86 politicians from all three major parties, including eight former Cabinet ministers, have written to the Daily Telegraph urging David Cameron not to bring in new laws if Lord Justice Leveson proposes state regulation of newspapers in his report on Thursday.
The letter was organised by the Conservative MP, and culture, media and sport select committee member, Conor Burns and former Home Secretary David Blunkett.
Among the signatories are ex-Defence Secretary Liam Fox, the Olympics chief Lord Coe, former Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd and former sports minister Kate Hoey.
They warn:“No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing – abolished in Britain in 1695.
"State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.”