I thank all noble Lords who have spoken and for supporting this amendment, and I should just say that I do not enjoy ping-pong. The amendment returned from the Commons was defeated by only nine votes and I have endeavoured to address the concerns raised in the three adjustments that I have made to the amendment. I want to make a couple of brief comments about those.
First, the amendment addresses the DUP’s proper and reasonable concerns in a transparent way by offering a proper inquiry into press conduct in Northern Ireland. Secondly, I have made an adjustment to exclude the local press from the scope of the inquiry altogether. Thirdly, in response to misrepresentations in some parts of the media, I have added a requirement for the inquiry’s recommendations to take full account of the need for freedom of the press to achieve a vibrant and independent media, and the importance of the independence of the press from Government.
Holding an inquiry will not restrict freedom; rather, it will support it by shining a spotlight on what has been done illegally and unethically to the detriment of hundreds of ordinary people, including my daughter and my family before I became a Member of your Lordships’ House. As explained by my noble friend Lord Kerslake regarding his findings after the Manchester Arena bombing, there is no evidence that enough lessons have been learned by all sections of the media or that there is adequate accountability. I do not consider that the review by the Information Commissioner is in any way a substitute for completing the inquiry. The job has not been done, and with respect to IPSO, I believe I am right in saying that so far only around 12 of more than 90 of Sir Brian Leveson’s recommendations have been implemented. In formally moving my amendment, I wish to test the opinion of the House.
Ayes 252, Noes 213.