City MPs react to Leveson findings

Lord Justice Leveson
Lord Justice Leveson

THE city’s MPs have responded to Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for an independent system for press regulation.

The Leveson Inquiry has been carried out over a number of months with celebrities including Hugh Grant and Russell Brand as well as former Prime Minister Tony Blair giving evidence.

Outlining his conclusions today, Lord Justice Leveson said: “What is proposed here is independent regulation of the press organised by the press, with a statutory verification process to ensure that the required levels of independence and effectiveness are met by the system in order for publishers to take advantage of the benefits arising as a result of membership.”

He added: “There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist.”

The inquiry into press ethics was called after the phone hacking scandal.

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “While the status quo was clearly not going to be acceptable, the guiding principle of the Leveson report appears to be independent self regulation of the press which coupled with greater transparency seems very sensible.

“The devil is always in the detail but I hope the press, politicians and public can work together to make these recommendations a reality.”

His Milton Keynes South counterpart, MP Iain Stewart, said: “I very much welcome Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for a new, much stronger regulation of the Press. I particularly want to see a system where newspapers are required to publish a prominent apology and correction when they publish a false or misleading story.

“I also welcome the fact that there will be cross-party talks on how this new system can be quickly implemented. If it is necessary to underpin this new system by law to make it effective, then I do not oppose that. However, we must think very carefully before that line is crossed. A free press is one of the hallmarks of our liberty.

“I call on the press to step up to the plate so that the new regulatory system is in place quickly.”