Privacy law plan 'ruled out'

The coalition has decided against introducing a Privacy Act to address concerns over injunctions, sources said today.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke are understood to have ruled the option out at a meeting.

Instead, ministers will consider producing more detailed guidance for judges to interpret the Human Rights Act.

The controversy over gagging orders intensified further today when a Liberal Democrat peer used parliamentary privilege to disclose details of an injunction obtained by the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin.

Prime Minister David Cameron has previously said he is "uneasy" about the increasing use of such restrictions on the media, and called for MPs to debate the principles at stake.

Earlier this week Mr Clarke hinted that new legislation could be on the agenda.

"We will consider these matters and indeed it is probably right to say that Parliament passing a Privacy Act might well be the best way of resolving it," he told the Commons.

But Mr Clarke is now said to have agreed with Mr Hunt that "adding another layer of bureaucracy" was not the best way of tackling the issue.