Press regulation: Newspapers reluctant to back plan

DAVID Cameron was facing questions last night over whether his plans for a powerful new press regulator would work.

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber became the latest senior figure to voice concern over the proposals agreed at talks between the three main political parties and the Hacked Off group, which has led the campaign for tighter press regulation.

Mr Barber described the discussions – at which the press were not represented – as a “horse traders’ ball” and said his newspaper had yet to decide whether it would sign up to the new arrangements.

“This has not been a satisfactory process,” he said.

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The FT had been among the papers most sympathetic towards the idea of a regulator established by royal charter – which the plan envisages – and Mr Barber’s comments represent a setback for the Prime Minister.

Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media, was broadly supportive of the new arrangements, although he expressed “grave reservations” over fines for papers which do not sign up.

The Daily Mirror denounced the plans in its editorial, while the Spectator magazine made its views clear in a front page that simply said “No”.

Only the Independent has indicated it is ready to sign up, arguing in its editorial that it was time to “accept the new system and move on”.