Get involved: send your pictures and news by texting Hillingdon Times to 80360, or email us
Newspaper regulation bid 'rejected'
The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh says reports that plans for a new system of press regulation have been rejected by senior ministers are "not a shock"
Plans drawn up by the newspaper industry for a new system of press regulation have been rejected by a committee of senior ministers, it has been reported.
BBC2's Newsnight said that a sub-committee of the Privy Council, set up to examine the industry's proposed royal charter, has come out against it.
In a separate report, the Guardian said coalition ministers were working to prevent Wednesday's meeting of the full Privy Council - which is expected to consider the sub-committee's findings - turning into a final rejection of the industry plan.
The paper said efforts were being made to find a compromise around the industry's proposed charter and the the original charter backed by the three main political parties.
The news that the sub-committee had rejected the industry's plan was greeted with dismay - although little surprise - by one senior figure in the industry.
Trevor Kavanagh, the associate editor of the Sun, told Newsnight: " It is not a shock. It's what we'd been given fairly clear clues would happen. I think it has to be seen as a great victory for the forces of oppression of a free press - Hacked Off in particular - and the politicians who went along for the ride."
Hacked Off, the lobby group which has campaigned for tighter press regulation, welcomed the reports of the sub-committee's decision but expressed concern at the prospect of further delay.
"We are alarmed to hear that the Prime Minister now seems prepared to risk the breakdown of the cross-party agreement by once again delaying the approval of the Leveson royal charter," it said in a statement .
"Ten months after the publication of the Leveson report and seven months after all parties in Parliament endorsed its recommendations in a royal charter, there can be no legitimate excuse for yet another delay."
The industry submitted its proposals after arguing that a royal charter agreed by the parties in response to the Leveson report on press standards was too restrictive.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the sub-committee was continuing to consider the industry's proposals.
"There is no deadline or timetable for those considerations. They will continue until they reach a decision," the spokesman said.
Hacked Off executive director Brian Cathcart said the industry plan had been a "delaying manoeuvre" by the big national newspapers.
"The problem with the papers is that they do not want to deal fairly with complaints," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
Chris Blackhurst, group content editor of The Independent and its sister titles, told the programme that either charter would "cost all newspapers a lot more money".
"It's well known that the newspaper industry is in trouble," he added.
"Unfortunately, what's happened is that all the positions are completely polarised and that's also true of Hacked Off, it's true of the politicians, it's true of the press, and we are all in our trenches and we are all chucking grenades at each other and we are not really very far apart."
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, speaking on BBC Breakfast, said: "It is coming to a head now and I am the co-chair of the committee of the Privy Council that is considering this matter.
"We are still considering the final details of our recommendation to the Privy Council. There is a proper due process around this and, if you don't mind, I am going to stick to that due process.
"Our decision will be made public once it is made and will go to the Privy Council in the normal way.
"I am not going to comment in any way beyond that."
Asked if there was a timetable, he said: "The Privy Council meets tomorrow, we had a meeting of our committee yesterday. There are a few remaining Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed following that discussion, so no final decision has been made.
"But even when it is, we have a proper due process to follow and that doesn't include sharing our deliberations with you."