Thank you for contacting me about Leveson Part 2.
Firstly, it is worth reaffirming that free speech and freedom of the press absolutely underpins our democracy. For this reason, the Government does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish – and nor should it – as long as the press abides by the law.
But alongside this comes a clear responsibility for the media to report stories truthfully, and not to break the law in attaining stories. This is why the Leveson Inquiry was initially set up in response to the phone-hacking scandal by the Conservative-led Coalition in 2011.
The Inquiry was split into two parts. Part 1 of the Inquiry contained 92 recommendations, the vast majority of which have been acted upon and are being delivered. Part 2 of the Inquiry – which has not yet begun – would further examine wrongdoing in the press and the police.
Currently, the Government is consulting on whether it is still appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest for Part 2 to be undertaken. It has taken into consideration the cost posed to the taxpayer, but also the fact that the landscape has changed significantly since 2011. There have been three police investigations into payment-for-information charges, and the Metropolitan Police have introduced new policies on whistleblowing, gifts and hospitality, and media relations in general.
Ministers are seeking the views of the public and interested parties, including those who have been the victims of press abuse, through a public consultation which will run until January 10. The Government will also consult Sir Brian Leveson on the question of Part 2 at the appropriate time, in his role as Inquiry Chair. I would encourage you to read the consultation document, and contribute.