Cameron urges papers to form new body to ward off press law

DAVID CAMERON yesterday urged newspaper editors to set up a new system of press regulation that would not need state interference.

The Prime Minister and culture secretary Maria Miller held a meeting at Number 10 yesterday with editors and industry representatives, in the wake of last week’s Leveson report.

Miller said the talks had been positive. “Those present were unanimous in their agreement that they needed to work together to find a solution that met Lord Justice Leveson’s principles, and to do so swiftly,” she said.

Cameron told the editors that they need to come up with a new system within days in order to avoid the threat of state regulation. Lord Justice Leveson has recommended a press law that would back up a new watchdog, a proposal that Cameron is strongly opposed to.

The Prime Minister told the group yesterday that they need to set up “a tough, independent, regulatory system rapidly” and that “the clock is ticking”. The industry now has a matter of days to put forward new proposals. Cameron and Miller have both said that they will not accept a plan put forward by Lord Hunt, who heads the current regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission.

The editors will meet again today to work on new plans. Lord Black of Brentwood, who worked on the proposals put forward by Lord Hunt, was also at yesterday’s meeting. Speaking at last night’s British Journalism Awards, he said the press “must remain united” to avoid state regulation.