As it happened: the release of the Leveson report on press standards

Live updates: the publishing of the Leveson report
Live updates: the publishing of the Leveson report
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The Leveson report, published today, recommends statutory underpinning of press regulation, a new independent regulator for the UK press and an overseeing role for OfCom. Read the report summary here.


• There should be a new self-regulatory system, setting up a body, independent both of the media and government, but “recognised” by legislation, to watch over press standards.

• The new body should not have editors on its board in order to show the press was no longer judging itself.

• A formerly recognised free arbitration system for people to get quick redress from if they so chose.

• Legislation would enshrine a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press. Lord Leveson claims it would not establish the body itself - that would be for the newspaper industry to do itself.

• Legislation required to recognise the new system. It would not establish a body to ergulate the press. That is for the press to organise or do.

• It would enshrine for the first time a legal dity of the gov to protest the freedom of the press. provide an indpendent process to recognise a self-reg body and reasure the public of its independence. It would procide new and tangible evidence that the press...a member of the body newspapers could show they were acting on good faith and were acting in good interest.

4.55pm: Scott Macnab: Brian Cathcart of the Hacked Off campaign said it was “unfortunate and regrettable” that Mr Cameron did not want to accept the “full recommendations of the report.”

He added: “The would have made a difference – they should implemented as quickly as possible.”

Jacqui Raimes of the campaign added: “It was good that he accepted the majority of the recommendations, but it really all starts to fall apart without underpinning recommendations.”

4.40pm: Scott Macnab: Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie says Scotland should implement a stand-alone system of regulation backed by statute.

He said: “Given that we’re now faced with the opportunity to act, it would be quite bizarre for a pro-independence Government to leave this matter to Westminster. The Leveson report demands action to restore public trust and I believe the Scottish Parliament should use its powers in this area.”

4.35pm: A call to create a new press watchdog underpinned by legislation has sparked a deep political split today, amid clear signs Scotland and England will go their separate ways on new regulations.

4.32pm: Scott Macnab: Mr Clegg said that a range of UK newspapers operated in Ireland under the regulation of the Irish press council which is underpinned by statute. “I’ve not heard these papers complain of a deeply illiberal press environment across the Irish Sea,” he said.

4.30pm: Scott Macnab: Liberal democrat leader Nick Clegg takes issue with Mr Cameron’s reluctance to give a new regulator recognition in law in a separate statement to MPs.

There has been “repeated failures of self-regulation over the past 16 years.”

He said: “We need to get on with this without delay.

“We owe it to the victims of these scandals who have waited too long for us to do the right thing.”

4.25pm: David Maddox: The Coalition is officially divided over putting press regulation in law. First time since 1934 that two different government statements have been given on an issue the last time saw the fall of the government four days later.

4.20pm: David Maddox: Clegg says “a free press does not mean a press that is not free to bully innocent individuals.”

He says that Leveson system of tough regulation is “proportinate and welcome”.

However, he disagrees that OfCom should have a print media role and does not want data protection changed.

4.17pm: David Maddox: Tory Wellingborough MP Peter Bone has challenged that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg giving a separate Leveson statement.

Speaker Bercow refuses to accept Bone’s motion that the House adjourn.

4.15pm: Scot Macnab: Labour MSP Paul Martin says the report gives a “fascinating insight into the murky way Alex Salmond goes about his business.”

He added: “It confirms that Salmond talked about supporting the Murdoch family’s bid to takeover Sky in the same conversation in which he asked for the Murdoch papers to support the SNP.

“It confirms that Alex Salmond offered to lobby the UK government on the Murdoch family’s behalf and to have done so would have been wrong. The only thing that stopped that wrongdoing was that the UK government made a decision before Salmond got round to phoning them.”

4.14pm: David Maddox: Gregg McClymont leads attack on SNP and press.

He points out that report said Alex Salmond stood ready to lobby on BSkyB which if accepted “would have rendered the decision illegal”.

4.10pm: Scott Macnab: Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont says she is not convinced that there is need for a “separate press regulation” system in Scotland which looks increasingly likely as Mr Salmond and the Prime Minister adopt different positions on legislation.

