Warning to peers after MPs reject second Leveson inquiry

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 16, 2018

MPs overturned a Lords amendment backing phase two, by 301 votes to 289.

Under the plans, the Information Commissioner will publish a review into the media's handling of personal data every five years, while the Government will also review the effectiveness of dispute resolution procedures used by newspapers to handle complaints.

It was intended as part of the original Leveson inquiry which was launched in 2011 as a two-part investigation.

The government majority of 12 was slightly larger than in last week's vote, when ministers prevailed by nine votes. They said it should no longer go ahead because of the amount of time that had elapsed since the scandal, opposition from MPs and the press - and the changing media landscape.

Addressing MPs, Hancock said: "While our press is not ideal, the culture that allowed phone-hacking to become the norm has now gone".

The first part of the inquiry, in 2011-2012, examined press ethics, but the second part - with hearings into unlawful or improper conduct by newspapers and how the police investigated allegations were put on hold amid criminal inquiries over phone hacking.

"We have gone out of our way to offer concessions at every stage to make sure the system of press regulation is both free and fair", he said.

Labour's Tom Watson said the government's concessions were "far-reaching and highly irregular" and appeared to give greater powers to ministers to interfere with the existing system of self-regulation.

He said a "minority of the press" had engaged in the "most abusive and intrusive activity" and needed to be examined.

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