53% of voters in favour of Press regulation system

Gerry McCann: 'Leveson without law is meaningless'. Picture: Getty
Gerry McCann: 'Leveson without law is meaningless'. Picture: Getty
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MORE than half of voters think a new system of Press regulation should be backed by law, ­according to a poll published yesterday.

Some 53 per cent felt statute was necessary if the new regime was to be effective and independent, while 23 per cent thought legal backing would put at risk the freedom of the press, the YouGov survey for the Media Standards Trust found.

Asked whether Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for reform – which included legislation – should be implemented, almost three-quarters (74 per cent) said they should, while 9 per cent said they should not.

However, more than half of respondents said they had ­followed the issue either “not very closely” or “not at all”.

The poll was released as the government prepares to ­publish a draft Royal Charter this week that ministers want to use ­instead of legislation.

Prime Minister David Cameron has set his face against using statute to underpin regulation, arguing that it would “cross the Rubicon” after centuries of press freedom.

Campaigners for statutory underpinning will hold a conference in Westminster tomorrow when Gerry McCann will tell ministers that “Leveson without the law is meaningless”.

Victims of media intrusion will be joined by shadow culture secretary Harriet ­Harman and Liberal Democrat ­justice minister Lord McNally at the Hacked Off event. The ­Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has been invited.

Mr McCann, father of missing Madeleine McCann, will say: “The reason Kate and I agreed to the ordeal of giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry was that we don’t want anyone else to have to go through what we went through.

“The Leveson package, including the legal underpinning, is the minimum acceptable compromise for us, and judging by the polls, for the public at large, too. Leveson without the law is meaningless.”