She added: “After reading Lord Leveson’s comments in his report I am convinced that Alex Salmond is not the man to lead any form of press regulation.”

4.05pm: Scott Macnab: A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond says the report is “complete vindication of the First Minister’s position in terms of the case he was prepared to put to promote Scottish jobs and the wider Scottish economic interest.

The spokesman said the report makes it clear Mr Salmond “cannot be criticised” for his dealings with News Corp.

“This report drives a coach and horses through the claims of opposition politicians in the Scottish Parliament, whose own parties’ dealings with News Corporation and other major media organisations have been far greater than those of the First Minister,” the spokesman added.

3.51. David Maddox: David Cameron is very keen to emphasise the fact that Lord Leveson exonerates the UK Government over claims of a deal with News International.

He told MPs: “During the course of this inquiry, a number of serious allegations were made and I want to deal with them directly. First, that my party struck a deal with News International. This is an allegation that was repeated again and again on the floor of this House and at the inquiry itself. Lord Justice Leveson looked at this in detail and rejects the allegation emphatically.”

In response to a question from SNP MP Angus Robertson he notes that Leveson raises an eyebrow at Mr Salmond on his contacts with the news group.

3.50pm: Scott Macnab: Mr Cameron tell the SNP’s Angus Robertson that he would examine the Scottish plans for a judge-led body to implement the Leveson findings.

Mr Cameron said: “I will look carefully at what the First Minister says and the proposals he’s making in this area.

I would recommend that the honourable gentleman might want to look at what the report says about the First Minister,

ord Leveson said Mr salmond’s “readiness to assist” Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in its bid to take over BSkyB was “striking.”

3.46pm: Eddie Barnes: David Cameron is very keen to emphasise the fact that Lord Leveson exonerates the UK Government over claims of a deal with News International.

He told MPs: “During the course of this inquiry, a number of serious allegations were made and I want to deal with them directly. First, that my party struck a deal with News International. This is an allegation that was repeated again and again on the floor of this House and at the inquiry itself. Lord Justice Leveson looked at this in detail and rejects the allegation emphatically.”

In response to a question from SNP MP Angus Robertson he notes that Leveson raises an eyebrow at Mr Salmond on his contacts with the news group.

3.41pm: Scott Macnab: Labour MP Chris Bryant said the report comes from an independent regulator who is “telling us what to do.”

“If we don’t do what he says and provide a change in the law, there will be more Milly Dowlers and that will be our fault,” he said.

3.37pm: Scott Macnab Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said Leveson makes it clear that a new regulator set up in statute would “reassure the public”

He told the Prime Minister: “That’s a very powerful argument and I ask my friend to consider it.”

Mr Cameron said he has “misgivings” about setting up a new body, with a statutory underpinning that would involve new laws.

The Government would the have to start become responsible for its “composition, powers, its make-up.”

He added: “You find pretty soon hat you have a piece of law which is press regulatory.”

“That’s an enormous step for us in the House of Commons to take.”

3.31pm: David Maddox: Former Home Secretary Jack Straw pleads with Prime Minister to accept that independent regulation needs to be backed up by law so it can be enforced.

Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind says that the argument that an Act of Parliament will give the necessary public confidence in the regulation is “a very powerful argument”

3.25pm: Scott Macnab: Mr Cameron says that there needn’t be any delay in the main recommendations of the report on the creation of a new regulatory body. “This report needs to be implemented by the press, by the press taking the steps set out in this report. They could start that right now.”

3.22pm: Scott Macnab: Mr Miliband said that Parliament should start legislation by May next year and said that a new system should be “up and running by the end this parliament in 2015. He added that the politicians must sieze the initiative on behalf of all “decent British citizens”, saying ”we must act.”

3.20pm: Scott Macnab: Mr Miliband said the Leveson findings are “measured, reasonable and proportionate” and said that without statute “there cannot be the change we need.”

3.19pm: Scott Macnab: Labour leader Ed Miliband says he hopes to convince Mr Cameron that the Government should implement the recommendations of Leveson, including an independent regulatory body set out in law.

