When questioned about the draft bill on implementing the Leveson recommendations, the PMS said the government was having cross party talks on the recommendations. As part of those talks, the government had agreed to draft the legislation envisaged by the inquiry’s recommendations.
Asked about concerns expressed by the opposition on the drafting of legislation, the PMS said the government was approaching talks in good faith and would draft legislation accordingly. He reiterated the PM’s view, set out in the House last week, that it was likely the legislation would be quite complicated in practice, but the government was progressing the work and would continue with talks.
When questioned on a timetable for the proposed legislation, the PMS said there wasn’t a specific timetable the work had begun and we were getting on with it.
Responding to questions about whether the draft bill would undergo parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way, the PMS said it would be considered by different parties. It hadn’t been drafted yet all parties were going to look at the draft bill.
When asked about how the legislation would be drafted, the PMS said they would take the Leveson recommendation as a guide. The PMS said that Leveson was quite specific in his report about the purpose of the legislation he envisaged.
Asked why we were bothering with a draft bill if the PM didn’t intend to turn it into law, the PMS said the PM had set out his view – which was that this would be crossing a rubicon and we should think very carefully before proceeding in that way. The PM believed that when you got into drafting a bill there would be some practical difficulties and it would become quite complicated.
When asked about the meeting with editors, the PMS referred lobby to DCMS for details. On content, the PMS said that Leveson had set out some principles for regulation and it was for the press to set up that new independent regulator. The purpose of tomorrow’s meeting was to find out how they were getting along and to make sure they were doing it as quickly as possible.
Responding to questions about whether there would be discussions with the Scottish Government, the PMS said we needed to work through all the recommendations. The process was just beginning. He said the government had set out its views on the main recommendations and tomorrow’s meeting would be the first opportunity to discuss those with newspapers and try to generate some momentum on the task of setting up a new regulator.
Asked whether the PM welcomed comments from Shami Chakrabarti, the PMS said that the PM had set out his position last week and we would now get on with the work to see this regulator set up and continue with cross party talks.
Asked about suggestions that others were drafting alternative bills, the PMS reiterated that we had entered into a process of cross party talks and there was bound to be discussion about the legislation required under the proposals.
Asked if the PM was encouraged by reports that 2000 editors had agreed to sign up to a new regulator, the PMS said we wanted the newspaper industry to take forward Leveson’s proposals for an independent regulator: one that had real teeth and commanded public confidence. He said it was good there was support for that but now we needed to see some action.
Responding to questions about the role of Ofcom, the PMS reiterated that the PM didn’t think that was the right approach.
Asked about the response of victims, the PMS said that the central recommendation in the Leveson report was an independent regulator with real teeth which could fine newspapers and ensure real redress for victims that’s exactly what the PM wanted to see. When pressed on whether all victims spoke with one voice, the PMS said there would be lots of debate and people would set out their views.
When asked if the PM had changed his mind about a statutory underpinning, the PMS said no. The PM thought there were other possibilities that should be explored and we should think very hard before going down that route.
Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news
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