Inquiry into complaints alleging corrupt relationships between police and newspaper organisations

Part of Policing and Crime Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 10th January 2017.

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Photo of Gerald Howarth Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot 6:00 pm, 10th January 2017

The whole House listened with great respect and interest to my hon. Friends the Members for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) and for Gloucester (Richard Graham), who have brought to the attention of the House and the country the appalling consequences of stalking. I join others in saluting their efforts to persuade the Government to recognise the gravity of the crime and in reaching this result tonight, which we can all applaud.

I thank Chris Bryant for mentioning my intervention on the Minister about section 40 and Lords amendment 24. I will not vote for the amendment tonight, because the Government have agreed to a consultation, and I think it right that that process run, but as I said to the Minister earlier, I hope that the Government will not be intimidated by the campaign by the newspapers that the hon. Gentleman referred to. The newspapers seem struck by an extraordinary sense of paranoia and a feeling of vulnerability, when we all know, from the many cases that have appeared, that they are in the driving seat and have power without a lot of responsibility.

Insufficient attention has been paid to the Leveson inquiry and the subsequent report, which was a detailed and considered piece of work. We should do what the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that Parliament should do. Since the Aldershot News & Mail was unwilling to publish my article today, perhaps I can give the House the benefit of it.