‘Local press should not pay’ for hacking scandal, says Ilford North MP Lee Scott

Lee Scott

Lee Scott - Credit: Archant

“All options” for press regulation, including an alternative plan put forward by the newspaper industry, should be considered, according to Ilford North MP Lee Scott.

The Newspaper Society, which represents 1,100 regional and local newspapers in the UK, has put its weight behind industry proposals that differ from the government’s Royal Charter in a number of ways.

The rival plan would remove a parliamentary power to approve or block future changes to regulation; remove a ban on former editors sitting on the regulatory panel and change how the regulator seeks corrections and apologies from the industry.

The government’s Royal Charter was drawn up following the Leveson Inquiry into newspapers’ involvement in the phone-hacking scandal and will be presented to the Queen on May 15.

Conservative MP Mr Scott said: “I will look at these [industry] proposals as [prime minister] David Cameron said he would.

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“My views are separated by local and national.

“I think, and I hope, something should be done because local newspapers should not have to pay the price of national papers’ wrongdoing.”

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David Newell, director of The Newspaper Society, said there is nothing in the government proposals which will allow the regional and local press the flexibility to set up its own regulator, something he said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had suggested was possible.

Mr Scott said: “In that case, every option should be considered”.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes agreed the local press was not responsible for the “ills that went on” and said the way a future code is applied “should take account of that”.

But he said he backed the government charter.

An opinion poll carried out by polling company Survation shows 67 per cent of people think politicians should not have the final say on when changes are made in the new system.

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