3.16pm: Scott Macnab: A regulatory system should now be put in place which embodies the Leveson principles, Mr Cameron says, and there’s no excuse for the newspaper industry not establishing this now.

3.15pm: Mr Cameron says he has “serious concerns and misgivings” over Leveson’s proposals for a statutory underpinning to a new regulation system. Tells MPs: “We should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and the free press.”

3.14pm: Scott Macnab: David Cameron tells MSPs that he’s not convinced that statute is necessary to underpin the Leveson findings on press regulation. He said there are “alternative options” that should be explored which could give the public assurance.

2.55pm: The Leveson report analyses The Sun’s decision to publish its exclusive that the Gordon and Sarah Brown’s son was suffering from cystic fybrosis. The inquiry heard how the paper’s former editor Rebekah Brooks claim the couple were “absolutely committed to making this public”. The report declares this account “frankly defies belief: one hardly needs Mr Brown himself to point out that no parent in the land would have wanted information of this nature to be blazoned across the front page of a national newspaper”.

2.55pm: David Cameron went to “great lengths” to woo Rupert Murdoch’s News International (NI) newspaper empire prior, Lord Justive Leveson said.

The judge said the Prime Minister’s closeness to senior NI executives like Rebekah Brooks had created a problem of “public perception”.

He accepted there was no “deal” of newspaper support for the expectation of policy favours.

But he added that the Prime Minister had been right to accept that politicians had “got too close to the media” and that the relationship needed to be set on a “better footing”.

2.50pm: Reaction from Milly Dowler’s family, Hacked off and Kirsty Hughes:

Solicitor Mark Lewis, who represents the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, said: “The Dowlers are going to want to go and look at this in more detail.

“What has happened to them has happened to them, they want to ensure that same sort of thing can’t happen again in the future.

“Whether or not there can be a prevention of that sort of abuse of victims in the future remains to be seen because, of course, implementation is all-important and we have to wait to see what happens.”

Campaign group Hacked Off, which has represented some of those complaining of unwarranted press intrusion, said in a statement: “We welcome this carefully prepared and thorough report.

“The judge has rightly condemned the outrageous conduct of the press in the recent years.

“The crucial point is the importance he places on the complete independence of regulation from politicians and from the editors and proprietors, who run the wholly discredited PCC.

“He has proposed a system of voluntary and independent self-regulation. The proposals made by the industry do not come close to this ideal. What is needed is a regulator which can properly and effectively protect the victims of press misconduct.

“He has recommended that this be backed by legislation to protect the public and the press.

“These proposals are reasonable and proportionate and we call on all parties to get together to implement them as soon as possible.

“The press must be given a deadline. The inquiry is over. Now is the time for action.”

Kirsty Hughes, chief executive of free speech group Index on Censorship, said: “Index urges that there is a serious, considered debate about Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.

“We are worried about the statutory-voluntary approach to independent press regulation, which is similar to the Irish model, even if it is with oversight from Ofcom rather than politicians.

“However, we strongly welcome the proposal for cheap, effective arbitration, which Index on Censorship has led the way in advocating.”

2.45pm: Eddie Barnes: On the reporting of the McCann case, Lord Leveson does not pull his punches.

“It is sufficient to make the observation that, aside from the gross inaccuracy of the reporting in issue, some of it was, to put it bluntly, outrageous.”

He highlights one article in the Daily Star in 2007 which suggested the couple had sold their daughter, Madeleine.

He adds: “If ever there was an example of a story which ran totally out of control, thsi is one. The appetite for ‘news’ became insatiable, and once the original story had run its course the desire to find new leads and ‘angles’ began to take over, with their corollary tendencies of sensationalism and scandal. Not merely was the rigorous search for the truth the first principle to be sacrificed but also was any respect for the dignity, privacy and wellbeing of the McCanns.”

2:40pm: Former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley, who successfully sued the News Of The World for privacy damages over claims that he was involved in a “sick Nazi orgy”, said it would be “astonishing” if the Government did not implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.

“He said: “It certainly is a very thorough document and it’s in many respects better than one could have hoped.

