Leveson sets the scene for a coalition clash

Lord Leveson has published the report of his enquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. His main recommendation is the creation of a new form of self regulation, organised by the industry, and underpinned by legislation.

He emphasises that it would be for the press to organise the body and that new legislation is necessary only for the purpose of recognising a new independent self-regulatory system. The law would enshrine a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press. It would also provide new and tangible benefits for the press.

His report criticises the links between the press and politicians, and he recommends openness and transparency over the extent to which politicians are lobbied by the press. He also said that he had not seen any evidence to suggest widespread corruption in the relationship between the press and the police.

Speaking in the Commons, David Cameron cautioned against any legislation that has the potential to infringe a free press. He agreed with Leveson that “too close a relationship” had developed between the press and politicians, and that current self-regulation cannot continue, arguing that the status quo “is not an option”.

In contrast, Nick Clegg said that a change to the law is the only way to ensure the new regulator of the press is independent for good, and stated that he sees no reason not to follow Leveson’s suggestions.

Similarly, Ed Miliband said that he considered Leveson’s suggestions “measured and proportionate” and said that he hoped to convince the Prime Minister by the end of January 2013 to endorse the Leveson scheme. His disagreement with the PM, and the alignment between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, sets the scene for further confrontation as all sides meet over the next few days to decide how to proceed.

Jake Rigg

Jake Rigg

Jake is the Managing Director at Keene Communications, specialising in government relations activities on financial services, tax and competition in the UK and the EU. He also specialises in planning and stakeholder engagement.

He was formerly Head of Policy at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). With degrees in history and economics from the Universities of Oxford and London, Jake is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the European Association of Philanthropy and Giving and advises several governments on public policy. He also advises clients on CSR and philanthropy activities.
Jake Rigg

About the Author

Jake is the Managing Director at Keene Communications, specialising in government relations activities on financial services, tax and competition in the UK and the EU. He also specialises in planning and stakeholder engagement. He was formerly Head of Policy at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). With degrees in history and economics from the Universities of Oxford and London, Jake is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the European Association of Philanthropy and Giving and advises several governments on public policy. He also advises clients on CSR and philanthropy activities.