Posts Tagged ‘press regulation’

Forget about Whittingdale’s women. He’s broken the Ministerial Code. That’s the story

17/04/2016, 12:03:09 PM

by David Ward

Three weeks ago Uncut wrote about the emerging story of John Whittingdale and press treatment of his relationship with a sex-worker. Since then the story has appeared in print and broadcast media with yet more revelations emerging this morning.

Much coverage, including David Aaronovitch’s Times column on Friday, has focussed on his right to a private life. As well as the dissonance of those such as Hacked Off appearing to oppose this. Aaronovitch dismisses Maria Eagle’s call for Whittingdale to recuse himself from press regulation over a mere “perception”.

This is understandable. Whittingdale appears to be a man guilty of little more than some embarrassing missteps. He has spent two years shadowing his brief and another ten years chairing the Select Committee that scrutinises his department. It is hard to think of another Conservative minister as qualified for his role, save perhaps Ed Vaizey.

But this misses the point. The lurid details and high handed rows about who should know what goes on in the minister’s boudoir are a distraction from the very serious question of the Ministerial code.

Section 7 of the Ministerial code is quite clear on minister’s private interests, in bold text at paragraph 7.1. “Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.”


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Leveson heads for press regulation proposals that will mean war with the papers

13/07/2012, 07:00:49 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Did you know Leveson was sitting yesterday? Thought not. But away from the high political drama of Jeremy Hunt or low criminality of hacking, this was one of the most interesting sessions.

Inquiries are defined by the character of their principals. The decidedly establishment mores of Lord Hutton became clearer throughout the progress of his investigation into death of David Kelly just as the more challenging approach of Lord Macpherson was increasingly evident in his conduct of the inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

In this latest phase of the Leveson inquiry, which has moved on to deal with the future of press regulation, Brian Leveson’s character is emerging. And most pertinently, his thoughts on what he will propose seem to have crystallised.

The key witness yesterday was Sir Charles Anthony St.John Gray.

Gray is notable for three reasons: his background, suggested approach to regulation and Leveson’s interventions.

First, as Leveson acknowledged, Sir Charles Gray is one of his long standing friends. Both served at the bar and as judges in the House of Lords, until, in the words of Leveson, Gray, “decided that he’d had enough”. The professional experiences and social environment that shaped Gray’s outlook have equally moulded Leveson.

Second, Gray runs an organisation called Early Resolution (ER). It is a body that adjudicates on press disputes without having to go through the time and cost of a full court case.  ER is voluntary but Gray was up before Leveson proposing a mandatory incarnation of his organisation as the new press regulator.


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