Leveson 'has no enthusiasm' to carry out part two of press inquiry, claims former culture secretary

Sir Brian Leveson does not want to chair the second phase of a public
inquiry into the press, a former culture secretary has claimed.

John Whittingdale, who left the cabinet in July, said he had spoken to
the judge and said that he had no enthusiasm to proceed with part two of
the Leveson Inquiry.

Part one of the inquiry examined the culture and ethics of the press.

The Government is currently consulting on whether to proceed with part
two, which would further examine alleged wrongdoing in the press and
police. The consultation closes on January 10.

Whittingdale, who was responsible for media policy in his old role,
said Leveson had no appetite to carry on.

The Conservative MP told BBC radio news today: “Apart from anything
else, the one thing that’s clear is that Lord Justice Leveson has no
wish to undertake another inquiry.

“So you’ve got to find somebody.”

Whittingdale added: “He’s got other jobs to do now, he’s already
given up 15 months of his life for one inquiry and I’ve talked to him
and I know he doesn’t have any enthusiasm.”

Ministers are also consulting on whether to implement controversial
plans in Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which could see
newspapers landed with opponents’ legal costs.

This measure would see newspapers which are not signed up to an
officially-recognised regulator pay their own and the plaintiff’s legal
costs, even if they were successful in court.

One body, Impress has received formal recognition as a regulator from
the Press Recognition Panel, which was set up in the wake of the Leveson
Inquiry.

Impress is funded partly by Max Mosley, the former motor racing boss,
who was a victim of a newspaper sting involving images of him at a sex
party.

But most newspapers have signed up to rival regulator the Independent
Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the press-funded body which did not
seek official recognition – and would therefore be faced with paying plaintiffs’ costs under the Section 40 provisions.

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