Cameron receives Leveson report
“I hope we can work on an all-party basis. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for real change and I hope that this House can make it happen,” he told MPs.
A senior Labour source said Mr Miliband will receive the Leveson report at 8am tomorrow, and was not expecting to speak to Mr Cameron ahead of his statement.
“We want cross-party consensus, the Leveson Inquiry was set up with a degree of cross-party consensus and we would like that to continue,” the source added.
“Whether it does or not is rather in the hands of the prime minister. We will read the Leveson report and listen to what the prime minister says.”
All three main party leaders have indicated they will support Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations as long as they are “proportionate”.
But there is speculation Mr Cameron could offer Parliament a free vote rather than try to force through measures and suffer a damaging rebellion.
Dozens of Tory MPs have signed an open letter warning against any form of statutory regulation - days after 42 of their colleagues called for tougher laws to curb newspapers’ excesses.
The latest group included “big beasts” Liam Fox and David Davis, as well as media select committee chairman John Whittingdale and 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady.
Labour’s Kate Hoey and Frank Field, and Lib Dem John Hemming also backed the letter.
“As parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control even if it is dressed up as underpinning,” they argued.
“No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing - abolished in Britain in 1695.
“State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.”
Meanwhile, the country’s oldest political magazine insisted it would refuse to join any regulatory system enforced by the Government.
The Spectator said it could not accept a scheme that “subordinates press to parliament”.
“If the press agrees a new form of self-regulation, perhaps contractually binding this time, we will happily take part,” the magazine’s leader column said.
“But we would not sign up to anything enforced by government. If such a group is constituted we will not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces. We would still obey the (other) laws of the land.
“But to join any scheme which subordinates press to parliament would be a betrayal of what this paper has stood for since its inception in 1828.”