Today’s press regulation announcement has been tangled in technical terminology, but what is a Royal Charter?
- A letter from the Queen which sets up organisations - such as public bodies, professional institutions, charities and even cities - without the need for a law
- The BBC, the Bank of England, the British Red Cross and the British Council are some of the best known organisations established by Royal Charter
- The charter is written on vellum, sealed and laid in Parliament
- The Royal Charter being proposed today is for the establishment of a press regulator
- It is unique as it cannot be amended without the support of a two-thirds ‘super-majority’ of MPs and peers – there is political disagreement over whether this means it is “underpinned by law”.
David Cameron has insisted a cross-party agreement for a new system of press regulation protects the principle of the free press.
Labour says this is just the sort of legal under-pinning they were looking for but the Conservatives say that no such press law will exist.
Is there a chance tomorrow's Commons' votes on press regulation may not go ahead? Could there be agreement between the parties after all?