Leveson Inquiry round two? Government bill defeat in Lords could prompt second media probe

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Lord Leveson Publishes His Eagerly Awaited Report Into Press Standards
Another inquiry into the press could be in order (Source: Getty)

The House of Lords has put the possibility of a second Leveson Inquiry on the table after supporting an amendment to the government's Data Protection Bill.

Peers voted 238 to 209 in favour of a crossbench amendment which calls for a fresh inquiry into "corporate governance and management failures" at news companies.

Major publishers oppose a second part of the Leveson Inquiry on the basis that it could undermine free speech.

But the government's decision not to call for a new probe has led to accusations that the Conservatives are pandering to media barons. Labour's Baroness Kennedy said today that the government "doesn't want to fall out with its friends in the press".

Baroness Hollins, who tabled the amendment, said that her eyes were opened to "inaccurate, corrupt and illegal practices" in the press after her daughter Abigail Witchalls was left paralysed after being stabbed in 2005. Hollins gave evidence in the first Leveson Inquiry about press intrusion into her family life following the incident.

But Lord Keen of Elie, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, argued that the amendment could "cut across" ongoing work on press regulation and data protection.

It follows the passing of another amendment earlier this evening, when peers voted 235 to 204 in favour of a register of publicly controlled personal data of national significance.

A second inquiry was recommended in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal, which brought down Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper.

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