Labour raises the stakes over Leveson

If the inquiry recommends a law to regulate the press, a Miliband government would introduce it

A Labour government will implement statutory regulation of the press if Lord Justice Leveson recommends it, party sources have revealed, in response to signs that the coalition government will stop short of backing the proposals.

David Cameron is understood to be wary of any recommendation by Leveson for full statutory regulation after the phone hacking scandal, a sentiment echoed last week by John Whittingdale, the chairman of the culture select committee, who warned the move would prove to be "dangerous".

But Labour sources said that a government under Ed Miliband, who led calls for an inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, would introduce regulation if the party won the next election, despite warnings that such a policy would restrict freedom of the press.

Lord Justice Leveson is expected to recommend tougher restrictions on the media when he publishes his report, which is due in November. There is speculation that the judge will have to delay his report because he will want to examine two big news stories involving young royals that have broken in the past month: pictures of a naked Prince Harry in Las Vegas, which were published in The Sun, and the decision by a French magazine to print photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge topless.

The Prime Minister has also cast doubt publicly on full-blown statutory regulation, favouring a watchdog that would be independent of the press but without legal powers. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education and a former Times journalist, has also warned against statutory regulation.

Last week Mr Whittingdale criticised the judge for casting his remit too widely and allowing witnesses to settle scores against newspapers. But a Labour source said last night: "If Leveson recommends statutory regulation and this is rejected by the coalition, then we will implement it in government. This is an important moment for the rights of individuals against the rights of the press. We are not against freedom of the press, but the Leveson inquiry, which Ed called for, has done a thorough job in investigating media ethics, and we will support what he says."

Mr Whittingdale, Conservative MP for Maldon, told Radio 4 last week: "Personally, I've always been of the view that statutory regulation is something we must avoid if we possibly can, because it's a very dangerous road to go down.

"It appears that Leveson is going to make recommendations on the regulation of the press based on many of the stories he has heard, when actually the big issue that has brought about all of this is not going to be examined.

"There will be great pressure on the Prime Minister to immediately accept the recommendations made by Leveson. I hope he won't, whatever it is. I hope he thinks hard about this. Any politician will want to think long and hard before going down the road of legislating over the press. It is in my view a very dangerous thing to do; it's a slippery slope."

After taking evidence from 650 witnesses in person and in writing, Lord Justice Leveson completed his hearings in July. The inquiry has already sent out so-called "Salmon letters", which warn participants if they are to be criticised.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
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

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

Year 6 Teacher needed for 1 Term- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Year 6 larger then life teach...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering