Lords plan new vote on Leveson if Charter talks fail

Amendments tabled to Enterprise Bill would free up Libel Reform legislation

The crossbench peer Lord Skidelsky has tabled amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (ERR), to give full effect to the majority of the Leveson recommendations for reform of press regulation. The amendments, creating a ‘Recognition Body’ for an independent self-regulator for the press, including a free arbitration service, have cross-party support and the backing of victims of press abuses.

These amendments adhere as closely as possible to the wording of the original Leveson proposals. They are based on published and consulted-upon Leveson bills and drafted with the assistance of Hugh Tomlinson QC, chair of Hacked Off and Daniel Greenberg, former parliamentary counsel.

Hacked Off regards these amendments as a serious, carefully considered attempt to introduce an effective system of self regulation for the press, after seventy years of failure and six inquiries into press standards.

Hacked Off believes that if the amendments to the ERR Bill are passed, the Defamation Bill amendments on Leveson would become redundant and could be removed to facilitate the continued passage of the Defamation Bill, which Hacked Off fully supports.

Due to the scope of the bill, it is possible that some elements of the Leveson Report cannot be amended into the ERR Bill. We are confident that other legislative options are available to incorporate these parts of the Leveson package.

Commenting on the amendments, Professor Brian Cathcart, Executive Director of Hacked Off said:

We now have to face the prospect that talks to improve the Royal Charter and remedy its many faults are likely to fail.

The Charter as published falls far short of a regulatory system that is sufficiently independent of the newspaper industry or the Government.

If the Government cannot abide by the recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson, the victims of press abuses for whom we speak believe that the will of Parliament should be heard.

Hacked Off agrees that it is prudent for the Lords to be ready with a plan for press self-regulation which complies with the independent recommendations of the judge.

The ERR Bill is currently at Report Stage in the House of Lords. Hacked Off understands that these amendments would be debated in the Lords on Monday 18th March.

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Law and Media Round Up – 11 March 2013 [updated] | Inforrm's Blogreply
March 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm

[…] Courts Bill or the the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Hacked Off has published a statement arguing that if the amendments to the ERR Bill are passed, the Defamation Bill amendments on Leveson […]

News: The Defamation Bill and Leveson Amendments and Cross Party Talks | Inforrm's Blogreply
March 12, 2013 at 12:07 am

[…] If “Leveson amendments” are added to either of the two bills mentioned then it seems likely that there would be cross party agreement on the removal of clause 2 of the Defamation Bill and that the Government would then return it to the House of Commons so that it can be passed into law before the conclusion of the Parliamentary session.  This view has been supported by the campaigning group Hacked Off which said in a statement on Monday 11 March 2013 […]

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