Leveson Inquiry: Cross-Party Press Regulation Deal Has Been Struck

It comes after J.K. Rowling said she felt she and other phone hacking victims had been 'hung out to dry' by David Cameron

The three main political parties have reached an agreement on a new system for press regulation, says Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman.

The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin held talks overnight, and now the Commons vote, scheduled for later tonight, will not go ahead.

Back in November, Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press regulation in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal had recommended a new, independent regulator backed by legislation. But Prime Minister David Cameron had objected to a new watchdog backed by law, due to worries about press freedom, while the other parties had been all for it. 

Cameron instead proposed a new system involving a press regulatory body overseen by a royal charter.

The other parties weren’t keen, leading Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband to join forces in opposition to Cameron and meaning that he could have faced a defeat in the Commons vote that was supposed to happen tonight.

Now, though, BBC News reports that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are said to have agreed a deal with the Conservatives on a limited version of their original wishes for full legal backing of a royal charter.

Details of the deal are yet to be revealed.

This cross-party agreement comes on the back of high profile phone-hacking victim J.K. Rowling speaking out to say she felt ‘let down’ by David Cameron’s refusal to follow Leveson’s recommendations.

In a statement, she said: ‘I believed David Cameron when he said that he would implement Leveson’s recommendations ‘unless they were bonkers’. I did not see how he could back away, with honour, from words so bold and unequivocal. Well, he has backed away, and I am one among many who feel they have been hung out to dry.’

What do you think about David Cameron’s stance on the Leveson Inquiry? Are you worried about press freedom or would you like to see stricter regulation? Let us know your thoughts below.

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