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Leveson tensions surface

Leveson tensions surface

Coalition differences over the Leveson report surfaced today as it emerged that Nick Clegg has asked to make his own Commons statement on the findings.

Senior Liberal Democrat sources said that the Deputy Prime Minister had asked Speaker John Bercow if it was in order to have two statements, one from David Cameron and one from Mr Clegg.

Lib Dem sources stressed that Mr Clegg was looking for guidance in the event that his response was different to that of Mr Cameron once the Leveson report was published.

The Leveson Inquiry dominated Prime Ministers Questions today, with Mr Cameron signalling that he will work on a 'cross party' basis.

Fuelling suggestions that tomorrow's Commons statement will be a 'holding' line that could delay any legislation, The Prime Minister said that he wanted to work with others on a long term solution.

"I think we should try and work across party lines on this issue, it's right to work with other leaders," he told MPs. Mr Cameron also insisted that "the status quo is unacceptable" for press regulation.

Catch up on all the action from Prime Minister's Question's at our liveblog.

Responding to the reports on Coalition tensions, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman insisted that the Prime Minister would make a statement on behalf of the Government tomorrow, but did not rule out Mr Clegg speaking too.

Pressed on the subject this afternoon, he said: "How things are conducted on the floor of the House is a matter for the Speaker."

Six copies of Lord Leveson’s recommendations into press reforms have been delivered to Downing Street, as the Prime Minister prepares to set out his response to the Inquiry tomorrow.

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman confirmed that as well as Mr Cameron, both Mr Clegg and Culture Secretary Maria Miller would get a copy of the report in advance of tomorrow's debate.

“There are about half a dozen copies that will be used by Downing Street to prepare for the Prime Minister’s statement tomorrow,” he said.

 At Prime Minister's Question today, Tory MP Henry Smith brought up the issue: "Tomorrow sees the publication of the Leveson report. Does my Right Honourable Friend agree that those who should be utmost in our minds should be the victims of previous media intrusion, and does he also agree with me that the status quo needs updating?"

The Prime Minister said: "The status quo, I would argue, does not just need updating. The status quo is unacceptable and needs to change.

"This Government set up Leveson because of unacceptable practices in part of the media and a failed regulatory system...I think we should try and work across party lines on this issue, it's right to work with other leaders."

He added: "What matters most is that we end up with an independent regulatory system in which we can have confidence."

In a separate development today, News International chief Tom Mockridge told Radio 4s World at One programme that press freedom should not be determined by victims of hacking, including Miller Dowler's parents.

The latest developments come after an open letter from 86 peers and MPs warned the Prime Minister against implementing any statutory regulation of the press, regardless of the judge’s recommendations.


The letter to the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, organised by Tory MP Conor Burns and former Labour minister David Blunkett, says legislation would amount to “state licensing” of the press.

A new poll by YouGov has also found that 79% of people want to see an independent press regulator supported by law.

 

 

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On air

Jeremy Hunt: We must protect a raucous free press

28/11/2012 on Sunrise, Sky News

On air

Hugh Grant: Idea of state licensing just press propaganda

28/11/2012 on Breakfast, BBC Radio 5Live

On air

Simon Hughes: Lib Dems closer to Labour than Tories on Leveson

28/11/2012 on Daily Politics, BBC 2

On air

Matthew Hancock: Most egregious press problems already illegal

28/11/2012 on Daily Politics, BBC 2

On air

Tom Mockridge: Govt must not abandon free press

28/11/2012 on World at One, BBC Radio 4

On air

Priti Patel: Major issues with statutory regulation

28/11/2012 on The World at One, BBC Radio 4

On air

Harriet Harman: Press must recognise current system has failed

28/11/2012 on The World at One, BBC Radio 4

Transcripts

NUJ letter to members on Leveson

28/11/2012