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Monday, March 18, 2013

Deal struck on Leveson?

Today's Independent reports that last minute talks have led to the on-off cross party deal on the regulation of newspapers being on again.  Will the deal hold together long enough for Parliament to actually vote it through?

The paper says that the dramatic twist has headed off the threat of an embarrassing Commons defeat for David Cameron tonight:

The Prime Minister ended the three-party negotiations last Thursday when he rejected Labour and Liberal Democrat demands for a Royal Charter setting up a new regulatory system to be underpinned by law, and said the issue would be resolved by MPs today.

But the talks were restarted over the weekend and the differences between Mr Cameron on the one hand and Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg on the other were gradually whittled away. The crucial breakthrough came in a marathon session in the Labour leader’s Commons office which ended at 2.30am today. It was attended by Mr Miliband, Mr Clegg and Oliver Letwin, the Conservatives’ policy chief who produced the Royal Charter option after Mr Cameron rejected the statutory underpinning recommended by Lord Justice Leveson in his report last November. The Prime Minister did not attend the talks but was kept informed throughout.

What is interesting is how this will apply to on-line content. One blogger over the weekend suggested that the new law will seek to regulate independent blogs, however this piece by Ian Burrell suggests differently. Mr. Burrell says that the failure to address on-line content will mean that the whole issue will need to be revisited within a fairly short time.

As always the devil will be in the detail and we will need to see what is proposed and how it will work before we can agree or disagree with that judgement.
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