Earlier this week before Leveson was even published, I spoke to the Norfolk MPs about where they stood on statutory regulation.

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Two of them, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman and North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, were among the 42 that signed the original letter published in the Guardian that appeared to back state regulation.

But actually, when I spoke to the pair, their attitudes were more nuanced. Henry Bellingham made the following comment: “I’m not for all-out statutory regulation, but I do think the press need to accept that with the phone hacking scandal things need to change.”

Meanwhile George Freeman said: “Nobody wants to shackle the media’s vital role in democracy of defending free speech or holding politicians to account. “But somehow we need a mechanism to protect those unable to afford expensive lawyers to protect themselves against irresponsible journalism where it occurs.”

Neither gave any outright supportive comments for any new statue. I’d wager that when it came down to it, as long as any new regulatory body could be shown to have teeth they would back the government in a vote, regardless of whether there was any statute involved.

That got me thinking about the original letter of the 42 and how mealy mouthed it was; a sure sign that it was made so in order to get those wavering around the edges of a particular viewpoint to sign up.

In other words I suspect there are others from the 42 who would not die in a ditch to defeat the government over press regulation.

12 comments

  • If anyone wants to look at a classic example of a piece of legislation being brought in for the right reasons but often used wrongly then the Terrorism Act must be it. The police used the Act rather aggressively to stop people doing all sorts of quite innocent things.

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    BG

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • Probably the truth of it is, that they don`t want to gift Ed Miliband another occasion when he can defeat the government with the aid of Tory dissenters as we move closer to the 2015 election.

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    BG

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • I seem to remember the LibDems being rightly pilloried when they broke their promises about university fees. If the 42 go back on their word now it puts them in the same contemptible boat. Mr Cameron said before the enquiry that he would carry out the recommendations of the enquiry unless they were totally bonkers. Which part is totally bonkers? Perhaps we should ask Rebakah, she could text him the answer.

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    DocOhNo

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • Splendid views, straight from the flame haired temptress?

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    DocOhNo

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • @ DocOhNo - Ed Miliband now wishes he that he had never uttered the phrase that he would accept the recommendations of the Leveson report in full. Even before he had read it. His minions are now doing the rounds saying the opposite and are trying to get out of the predicament they find themselves in by saying they would be prepared to "negotiate" and agree a cross party consensus. As far as Ed Miliband goes he is a politician and morals don`t come into it. Bit like his predecessor whose moral compass seemed to be permanently pointing the other direction to which it should have been.

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    BG

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • After Harriet's appearance on the Politics Show today we now know what Ed Miliband meant when he said he accepted the Leveson Report in its entirety. He only accepts the bit that refers to the statutory under pinning aka statutory control of the press. Glad that`s cleared up. DC will have a field day if he starts at PMQs. But then when Labour were in power they didn`t need a legal frame work to control the press and media. They had Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandleson.

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    BG

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

  • DocOhNo - If you are hoping for a politician to do the decent thing forget it. They are more concerned with the next General Election. Miliband has got him self into knots over this and should have said that he will await the report before making the pledge that he would accept it all without question. A position he is now trying to distance himself from. Principles have gone out of the window and personally I don`t expect anything from this. It will go from one committee to another until 2015. Then it will become someone else`s problem. My personal view is that I don`t trust any of them to sort this out. We have two distinct camps with the third having a foot in both - just in case.

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    BG

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • What a strange time we live in. A left wing opposition expounding the views of the Right. A Right wing government expounding the views of the left. How odd is that? Still not the first time. A Labour government seemed rather grateful of the over zealous us of the terrorism act to get rid of an aged heckler as I recall.

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    BG

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • If anyone wants to look at a classic example of a piece of legislation being brought in for the right reasons but often used wrongly then the Terrorism Act must be it. The police used the Act rather aggressively to stop people doing all sorts of quite innocent things.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • BG, it's interesting that you are happy to let something as serious as this descend into petty party points scoring. To me it's very simple, what is the right thing to do? Has the press done anything to justify the professional priviledge of self regulation? For me the answers are clear, I want no truck with Miliband, Clegg or Cameron but will happily support whoever does the decent thing and not act like a party hack, or are you simply taking the view that Conservative good and Labour bad no matter what the policy? My party right or wrong?

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    DocOhNo

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • I wonder if the parents of Madeleine McCann and Millie Dowler are concerned that doing the decent thing would give an opportunity to Ed Miliband? I think even MPs must recognise that there are times when morals take precedence over political expediency. If Mr Cameron continues with his attitude he deserves to lose votes.

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    DocOhNo

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • They say that state regulation will protect the poor man from being libeled. So that means that papers will have to verify the facts of every story to the standards of admissible courtroom evidence before they are allowed to publish a story. We either accept papers as they are now (mainly good, sometimes bad), or have papers that report just farming news, weather forecasts and tractor production figures.

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    Rhombus

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

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