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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