Prime Minister David Cameron has stopped cross-party talks on press regulation, vowing to push his royal charter plan through Parliament next week.
Cameron ended talks with Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg this morning after they failed to agree which route to take on press regulation.
Labour and the Lib Dems had hoped that the Prime Minister would back statutory regulation for the press. Mr Cameron is pushing for a royal charter which would see a new voluntary body, similar to the existing Press Complaints Commission, which could enforce new rules more effectively.
David Cameron has not only walked away from the Leveson talks today, he has walked away from his promises to the victims
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) March 14, 2013
The Leveson Inquiry was set up following the phone-hacking scandal which was exposed in 2011 by the Guardian newspaper. The now defunct News of the World had intercepted voicemail messages of celebrities and members of the public who had been in the news.
Campaign group Hacked Off says “this is a shameless betrayal of the victims of press abuse”.
David Cameron is trying to portray this as an issue of press freedom. No serious person believes that the Leveson recommendations on press regulation pose any threat to freedom of expression.
Cameron is trying to raise a smokescreen to hide his dirty dealings behind closed doors with powerful press barons who don’t want to have to be accountable when their newspapers –to use Lord Justice Leveson’s words – ‘wreak havoc in the lives of innocent people’. – Professor Brian Cathcart, Executive Director, Hacked Off