MPs welcome vote against ‘Leveson part two’ inquiry

Lord Justice Leveson during the first Leveson inquiry in 2011.
Lord Justice Leveson during the first Leveson inquiry in 2011.
Claire Udy

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MPs have welcomed a vote against establishing a new inquiry into media and police relations.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband led moves to amend the Data Protection Bill to establish a statutory inquiry dubbed Leveson part two.

But this was rejected this afternoon in the House of Commons by 304 votes to 295, a majority of nine, - prompting cries of ‘shame’ in the chamber.

Tory MPs Penny Mordaunt, for Portsmouth North; Suella Braverman, for Fareham; Caroline Dinenage, for Gosport; Alan Mak, for Havant and George Hollingbery, for Meon Valley, all voted against the amendment.

But Portsmouth South Labour MP Stephen Morgan voted in favour.

Mr Mak said: ‘The vote against the Labour party’s attempt to curtail press freedom is a victory for free speech.

‘I was pleased to vote against it.’

Ms Dinenage added: ‘I have always been an advocate for free press and today’s vote will ensure that continues.’

A second amendment, tabled by shadow culture secretary Tom Watson, would have also seen the introduction of a measure forcing publishers not signed up to a state-backed regulator to pay their opponent’s legal costs in relation to alleged data breaches even if they won the case.

This was abandoned after the SNP withdrew its support.

Matt Hancock, culture secretary, has hailed the vote a ‘great day for a free and fair press’.

He added the government will work ‘closely’ with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the self-regulatory body, to ensure its ‘important work continues’.

Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray welcomed the result. He said: ‘I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and the attempt to impose appalling penalties on the UK’s free press for failing to join a state-recognised regulator has been defeated.

‘The defeat of proposals for a costly second inquiry into the press is also to be welcomed.

‘As MPs heard, the press has already taken great steps since the Leveson Inquiry to meet the objectives of that report.’

Mr Watson claimed there had been a ‘shameless capitulation to press barons’ from the Tories which left victims of phone hacking ‘ever further from reaching the truth’.

He said: ‘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.’