campagners such as Hugh Grant".

Grant's campaign group Hacked Off favours the creation of a statutory regulator along the lines of that proposed by Miliband.

According to the Mail on Sunday: "Senior sources say the only prospect of Mr Cameron backing Lord Justice Leveson is if the High Court judge springs a surprise and devises a 'legal lite' way of curbing the press that involves 'tweaking a statute' but falls short of state regulation'…

"The Prime Minister is expected to make a virtue of avoiding state regulation, arguing that it could take years. He is tipped to declare that he is not prepared to wait that long and set out plans for a beefed-up voluntary press watchdog to be up and running within months."

Meanwhile, after 42 MPs wrote to The Guardian setting out their support for statutory involvement in regulation of the press another group of 45 are set to declare their opposition to statutory regulation this week.

At the weekend, adverts appeared in the national press provided by The Free Speech Network, the coalition organised by publishers to oppose statutory press regulation.

It asks: "If the press was shackled would any of this ever happened?"

And it illustrates the point with six front pages: Guantanamo torture revelations in the Mail on Sunday, MPs' Expenses in The Daily Telegraph, Andrew Mitchell's police plebs row in The Sun, The Times Investigatioin into tax avoidance, the Daily Mirror's revelation of John Prescott's affair with his diary secretary and The Guardian's revelations over phone-hacking.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette