While the Labour Party supports the core recommendations of the Leveson Report – that there should be a new system of independent regulation of the press, guaranteed by law – as a former journalist I cannot support that policy.
The Leveson inquiry was set up to look at the hacking scandal – where unscrupulous journalists and others broke the criminal law. While there were obviously some in the newspaper industry who thought such law-breaking was acceptable, such criminal behaviour can in no way be seen as a failure of regulation; it was a failure of individuals to respect the law. it is for the courts, therefore, to deal with this behaviour.
My considered view on whether parliament should be involved in setting up an “independent” press regulator (it shouldn’t) were published in my column in the Daily Telegraph, which you can read here.