Harman’s ‘watered-down’ press regulation warning

Harriet Harman told the PM it was time for him to 'man up'. Picture: PA
Harriet Harman told the PM it was time for him to 'man up'. Picture: PA
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Harriet Harman has signalled Labour’s willingness to reach an all-party agreement over Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals on press regulation, but warned Prime Minister David Cameron that “watered-down” plans would not be acceptable.

The shadow deputy prime minister and shadow culture secretary said the Opposition would “definitely look at a royal charter”, but stressed any arrangement could not be one that “drives a coach and horses through Leveson”.

Earlier this month, the Conservatives outlined their plans for creating a body to verify a new regulator set up by the industry, as the main parties attempt to reach a consensus on press regulation.

Ms Harman said Labour had “bent over backwards to try and reach agreement” and said she hoped the Prime Minister would not be “lent on” by some aspects of the press.

She said: “We have said because we want to reach all-party agreement, we don’t want to have a political argument about this.

“Lord Leveson said it’s very important that we go forward on the basis of all political parties agreeing and, indeed, that is what the victims of press abuse have also said, don’t have a political fight about it.”

She added: “We’ve said we’ll definitely look at a royal charter, but it can’t be one which drives a coach and horses through Leveson, it’s got to be actually delivering the standards that Leveson set forth.

“It’s now time for him [Mr Cameron] to man up, step forward and actually say yes, we’re going to do it.”