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Leveson report into press regulation draws reaction from Redbridge MPs

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 December 2012 | UPDATED: 10:24 05 December 2012

Reform of press regulation should not “scare” reporters out of performing the role of holding government to account, according to Ilford North MP Lee Scott.

Along with fellow Redbridge MPs, Mr Scott gave his views on the Leveson report into the newspaper industry to the Recorder this week.

In comments which echo his View from the House column in tomorrow’s Recorder, the Tory MP said: “Our local press, unless I’m very much mistaken, I haven’t heard anything confirmed of it doing wrong.

“But the new laws that would come in would affect the local press as much as The Sun.

“The press are there to do a job and sometimes MPs don’t like that.

“I don’t want to impinge on the press or scare them from doing a story.”

Following his inquiry into the industry, a key finding of Lord Leveson’s report published on Thursday was a need for a “statutory underpinning” to encourage newspaper publishers to co-operate with a regulatory body.

Mr Scott added: “What we must get out of it is a regulator with beef, whether statutory or not.”

Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South, said self-regulation was not an option.

He said: “We have had this useless Press Complaints Commission, it’s time to have a different independent regulator in which the newspapers have no say on who’s on it and don’t have the ability to withdraw from it.”

The “pretty reasonable” provisions of the report drew the support of Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer.

The Labour member said: “If Leveson did imply the state control of the newspaper industry, as has been claimed by its detractors, I would oppose it.

“But this is not the case.”

And Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green said he supported independent self-regulation of the press but wasn’t convinced “statute is necessary to achieve these objectives”.

Newspaper Society president Adrian Jeakings, the chief executive of Archant, which publishes the Recorder, said the industry could establish a “tough new system of independent accountable press regulation”.

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