House of Lords defeat government again with fresh call for Leveson 2

Posted On: 
14th May 2018

Peers have repeated their calls for the second part of the Leveson Inquiry to be established - in yet another defeat for the Government.

The newspaper industry is opposed to Leveson 2.
Credit: 
PA Images

They voted 252-213 in favour of 'Leveson 2' being set up to investigate media standards and ethics, just days after the House of Commons narrowly rejected it.

It also came hard on the heels of the 14 defeats the Lords inflicted on Theresa May over the Government's flagship EU Withdrawal Bill.

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The original Leveson Inquiry took place in 2012 following the phone hacking scandal which led to the closure of the News of the World.

Leveson 2 was supposed to take place following the criminal cases which resulted from the controversy, but it was buried by David Cameron's government and rejected completely by Mrs May's.

Crossbench peer Baroness Hollins, who tabled a fresh amendment to the Data Protection Bill calling for Leveson 2, said: "The need for completing this inquiry continues to grow. The illegal conduct that led to part one of Leveson is now known to be far more extensive and to go beyond phone-hacking - more revelations arise every week."

She added: "The promises to the victims of press abuse still hold. This government is breaking these promises. What is the role of this House if not to ensure that the Government acts with integrity and is held to its word."

She was backed by a succession of peers, including former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott, who said the second part of the inquiry was "necessary".

But Tory peer Lord Cormack said the upper house should respect the decision of MPs.

"It has gone to the other place, they have made their decision and we would be over-emphasising our constitutional legitimacy if we sought to reject what they have said," he said.

The amendment will now be voted on by MPs on Tuesday, and a spokesman for the Prime Minister again stressed that the Government would not back down.

He said: "Almost £50m of public money has already been spent on investigating phone hacking and establishing a further public inquiry requiring great time and expense is not a proportionate solution to allegations that have already been the subject of extensive police investigations or ongoing investigations by the Information Commissioner's Office.

"The Government's position that there should be no Leveson 2 inquiry was set out very clearly in the manifesto. We would urge peers to respect the vote of the elected House of Commons last week and reject this amendment."

But Lib Dem peer Lord McNally said: "This issue keeps coming back for the Government, and this vote shows that the House of Lords aren’t willing to forget the promise that was made by the Coalition that Leveson 2 would be enacted."