David Cameron promised to seek cross-party agreement on newspaper regulation today as advance copies of Lord Justice Leveson’s report into press standards were delivered to Downing Street.
The Prime Minister warned newspapers that the “status quo” could not continue said he wanted to end up with an “independent regulatory system that can deliver”.
He told the Commons: “This Government set up Leveson because of unacceptable practices in parts of the media and because of a failed regulatory system. I am looking forward to reading the report carefully. I am sure all members will want to consider it carefully.
I think we should try and work across party lines on this issue, it is right to meet with other party leaders about this issue and I will do so.
”What matters most I believe is that we end up with an independent regulatory system that can deliver and in which the public have confidence.“
David Cameron and officials were given just over 24 hours to study the report ahead of publication tomorrow afternoon.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said No.10 had received “about half a dozen copies”.
He made clear that strict instructions had been delivered to guarantee its contents were not disclosed ahead of the publication. He said: “There are procedures in place to ensure that these [copies] are not shared widely.”
A team of officials is expected to gut the contents to help Mr Cameron deliver a statement in the Commons tomorrow afternoon responding to the Leveson conclusions.
Tomorrow morning ministers from both Coalition parties will meet to agree a collective line on Leveson. They will include Chancellor George Osborne and Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, for the Conservatives and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Danny Alexander, the Treasury Chief Secretary, for the Liberal Democrats.
There is speculation today that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg will deliver separate statements tomorrow reflecting their parties’ divergence of opinion over the merits of press regulation.
But Downing Street insisted: “The Prime Minister is going to make a statement on behalf of the Government.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed Mr Cameron's commitment to consenus and insisted he wanted ”real change“.
He told MPs: ”I hope we can work on an all-party basis. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for real change and I hope that this House can make it happen.”