Lord Justice Leveson could appear in front of MPs 'within weeks'
Lord Justice Leveson has been formally asked to give evidence in front of MPs on the future of press regulation.
Lord Justice Leveson delivers his findings. Politicians have caved in to pressure from activists and backed a deal that is a mix of royal charter and statute Photo: GETTY
By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent
3:15PM BST 25 Jun 2013
The judge, who led an inquiry into press ethics, will be called to give evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. MPs want him to appear within weeks.
He has previously declined an invitation to appear before MPs, arguing that judges did not have to explain themselves to Parliament.
Members of the culture, media and sport select committee agreed at a private meeting this morning to ask him to appear before them.
It is hoped he will face their questions before the Commons rises for the summer recess on July 18.
John Whittingdale, the committee’s chairman, said he would “very much like” Lord Leveson to appear before parliament rose for its summer recess in on 18 July.
He told Huffington Post: “I think we would like to hear his views on the developments that have taken place since the publication of the report.
“As the man authored the report and spent 18-months looking at it and reaching conclusions, we would like to hear his view of what is on the table.”
The MPs want to know if he felt the two royal charters, proposed by the Government and the press industry, delivered “the kind of system” he had envisaged.
Mr Whittingdale said the fact that judges rarely appear before House of Commons committees should not have a bearing on whether he appeared.
He added: “He chaired an inquiry which made recommendations to parliament, it doesn't seem unreasonable that parliament ask him some questions about that.
“If he were sitting a judge delivering a verdict on a case that would be different. That wasn't the case in this instance, he was the chairman of public inquiry.”
He will almost certainly be quizzed about why his enquiry ignored submissions that suggested phone hacking went far outside the remit of the Press.
Lord Leveson is also likely to questioned about whether an affair between lawyers on either side of the enquiry - David Sherbourne and Carine Patry Hoskins - had a bearing on the findings of his report.
A spokeswoman for the committee said it was the first time Lord Justice Leveson had been formally asked to give evidence.
It comes at a time of continued stalemate over future regulation of the press.
A deal for an independent regulator set up by royal charter was struck between the three main political parties and press reform campaign group Hacked Off.
Newspapers published an alternative charter but Hacked Off insists it will accept no compromise on the blueprint for regulation set out by Leveson.
Asked whether Lord Justice Leveson should appear before the committee to give evidence, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman told reporters: "That is a matter for him."
A spokesman for the judiciary said: “Lord Justice Leveson has not received any communication from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He will respond to the Committee if and when he does.”
Asked whether Lord Leveson should appear before the committee to give evidence, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman told reporters: “That is a matter for him.”
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