Leveson urges new press rules

Lord Justice Leveson has recommended further press regulation, underpinned by law, in his long-awaited report.

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Leveson: Jeremy Hunt acted 'commendably' over BSkyB bid

Former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Lord Justice Leveson has said that the former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt behaved "commendably" over the BSkyB bid, and places blame on his special adviser Adam Smith.

In his report, he writes: "Mr Hunt immediately put in place robust systems to ensure the remaining stages of the bid would be handled with fairness, impartiality and transparency, all in line with his quasi-judicial obligations."

"In every respect bar one, the bid was commendably handled."

Mr Hunt was accused of getting too close to News Corporation after the company released a series of emails exchanges between its chief lobbyist Frédéric Michel and Jeremy Hunt's office.

Adam Smith later resigned over the issue.

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Leveson highlights aims of new press body

Lord Justice Leveson said a new independent regulatory system underpinned by legislation would:

  • Enshrine, for the first time, a legal duty on Government to protect freedom of the press.
  • Provide an independent process to recognise the new self-regulatory body and reassure the public that the basic requirement of independence and effectiveness were met...in the report I recommend this is done by Ofcom.
  • By recognising the new body, it would validate its standards code.

Leveson recommendations 'cannot be characterised as statutory regulation'

Lord Justice Leveson's report into press standards has been published. Credit: PA Wire

Lord Justice Leveson said in his report: "It is essential that there should be legislation to underpin the independent self-regulatory system and facilitate its recognition in legal processes.

"The legislation would not establish a body to regulate the press; it would be up to the press to come forward with their own body that meets the criteria laid down.

"The legislation would not give any right to Parliament, to Government, or to any regulatory (or other) body to prevent newspapers from publishing any material whatsoever.

"This is not, and cannot be characterised as, statutory regulation of the press. What is proposed here is independent regulation of press organised by the press with a statutory verification process."

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Downing St quizzed on separate Leveson statements

At a regular media briefing in Westminster, a 10 Downing Street spokeswoman was repeatedly asked whether Mr Cameron would be speaking on behalf of the whole Government when he makes his statement this afternoon, but declined to answer the question directly.

The Prime Minister is making a statement in his role as Prime Minister. It is a lengthy report. They are still working through it... There is a lot to work through in a short period of time.

Both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister want to make a statement on the report.

We are in a coalition Government and sometimes things are done differently in a coalition Government.

Campaigners call on Cameron to 'end the Murdoch mafia'

The campaign organisation Avaaz is holding a small protest in Westminster featuring a bound and gagged Prime Minister and a Rupert Murdoch figure burning pages of the Leveson report.

Actors dressed as Rupert Murdoch and Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: ITV News / Darren Burn

Avaaz is calling for a 20% cap on media ownership by anyone person or company.

The organisation's executive director Ricken Patel said the Prime Minister has a "once in a generation chance to end the Murdoch mafia".

Actors dressed as Rupert Murdoch and Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: ITV News / Darren Burn

Commons will be 'better informed by virtue of two statements'

Commons leader Andrew Lansley told MPs that both Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg would be speaking "on Government policy".

He defended the arrangement as being "perfectly reasonable in immediate response to a wide ranging inquiry as the Leveson Inquiry, for a sense of how the coalition government is pursuing the process of considering a response to this report".

"The House will be better informed by virtue of two statements than by one," he added.

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