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A deal has been struck on plans for Royal Charter.

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A deal has been struck on plans for Royal Charter.

Post  Panda on Mon 18 Mar - 7:47

Labour's Deputy Leader Harriet Harman confirms a deal on
plans for a Royal Charter have been reached after eleventh-hour talks.



7:41am UK, Monday
18 March 2013

Talks were called off last week after the party leaders
failed to agree



Culture Secretary Maria Miller explains that Labour has
"climbed down" over press reforms ahead of the crunch vote in the Commons.

Video: Miller: Press Regulation Deal
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Politicians are nearing a deal on plans to regulate the press,
sources close to the Prime Minister have said.


The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are understood to have
held talks for more than five hours.


David Cameron - faced with a possible defeat in a House of Commons vote on
the issue - was not present but was represented by Oliver Letwin, who has been
the key figure for the party in recent negotiations.


A Downing Street source said a deal was now "very close", while Labour
sources said they were "confident we have the basis" of a cross-party
agreement.


The eleventh-hour talks came after Culture Secretary Maria Miller hinted at a
"Labour climb-down", claiming Ed Miliband's party was now "much closer" to the
Tories' position.


But Labour claimed the deal would be based on their plans for a Royal Charter
underpinned by law.


Mr Cameron has been clear that he is very uncomfortable with the idea of
setting anything down in law because it could be seen as politicians meddling
with the press.


However, it is understood a compromise has been reached to include three
lines of Statute - a clause in the legislation to ensure that the Royal Charter
can not be amended in the future without two-thirds majorities in both Houses of
Parliament.


There will be no industry veto of who sits on the regulator, and there will
be a specific rule to ensure apologies are proportionate.


A senior Labour source told PA the party was in "lock-step" with the Lib
Dems, adding: "We are clear we are not going to accept their Royal Charter. Any
agreement must be on the basis of our Royal Charter."


Mr Cameron, who last week pulled out of talks about implementing Lord Justice
Leveson's recommendations, previously warned that legislation would endanger
press freedom.


Labour leader Ed Miliband, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and shadow
culture secretary Harriet Harman attended the talks.


An agreement is not yet thought to have been signed, although Labour said it
expects details to be announced in the Commons later.


Actor Hugh Grant, who is leading the Hacked Off campaign for tighter controls
in the wake of the hacking scandal, accused the Prime Minister of turning his
back on victims of press intrusion.


"For him, politically, it was more important to suck up to the newspapers
than to fulfil the promise that he made under oath," he told Sky News.


"(He said) that what mattered as an outcome to all this was that those
victims should never be subject to those kind of abuses again."


Harry Potter author JK Rowling also spoke out, saying Mr Cameron's actions
had left her feeling "hung out to dry".


"Monday's vote will make history one way or another," she said.


"I am merely one among many turning their eyes towards Ed Miliband and Nick
Clegg and hoping that they have the courage to do what Mr Cameron promised, but
which he failed to deliver."

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Re: A deal has been struck on plans for Royal Charter.

Post  Panda on Mon 18 Mar - 8:21

By Gordon Rayner, Chief
Reporter

10:02PM GMT 17 Mar 2013




Talks between the three main political parties will continue on Monday
morning in the hope of reaching a cross-party agreement, but if they break down
Labour and the Liberal Democrats will join forces in an attempt to force through
a form of regulation backed by statute.


Defeat for David Cameron would mean that Hacked Off, the campaign group
fronted by Hugh Grant, would win its battle to give MPs some powers to intervene
in newspapers’ affairs.


Opponents of statutory regulation argue that in future, newspaper campaigns
that expose major scandals would be much harder to carry out under the Labour
and Lib Dem model for regulation.


Freddie Astbury, president of Thalidomide UK and a victim of the side-effects
of the morning sickness drug, said: “With thalidomide we learned the lesson that
it’s very important to have a free press.


“If the Lib Dems and Labour introduce a law making it harder to investigate
things like this they will be protecting the likes of pharmaceutical companies
and not protecting the victims.

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