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Leveson: Independent regulator must be established ‘urgently’, David Cameron warns press

Tony Gallagher, the editor of The Telegraph and Chris Blackhurst, the editor of The Independent, arrive at Downing Street

Tony Gallagher, the editor of The Telegraph and Chris Blackhurst, the editor of The Independent, arrive at Downing Street

NEWSPAPER editors in England have been warned by David Cameron that they must act “urgently” to set up an independent press regulator.

• Newspaper editors warned they must establish independent regulator urgently

• PM insists that body must meet standards set out by Leveson report

The Prime Minister took part in a summit of senior industry figures at Number 10 to hear proposals for a new regime not backed by law.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has made clear that the option of legislation called for by the Leveson Report remains an option if progress cannot be made.

“I’ve just spoken to newspaper editors in No 10 - telling them they need to set up an independent regulator urgently,” Mr Cameron wrote on Twitter.

The meeting was not attended by any Scottish newspaper editors.

Speaking after taking part in the high-level meeting, Mr Cameron said he had made clear that “the clock is ticking” for the industry to agree action.

“They have got to do it in a way that absolutely meets the requirement of Lord Justice Leveson’s report,” he said.

“That means million-pound fines, proper investigation of complaints, prominent apologies, a tough independent regulatory system.

“And they know, because I told them, the clock is ticking for this to be sorted out.”

The Prime Minister has expressed “serious concerns and misgivings” about resorting to any form of statutory underpinning for press regulation.

But with Labour and the Liberal Democrats united in favour, his own backbenches split and phone-hacking victims leading a campaign for full implementation, he is under huge pressure.

An online petition launched by campaign group Hacked Off has so far attracted more than 135,000 signatures in favour of statutory underpinning.

Mrs Miller told MPs that change has to happen either “with the support of the press or - if we are given no option - without it”.

Action “would include legislation” if industry proposals fall short of Leveson’s principles, she said, warning against a “puppet show with the same people pulling the same strings”.

 

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