Harman piles pressure on PM to toughen press regulation plan

Labour deputy leader says party will not give support to ‘watered down’ Royal Charter proposals

Labour told David Cameron today it could accept his proposals for a Royal Charter to regulate the press – but only if he “mans up” and toughens them up, its deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said.

She hinted at progress in all-party talks over how to combat press excesses, but stressed Labour could not support any plan that “drives a coach and horses” through last year’s proposals from Lord Justice Leveson.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have called for the Leveson recommendations, including a regulator underpinned by law, to be adopted in full.

The Conservatives have set out their plans for a Royal Charter as an alternative to legislation governing the press, arguing that laws would risk political interference in the media.

They envisage creating a body to verify a new regulator set up by the industry to provide redress for victims of press misreporting or intrusion.

Three months of talks between the parties have edged towards an agreement, although all sides stressed a deal was far from certain.

Ms Harman said today: “We will look at a Royal Charter, but it can’t be driving a coach and horses through the standards that Leveson set forth.”

She said: “We will look at a Royal Charter, but we’re not prepared to look at it if some aspects of Leveson are watered down because the press don’t agree with some aspects of it.”

Claiming the press had been “leaning” on the Prime Minister, Ms Harman said: “It’s now time for David Cameron to man up, step forward and say ‘yes we’re going to do it’, and we’ll agree with him, and we’ll support him.”

The issue of press regulation will  return to Westminster today when the House of Lords will debate libel reforms.

Peers have already passed an amendment to the Defamation Bill which critics claim is an attempt to introduce Leveson “by the back door”.

Under the amendment an independent body would have to certify the new arbitration system and while it would be voluntary, newspapers that did not join up could be punished by courts awarding greater damages and costs in defamation cases.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, has made clear that she does not support the changes, which were passed with the support of rebel Tory and Liberal Democrat peers.

The Government will seek to overturn the amendment when the legislation returns to the Commons unless a way can be found to remove it in the Lords.

Tory sources have made clear that David Cameron is prepared to scrap the entire Bill rather than accept the amendment.

Scrapping the Defamation Bill would infuriate lawyers who protest that Britain has become the world’s “libel centre”.

However, Mr Cameron would face the prospect of dissident Tories and Liberal Democrats who support a Leveson law siding with Labour if the amendment is not removed before the Bill returns to the Commons.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album
arts + entsFirst tale will be about bank-robber called 'Outlaw Pete'
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Arts and Entertainment
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
tv'Friends' cafe will be complete with Gunther and orange couch
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone