In letting Clegg public disagree with Cameron, Speaker Bercow proved his reforming credentials

Our diarist on a day of drama for journalists covering the Leveson Report

Share
Related Topics

John Bercow is without doubt a reforming Speaker. None of his predecessors would have allowed the odd situation to come about yesterday, where the Prime Minister made a formal statement on the Government’s response to the Leveson Report, followed an hour later by the Deputy Prime Minister formally announcing that he did not agree with the Prime Minister.

Now that the precedent is set, perhaps the next reform should be to vary the rigid rule that each formal statement from a minister has to be answered by the relevant shadow minister, which led to the silly position in which Ed Miliband replied to David Cameron, with whom he disagreed, while Harriet Harman replied to Nick Clegg, with whom she agreed – which Parliament already knew because they had heard it from Ed.

A heavy read longer than all of Harry Potter

The full Leveson Report, which you can buy for only £250, fills 1,987 pages. At an average word count of around 700 words per page, the report is not far short of 1.4 million words. For purposes of comparison, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace has 460,000 words; the St James Bible has 783,137; and the seven Harry Potter novels run to 1,084,170. Only Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu is truly up there with Leveson, at around 1.5 million words.

You have 1 hour 45 minutes for the exam

It was a strange experience for the journalists allotted the privilege of reading the report in advance, in a locked room in Westminster’s QE II Centre. It was like sitting an examination all over again: though they had the reports in front of them, they were tantalisingly told not to open them until exactly 11.45 am, when they were given the go and the frantic scramble began. The report was embargoed until 1.30 pm, but given that not all timepieces are exactly accurate, someone had to adjudicate on when it was, in fact, 1.30. That role fell to John Toker, the inquiry’s press secretary. When his watch said 1.30, the broadcast media and the internet came alive.

Judge comes clean over Chief Constable

Lord Justice Leveson set one good example to us all: when you make a mistake, own up and correct it as fast as you can. Less than three hours after it was published, an email was circulated saying: “In the Leveson Inquiry Report we have wrongly described Chief Constable Colin Port as the ‘former’ Chief Constable of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary. He is in fact still in post....”

A rare feeling for Lib Dems

Veteran Lib Dem spin doctor Olly Grender, who recently ended a stint of duty in 10 Downing Street, was a happy bunny, when the disagreement between David Cameron and Nick Clegg over press legislation became public knowledge. “Oh joy oh joy. Lib Dems are on the overwhelmingly popular (in polls) side of the argument and the Tories aren't - this is rare!!” she tweeted.

The other Bercow's back

An eager nation need wait no longer: Sally Bercow is back on Twitter, after a brief interruption caused by the threat of lawyers’ writs and a hacker. “Will not screw up again,” she promised her 61,000 followers. She thinks Lord Leveson was too soft on the press. “What's the point having a self-regulatory body if media not obliged to join it?” she demanded.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A picture posted by Lubitz to Facebook in February 2013  

Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder

Simon Calder
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, presides at the reinterment of Richard III yesterday  

Richard III: We Leicester folk have one question: how much did it all cost?

Sean O’Grady
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss