I fully supported the Leveson Inquiry and agree that, following the appalling revelations of phone hacking, it is extremely important that we establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for victims of press intrusion. At the 2015 general election I stood on a manifesto that committed to fully implement Leveson’s recommendations.
The first part of Leveson’s report was published in 2012. It recommended a system of independent self-regulation, guaranteed by law. A Royal Charter was then agreed in October 2013 by all parties and approved by Parliament, to formally establish the new independent press watchdog that Leveson recommended. However, several newspapers rejected the Royal Charter and set up their own regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which launched in September 2014. IPSO has stated it has no intention of seeking recognition under the Royal Charter and recently announced its own pilot arbitration scheme.
The government announced a new consultation on implementing section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act (CCA) 2013 which, as you know, deals with the award of costs and would enact the changes recommended by Leveson and on Leveson II. As you will see I challenged the Minister on her failure to implement it now. You can see that on Hansard.
I believe the Government must get on with commencing section 40 of the CCA 2013. I also believe the Government should facilitate Part 2 of the Leveson inquiry – which remains outstanding – and is intended to look at the conduct within News International and other newspapers, and examine how the police investigated allegations of illegality.
I am concerned the Government has failed to implement the effective form of independent press regulation that Leveson recommended and which the Government signed up to as part of the cross-party agreement during the last Parliament. I believe the Government must keep its promise to the victims of phone hacking. Anything else would be another betrayal of the victims of press abuses and their families.
I will continue to press the Government to deliver on its clear promises by fully implementing the cross-party agreement on Leveson’s recommendations.