“It would make the situation much better than it is now and what he has done is more or less give the press what the Hunt-Black proposals would want, but underpinning with a statutory to make sure there’s no backsliding and no cheating.

“The only real omission is that if you want to stop something coming out because you find that they are going to breach your privacy, you would still have to go to court to do that, which of course is very expensive.

“I think it would be astonishing if the politicians didn’t implement the report because no responsible politician could allow the current situation to continue.”

2.35pm: Head of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) Lord Hunt : “I do not want the message to go out from this country that the UK is bringing in a press law but we do have to make a fresh start with a new body and that

is what I’m going to reveal.

“I did sense that Brian Leveson wants the press now to get on with it. He embraced a free press. What we have to make sure now is the press do not let him down. There is a huge opportunity here and we must seize


2.20pm: Leveson on Salmond:

“I have absolutely no doubt that Mr Salmond was motivated by an anxiety to help Scottish employment and to benefit Scotland generally: that is entirely laudable and exactly what is the expectation and proper function of the First Minister. How far that should be taken, however, is another matter. He appreciated that employment whether in Scotland or elsewhere was not a relevant consideration for the Minister and, in fact, he never contacted either Dr Cable or Mr Hunt to argue the contrary.

“Judged by what he did, as opposed to what he said he was prepared to do, therefore, he cannot be criticised.”

2.30pm: Leveson said: “That Mr Coulson had resigned in response to the conviction and imprisonment of one of his journalists added yet another reason to question why it was that Mr Coulson’s name came to Mr Osborne’s mind.

“Mr Osborne’s explanation for suggesting Mr Coulson to Mr Cameron was that he sensed that Mr Coulson was in fact instinctively sympathetic to Conservative views.”

2.10pm: The Leveson Report on Press Standards can be found in full at the following links:

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

13.50pm: Former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt failed to supervise his special adviser properly during the BSkyB bid, creating a “serious hidden problem” in the Government’s handling of the affair. Lord Justice Leveson said that although there was no evidence to suggest Mr Hunt was biased, the risks of allowing Adam Smith to be the point of contact between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel should have been “obvious from the outset”.

13.36pm: Tom Peterkin: Lord Leveson report recommends a tougher form of self-regulation backed by legislation to uphold press standards, the BBC is reporting before press conference.

13.35pm: David Maddox: A new independent body backed up by law needs to be set up to govern the press, Lord Leveson has recommended in a damning report into the ethics and standards of the press. After 88 days of taking evidence, Lord Leveson has produced a report of more than 2,000 pages which has rejected appeals by the press that there should be no legal regulation. Instead Lord Leveson has damned the press describing it as “wreckless” and accused it of “wreaking havoc” by “prioritising sensational

stories”. The report clears former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt over his handling of ther BSkyB buy up by the Murdochs, saying he was “entitled to his strong views.”

13.30pm: Leveson recommends new, independent self-regulatory body for press in UK, statutory underpinning and overseeing role for Ofcom

12.45pm: Eddie Barnes: Alex Salmond makes a pointed comment during First Minister’s Questions over the fact he was not given a copy of the Leveson report yesterday - unlike the Labour party which got its copy at the same time as David Cameron. He also made it clear that he wants to set up a Scottish regulatory regime, setting out a 3 stage process.

11.00am: Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks appeared in court along with John Kay, Bettina Jordan-Barber and Clive Goodman. All five defendants were given bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Below is an outline of how the day is expected to progress

At 3pm David Cameron will make a statement to the House of Commons following the report’s publication. He received a copy yesterday.

Ed Miliband will then make a statement in reply with Nick Clegg possibly making a statement to the house if the coalition partners have not agreed on a response to the report.

The Prime Minister has called for cross-party cooperation in wake of the report however the coalition is believed to be split over the final shape of the body that will regulate the press.

Nick Clegg is reported to be in favour of the rapid creation of a regulator with statutory underpining - a move that is opposed by the Tories.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond says he would support a model of press regulation similar to that which exists in Ireland.

Under this model, Scottish newspapers would be put under independent supervision.