THE coalition split over newspaper regulation has widened after the Tory minister in charge of the press bill said it was being drafted to “demonstrate concerns” Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals may be unworkable.
The comments by Culture Secretary Maria Miller angered her Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues and led to accusations that the Conservative half of the government was working like the former East German secret police, the Stasi.
However, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted that the bill “is being drafted in good faith” and that the Lib Dems will try to make it work.
Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday upped the pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron by accusing him of “betraying” the victims of phone hacking and press intrusion by coming out against a new law proposed by the Leveson Report to underpin a new independent regulator for newspapers.
Mr Miliband said: “I think many of the victims of sections of the press will be feeling utterly betrayed by David Cameron.
“Here is somebody who commissioned the Leveson inquiry, said the test would be whether the victims thought it would make a difference to them, and, within a few hours of receiving the report, he has rubbished its central recommendation.
“I am afraid that is totally wrong. He should be standing up to powerful interests, including in the press, and saying we are going to do the right thing.”
Labour sources suggested the government will produce draft legislation that looks like “something the Stasi has written”.