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A NEW statutory inquiry into relations between the media and police, known as Leveson part two, was rejected by MPs today by just nine votes.
Labour former leader Ed Miliband led moves to amend the Data Protection Bill to establish a statutory inquiry dubbed Leveson 2, but this was defeated by 304 votes to 295, with the majority of nine.
Mr Miliband tweeted: “Very disappointed for the victims of phone-hacking and press abuse that we did not win the vote for Leveson 2.
“The battle goes on to keep our promise to them to get the truth they deserve and protection for victims in the future.”
Five Tory MPs rebelled to support Mr Miliband’s amendment, which would have established Leveson 2, known as Clause 18.
They were former ministers Crispin Blunt, Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve along with backbenchers Peter Bone (Wellingborough) and Philip Hollobone (Kettering).
There was one Labour MP who rebelled to vote against Mr Miliband’s amendment, Keighley’s John Grogan.
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed before the vote that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary would be undertaking a review of how police forces were adhering to new media relations guidance, as recommended by inquiry judge Sir Brian Leveson.
Government amendments were also approved, with one ensuring the Information Commissioner conducts a review of media compliance with the new law over the next four years.
Shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary Tom Watson blamed the Tories for their “shameless capitulation to press barons” that, he said, would “leave the victims of phone hacking ever further from reaching the truth.”
He added: “No criminal investigation or trial has ever looked at the core questions that Leveson 2 posed — how the relationship between the press, police and politicians allowed the hacking scandal to happen and attempt to cover it up.
“Today was a chance for MPs to finally deliver on promises made to victims of hacking and press intrusion. That chance has been squandered and victims have been betrayed once again.”
Campaign for Press and Broadcast Freedom national organiser Josef Davies-Coates said: “In the run up to this important vote dozens of remarkably similar editorials in the local and national press made very spurious claims about how Leveson 2 and the implementation of Section 40 would somehow gag and bankrupt them.
“These accounts all fail to mention one very important fact: both the cross-party Department for Cultue Media and Sport Select Committee and the wholly independent Press Recognition Panel directly asked the newspaper industry for evidence of these claims, but received none. Zilch. Nothing. Because no such evidence exists.
“Indeed, the exact opposite of such claims are true: 126 academics from 35 different universities believe the measures ‘are needed to protect and foster good journalism in this country’ and ‘are certain that they pose no threat to the freedom of journalists to perform their vital democratic tasks, nor to the future viability of local news’.”
“The sheer scale of misrepresentation around everything to do with Leveson 2 and Section 40 provides as a clear demonstration as any of the urgent need for such measures. And yet our government has today chosen to break its promises and instead stand with the press barons while treating the public and thousands of innocent victims of press abuse with utter contempt.”
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