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Government on back foot over Leveson Part 2

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Posted by Statement from Hacked Off

Thank you to the 3000 of you who wrote to your MP over the weekend inresponseto Hillsborough families campaigner Margaret Aspinall’s request, asking them to supportthe cross-party amendment calling on the Government to begin a “Leveson 2" inquiry into the relationship between the press and the police.After your emails, a number ofMPs turned up to speak in favour of Leveson Part 2, in support ofAndy Burnham MP (who tabled the amendment).

During the debate see: MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP asked the Government to re-commit that Leveson Part 2 will take place when the remaining prosecutions and appeals are completed and these questions forced the Government onto the back foot.  

The Minister was unable to respond to MPs’ arguments that this promise had been made by the Prime Minister. He claimed the matter “is way above my pay grade”, and could only repeat the Government’s line from six months ago.  The Minister also tied himself in knots saying “I am categorically not saying that it is not going to happen, but no decision will be made until after the criminal investigations”, and when supportive MPs pointed out the Government’s two conflicting positions, all the Minister could say was that “There is no weakening and no change."   

There is no doubt that this debate will have been embarrassing for the Government and its decision to reject this amendment was the clearest sign yet that David Cameron is prepared to break his promises to victims.   

Andy Burnham pressed the amendment to a vote where the Government had its anticipated majority. All of Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid and independent MPs voted for it (whilst the SNP did not vote as the bill was an England and Wales one only).   

Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group who was in Parliament for the vote said: “It feels like Parliament is already forgetting the lessons of Hillsborough. No other family should ever have to go through what we went through. It is shameful what happened today."   

The good news is that there will be many more opportunities to force the issue of Leveson 2 over the coming months, and the Government now know that they have a fight on their hands to drop it.  We will continue to work with our supporters in Parliament, and we will be in touch again shortly with the next steps.  

Thank you again for your continued support.

DATELINE: 15 June, 2016


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