Leveson Report: Nick Clegg joins forces with Labour on regulatory Bill
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.
Friday 30 November 2012
Divisions between David Cameron and Nick Clegg on press regulation widened yesterday as the Liberal Democrat leader joined forces with Labour over how the Government should respond to the Leveson Report.
Mr Clegg and Ed Miliband are furious with the Prime Minister for suggesting that a draft Bill to be drawn up in line with Lord Justice Leveson's proposals would merely be a wrecking device to show how difficult it would be to turn them into law. Mr Cameron, who rejected the key Leveson plan for independent self-regulation of the press to be underpinned by legislation, promised the draft measure during talks with the two other party leaders.
At the time, Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband thought the Prime Minister had made a genuine offer. They were dismayed by No 10's suggestion that Mr Cameron would use the process to undermine the case for legislation.
The Deputy Prime Minister will work to ensure the draft Bill is a serious attempt to provide a workable system of press regulation. His spokesman said yesterday: "The statement that this Bill is being drafted to show that it will not work does not reflect the position agreed by all three party leaders in the talks on Thursday.
"The Liberal Democrats in government will ensure the Bill is drafted in good faith. We owe that to the public and the victims."
But Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, took a different line, saying: "The reason why we have such grave misgivings about putting in place such a piece of statutory underpinning is because of the very extensive nature of that legislation for it to be effective. We want to draw that up and share that with the opposition parties and with our Coalition partners to be able to demonstrate that to them. I think when they see that they will too understand where our concerns come from."
Labour sources said it was "ludicrous" for the Conservatives to use the draft Bill as a stick with which to beat the newspaper industry, while at the same time making clear they had no intention of turning it into real legislation.
Mr Miliband said he was prepared to depart from some of the Leveson proposals in order to achieve a cross-party consensus. These include two issues on which Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg have reservations – extending the broadcast regulator Ofcom's remit to the press and proposals to change the Data Protection Act which critics say would have a chilling effect on investigative journalism.
A Labour source said: "We are showing we are serious in our desire to build a consensus by agreeing it is right for Parliament to look at the detail of these proposals."
- 1 Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin file for divorce after 10 years of marriage
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bookies now say Ed Miliband is more likely to be prime minister than David Cameron
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin file for divorce after 10 years of marriage
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in Shrops...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in shrops...
£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...