The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

What I think is free speech is very important and if we get any more regulation -- I mean, what are we trying to do in this country? Are we trying to kill the whole country with every bit of legislation and every bit of nonsense? You know, I go to Germany, I put OK! Magazine into Germany. A British company, we go into Hamberg. The Mayor of Hamberg -- we have 30 people working there six years ago -- the Mayor of Hamberg welcomed me in, gives us, the company, 500,000 euros and says, "Welcome to Hamburg", you know. In this country I want to put a new print plant up in Luton. We go to Luton, you know, we have a warehouse, we buy a warehouse in Luton, 11 acres, 12 acres. Luton, as you may know, is on a road called the M1. The first objection is that we may clog up the roads at 2 in the morning by having lorries come out of our printing works. Okay?

Then we go the next objection and just more objection, more objection, more objection. The bottom line is how much more -- at the end of the day, we put our printing plant up and the MPs walk round it on our opening night and I said thank you very much but what have you done to (a) encourage me, to encourage businesses, to encourage anything, to invest in the future the newspapers?

So, I mean, if we think that newspapers are important, which I do, and you do, otherwise you wouldn't be here, you'd be doing other things, we have to be in a situation where people do have opinions and ideas, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, which, to the best of their ability, if you take the case of the McCanns, you know, we did send journalists or reporters or whatever you want to call them to Portugal to get the facts. We did do, you know, everything reasonable, or Mr Hill did everything reasonable to make sure he was getting the facts and getting the stories across.

At the end of the day, the McCanns, you know, as I understood it, although I've never met them, were perfectly -- if we ran it for four months, you know, it took them a long time to get involved in a legal dispute with us. They were quite happy, as I understand, in articles being run about their poor daughter, because it kept it on the front page. I think it was only when new lawyers came along, who I think were working on a contingency, that the legal --

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