14 June 2012. The Prime Minister David Cameron while giving evidence under oath at the Royal Courts of Justice said the close relationship between newspapers and politicians had prevented the regulation of the industry being reviewed.
“There have been issues for years. But I think in the last 20 years, I think the relationship has not been right. I think it has been too close, as I explain in my evidence, and I think we need to try and get it on a better footing.
“One of my arguments is that because the relationship hasn’t been right, because it has been too close, as I put it, the politicians and the press haven’t spent enough time discussing and sorting out the regulatory system under which the press exist,” the Prime Minister said.
“If we just steamed ahead and said, ‘Right, we’re going to regulate it in this way or that way’, I think the press would have a legitimate argument to say, ‘Hold on a second, you’re beneficiaries of this and we need some independence’.”
The inquiry was set up following revelations of phone-hacking at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid. The scandal has shaken the British establishment and raised questions about whether top politicians helped shield Murdoch from scrutiny.
Relations with Rupert Murdoch’s empire have been problematic for Cameron. The Prime Minister has faced criticism for the way his government handled Murdoch’s bid for control of British Sky Broadcasting. His hiring of the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications chief has been on the spotlight. Coulson has since been charged in the phone-hacking scandal. His friendship with Rebekah Brooks also has come under scrutiny. She has also been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Her husband who was an old Etonian schoolmate of Cameron was also charged on one count.
The text, sent by Mrs Brooks at 4:45pm on 7 October 2009 on the eve of Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference before he became the Prime Minister, had put him in a difficult position. The message said ‘I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a proud friend but because professionally we’re definitely in this together! Speech of your life! Yes he Cam!’
Cameron’s appearance comes amid a rift opening in the coalition government over a parliamentary vote on Wednesday over whether to investigate the culture minister’s links to News Corp. The premier has refused to open a probe into whether Jeremy Hunt broke ministerial rules when he was responsible for deciding whether the BSkyB deal would go ahead.
Here is a short video of the Prime minister giving evidence.
This 40 minutes long video shows the first 40 minutes of the Prime Minister’s evidence to Leveson Inquiry as broadcast by BBC – David Cameron at Leveson – PM giving evidence to Leveson Inquiry (first 40 minutes) NEWS 14/06/2012
Previous posts: UK: Rebekah Brooks involved in phone hacking case was bailed by UK court; UK: James Murdoch at Leveson Inquiry; UK: Sun’s Royal Editor held in corruption probe; UK: Five arrested over corruption; UK: The Sun bribery – 8 arrested