At least all our leaders defend press freedom, but they came forward too late for Kim Darroch

The more difficult questions in the current case are whether Boris Johnson should have withheld his support from the UK ambassador to Washington and whether Sir Kim should have resigned

Saturday 13 July 2019 17:58
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Boris Johnson is heckled during over Darroch question during Conservative hustings

The easy part is the defence of the right of a free press to publish. It was, as George Osborne, editor of the Evening Standard, said, “ill-advised” of Neil Basu, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to threaten journalists with prosecution for publishing leaked documents.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, one of whom will become prime minister this month, both condemned the statement. Mr Johnson said: “A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate.”

The consensus that Mr Basu had made a mistake extended to Jeremy Corbyn, who might become prime minister on a longer timescale, and who said it was right there were “considerable protections” for journalists who reveal information.

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