Culture Secretary Maria Miller meets with press reform group 'Hacked Off'


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The Independent Online

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller met Hugh Grant and other members of the Hacked Off press reform group today and told them a new “tough and independent” regulator of the newspaper industry was required.

Ms Miller, who is new to her role, said that she had no wish to prejudge the report from Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media standards, which is expected in a matter of weeks.

But according to a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, she told the campaigners that "whatever the outcome of the report something tough and independent would be needed".

The meeting is the first of a series of face-to-face talks that the Culture Secretary is planning in the coming days with stakeholders of the Leveson inquiry, including national newspaper editors.

Mr Grant, who was a witness to the Leveson inquiry, attended the meeting at the House of Commons as a board member of Hacked Off rather than as a victim of phone hacking. He was accompanied by the Hacked Off director Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, and its associate director Evan Harris, the former MP.

Hacked Off described the exchange as a "valuable meeting". Mr Harris said: "Our view is that something independent and effective is required and we said that to her. We also said that we believe that would need statutory underpinning."

The group also called on Ms Miller to back the judge if he recommended such a scheme. "We expect it to be implemented on a cross-party basis by the politicians who set up the inquiry on a cross-party basis."