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Menston and Burley MP hits out over Leveson inquiry press findings
Shipley MP Philip Davies has clashed with Lord Leveson, as controversy continues to rage over the judge’s inquiry into press abuses.
The Conservative MP, whose constituency includes Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale, launched a series of criticisms when the judge appeared before a Commons committee – as the fate of his landmark report hangs in the balance.
Mr Davies tore into Lord Leveson, accusing him of:
- Producing a report that was unclear – saying: “It was clear to you, perhaps – but not to anybody else!”
- Making recommendations on exemplary damages in libel cases on his “analysis”, rather than on evidence.
- Listening to the Guardian – not regional newspaper editors and publishers – on the dangers to the industry of extra legal costs.
- Failing to realise two of the inquiry’s lawyers had become romantically involved, saying: “You didn’t hear any rumours? You were the only person who didn’t”.
Lord Leveson became visibly annoyed during the exchanges.
However, the judge also strongly defended his inquiry, in evidence to the Commons culture select committee – insisting he was “proud” of it.
Lord Leveson said he was entirely within his rights to base recommendations on the “law of the land”, rather than on further evidence that could have been taken.
He rejected any favouritism towards any groups.
And he pointed out he had not known about the relationship between Carine Patry Hoskins and David Sherborne until March 2013 – long after his inquiry finished.
Regional newspapers fear higher legal costs if forced to go through a new arbitration system, rather than see complaints handled by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
Mr Davies said: “They may have to pay their costs, even if they win their case. Didn’t you foresee that danger?”
But Lord Leveson dismissed the fear, saying: “There is absolutely no reason why they would have to pay their costs if they win their case”. Arbitration would be “inexpensive and speedy”.
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