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Leveson Inquiry

Volume 556: debated on Thursday 10 January 2013

8. When the Government plan to announce what further steps they will take in response to the report of the Leveson inquiry. (136083)

Lord Justice Leveson’s report, which was welcomed by the Government, set out the need for independent self-regulation of the press. I believe the press will be setting out their new self-regulatory approach in line with Leveson later today. As all parties agree, the report did not provide a fully formed blueprint but rather an outline that requires further work and consideration. The Government are working on a cross-party basis and with interested groups, and I believe we are making progress.

I thank the Secretary of State for that positive reply. May I encourage her to ensure that the cross-party talks reach a conclusion before the end of this Session of Parliament, so that if we need to legislate not just on the difficult issue of statutory underpinning of press regulation but on clearing up the relationship between the police and the press, we can do so in the next Session?

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. Making progress and ensuring we have momentum is vital for two reasons. First, we need to ensure that we do not see the unacceptable treatment of victims again in future. Secondly, all who have watched this lengthy process want it to come to a speedy conclusion. I can give him a clear undertaking today that that is exactly where we are.

Hon. Members have heard the clichés about no more drinking at the last-chance saloon for the press, but can the Secretary of State assure us that the Government’s engagement with the press on this matter has not simply been a lock-in at the Long Grass Arms, where the Government’s order is, “Whatever you’re having yourself”?

The Leveson report clearly gives us a framework to ensure we make progress on the important issues that will make a difference to press regulation, and to ensure that we do not have the problems we have had and the same treatment of victims in future. It is not possible for us to do anything other than make progress if we are to implement Leveson, and that is what we are looking to do.