Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband hold secret talks over Leveson
Party leaders plan to put pressure on Cameron not to water down inquiry’s recommendations
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Saturday 10 November 2012
Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have secretly discussed their approach to the Leveson inquiry on press standards in a move which could put pressure on David Cameron not to water down its recommendations.
Although the Deputy Prime Minister and Labour leader hope the three main parties agree a common response to the report, they know that Mr Cameron is already under intense pressure from the newspaper industry to oppose statutory regulation of the press.
MPs believe Lord Justice Leveson’s report, expected later this month, will give Mr Cameron a dilemma by proposing some form of statutory underpinning for a new regulatory system following the phone hacking controversy.
Some Conservative ministers, including the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, a close ally of Mr Cameron, and the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, have already spoken out against statutory control, echoing fears that it would undermine Britain’s free press. But other Conservatives believe it would be a disastrous own goal to try to water down the Leveson proposals. Yesterday, 42 Tory MPs and two peers launched a pre-emptive strike against such a move by warning that newspapers’ own proposals for tougher self-regulation could be “an unstable model destined to fail”.
While their response will depend on the detailed Leveson blueprint, both Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband are prepared to back a law bringing in limited regulation if that is what the inquiry recommends.
Senior Labour figures say Mr Miliband’s goal is cross-party agreement on a new system of press regulation that is “built to last”. They insist Labour will not “play politics” on the issue but are worried that Mr Cameron may be tempted to delay or shelve proposals in an attempt to appease Tory-supporting newspapers.
One Tory insider said: “Cameron is already being lobbied ferociously by the industry. The pressure is immense. The Lib Dems and Labour broadly agree, but the barrier to a consensus is the Michael Gove tendency.”
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >