Party leaders welcome Lebedev Independent deal

All three UK main political party leaders have welcomed the news that Russian billionaire and former KGB man Alexander Lebedev has bought the Independent titles.

They are quoted in today’s edition of the paper, which tells readers on page two that ‘the future of the Independent and Independent on Sunday was secured yesterday when Independent Print Limited agreed to buy the newspapers from Independent News and Media”.

The deal was valued at £1, but IN&M has agreed to pay the Lebedevs £9.25m over the next ten months to compensate them for future liabilities.

According to the Financial Times, sources close to the deal say that closing the Independent titles would have cost IN&M between £28m and £40m. The titles lost £12.5m last year.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is quoted in today’s Independent saying: ‘I welcome this news as it will bring stability and a secure future to these great newspapers.”

Conservative leader David Cameron is also quoted by the paper. He says: ‘Our newspapers play a vital part in British democracy and it’s good news that the future of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday has been secured by the Lebedev family.”

Liberal democrat leader Nick Clegg said: ‘Anyone who cares about pluralism in the British press will welcome the continued commitment to independent, campaigning journalism.

‘A healthy democracy depends on a press which includes a wide range of views and strong voices prepared to challenge vested interests and the powerful. I look forward to the Independent newspapers continuing to lead the way in doing just that.”

The Daily Telegraph today reports sources close to the deal as saying that Independent editor Roger Alton is expected to stay in his job.

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