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Govt to draft Leveson bill

Govt to draft Leveson bill
David Cameron has agreed to bring forward draft legislation on implementing the recommendations of the Leveson report, but still has "deep misgivings" about the plans' workability. 

Downing Street this evening said Mr Cameron had agreed to draw up a bill to "demonstrate how complicated it would be" to implement in practice, but rejected claims by Labour that the move represented a shift in Prime Minister's position.

Mr Cameron and his Coalition partner Nick Clegg earlier set out contrasting responses to the Leveson Inquiries' long-awaited report into press standards, which recommended a new tougher system of regulation backed by legislation.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said he had "serious concerns and misgivings" about legislating over press regulation, and insisted politicians should think "very, very carefully" about "crossing that Rubicon".

After cross-party talks between Mr Cameron and Ed Miliband this evening, Labour claimed the Prime Minister had agreed to ask the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to draft a bill to implement Leveson's recommendations.

However a Downing Street source has refuted the claim, insisting Mr Cameron's position has "not moved an inch" after the 30-minute meeting. 

The source said the Government was looking into the viability of introducing a statutory underpinning, but said the Prime Minister still had "deep misgivings" about the workability of the proposals.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller tonight confirmed the plans for a draft bill, telling Channel 4 News the Government would put it forward for consideration "so other parties can see the sorts of problems we're talking about".

In his landmark report, Lord Justice Leveson called for an historic overhaul in the way the press is regulated, saying the press had "wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people" for many decades.

In an unprecedented move, the Deputy Prime Minister was granted permission to offer his own response in the House of Commons, and backed a statutory underpinning of a new independent press watchdog.

He told MPs: "Changing the law is the only way to give us all the assurance that the new regulator isn’t just independent for a few months or years, but is independent for good."

Labour leader Ed Miliband also backed a statutory approach, saying the proposals should be accepted in their entirety. The Labour leader said: "We endorse Lord Justice Leveson’s proposal that the criteria any new regulatory body must meet should be set out in statute."

You can read Paul Waugh's full report on the Leveson proposals here and catch up with all today's developments on our liveblog here.

 

 

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