Kent MPs oppose statutory Press regulation ahead of Leveson report
Press freedom could be
curtailed by statutory legislation
Five Kent MPs have put their names to a letter opposing the
threat of statutory regulation of the Press.
The letter to the Guardian and Telegraph, signed by more than 80
MPs and peers, comes the day before Lord Justice Leveson delivers
his report into the culture and ethics of the industry.
The Leveson Inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron
in July last year following the phone hacking scandal that led
to the closure of the News of the World.
The report is widely expected to recommend some form of
statutory regulation of the Press, despite fears this will
represent a threat to free speech.
The five Conservative Kent MPs who have signed the letter are
Julian Brazier (Canterbury); Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe);
Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford); Gordon Henderson
(Sittingbourne and Sheppey) and Mark Reckless (Rochester and
It states: "As parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and
are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control.
"No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible
without the imposition of state licensing - abolished in Britain in
"State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and
would radically alter the balance of our unwritten
The signatories, including eight former cabinet ministers and
London Olympics chairman Lord Coe, call for a tougher system of
self-regulation as an alternative to a statutory regime.
The Prime Minster will receive a copy of the Leveson report
today and it will be made public tomorrow afternoon.
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