Campaigners for tougher regulation of the press indicated today that they might be prepared to accept a system underpinned by Royal Charter rather than legislation.
Hacked Off chairman Hugh Tomlinson QC told MPs the group was "prepared to consider" the Charter model that has been floated by ministers as an alternative to statute.
Prime Minister David Cameron has set his face against statutory underpinning, as proposed by Lord Justice Leveson after his inquiry into media ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. Mr Cameron has said it would "cross the Rubicon".
Representatives of Hacked Off, which represents victims of phone hacking and other media excesses, reiterated again today that they wanted to see the Leveson recommendations implemented in full.
Tomlinson said the group was "gravely concerned" about Royal Charter because it was a process that was "done behind closed doors… drawing on the dark recesses of royal prerogative".
But he said the group was not ruling out such a system as long as it "does the job" as well as a statutory model would.
Speaking to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, he said: "We would prefer a statutory recogniser but if the political reality is, for whatever reason, a Charter is much more politically acceptable and if a Charter does the job as well as a statutory recogniser, that is something we have indicated to the Government and we have made clear we are prepared to consider.
"We are not saying we are ruling it out from the start. We are prepared to consider the practicalities."