Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Local Newspapers — [Mrs. Janet Dean in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:40 pm on 13th January 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 3:40 pm, 13th January 2010

I am afraid that I cannot take any more interventions, even from one of our most eminent independent Members. [Interruption.] Or is it UKIP? I cannot remember. The Government allowed local councils to cover issues that were not their core responsibility. Mr. Foster, in a typically polite Liberal Democrat fashion, gave the impression that the Government are on top of the issue. In fact, they announced a review of the code in December 2008, and the consultation closed in March 2009. We were promised the Government's response in December 2009 and then on 7 January, but it still has not appeared. The Government are dithering, and we cannot go on like this; they must come out and say what they are going to do. We do not support independently-funded news consortiums, as that is the Government simply recreating the old analogue system of regional news that nobody wants anymore, particularly in this internet age, nor do we support the Government's proposals to top-slice and undermine the independence of the BBC. We will protect the BBC from the Government, and work day and night to protect its independence from people such as the Minister.

What do we intend to do? Many Tory councils are already leading the way. Lancashire Tory council has closed down its newspaper. The hon. Member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush will, of course, want to praise Mayor Boris Johnson for closing down The Londoner, as he wrote all the time to Ken Livingstone to tell him that he was wasting £3 million of council tax payers' money.