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Leveson Inquiry

Volume 540: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2012

5. What recent discussions he has had with the Crown Prosecution Service on the progress made by the Leveson inquiry. (93675)

None, save that the Director of Public Prosecutions has informed me recently that he has been asked to give evidence to the inquiry.

Eighteen months ago, Alison Levitt, QC, was tasked with a review of the previous evidence from the 2006 hacking case. Will her conclusions be shared with Lord Leveson, and can they also be shared, maybe in a redacted form, with members of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, who are conducting an inquiry on the matter at the moment?

Is it not the case that public confidence in both the Crown Prosecution Service and the police is absolutely vital? If so, does the Solicitor-General share my concern about the fact that we have had many arrests of journalists under Operation Elveden but only two arrests of police officers, and that the names of those police officers have remained unpublished? There seems to be one rule for the police and another rule for journalists.

There is also another rule that the Law Officers do not tell the police what to do. It is entirely a matter for the police to deal with arrests. If matters come to their attention that need the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service, which the Attorney-General and I superintend, we will no doubt examine them.

One issue that will arise in this context is contempt of court and the extent to which the media need to be controlled. I was rather disappointed to hear the Attorney-General’s responses on Radio 4 this morning. Would the Solicitor-General like to make it absolutely clear to the entire nation that, notwithstanding the rights and wrongs of particular cases, it is possible to commit contempt on Twitter?