Leveson Inquiry

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 2017.

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Photo of Julie Elliott Julie Elliott Labour, Sunderland Central 12:00 am, 23rd January 2017

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on when to commence the second part of the Leveson inquiry.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Ministers recently sought views through a public consultation on whether proceeding with part 2 of the Leveson inquiry was appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest. The consultation allowed all interested parties to make clear their views and will help to inform the decision to be made jointly by the Home Secretary and Culture Secretary. Sir Brian Leveson will also be consulted formally before any decision is taken.

Photo of Julie Elliott Julie Elliott Labour, Sunderland Central

I thank the Minister for that response, which bore no relation to my question. More than 30 police and public officials have gone to prison as a result of the Leveson inquiry. How can it be appropriate to even consider cancelling Leveson 2, which would look at the question of police corruption and the role of politicians in it?

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I thank the hon. Lady, whose question bore no relation to my answer. Let me be absolutely clear: the reason we are having a consultation on Leveson is to make sure that we get this right. Of course, if journalists or anybody else have broken the law, we take that incredibly seriously. That is why I am sure the hon. Lady will be pleased to hear that all eight of Sir Brian Leveson’s recommendations covering police and press are well under way to being implemented. The consultation was completed on 10 January and, after a pending court case, the Government will, of course, make their position clear.

Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary

The entire House knows that the Leveson inquiry was always meant to have two parts, but the Government seem poised to break a promise, hiding behind a completely gratuitous inquiry. The whole House knows about cases such as those of Milly Dowler and the totally innocent Christopher Jeffries in Bristol, whose photo was plastered all over the tabloids as a murder suspect, as a consequence of collusion between the police and the media. Why cannot the Minister see that it would be nothing less than a betrayal of the victims of phone hacking, such as Milly Dowler and Christopher Jeffries, if this Government block the second half of Leveson?

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The hon. Lady will know that the consultation finished on 10 January and there were 140,000 responses to it. I do not know about her, but it takes time to go through them. The Government also have to deal with a current court case, which makes it much harder for us to respond to the consultation until that hearing is complete. Once it is complete, I assure her that we will be happy to meet her and discuss further the Leveson recommendations.