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

I would like to conclude on a very specific point that is absolutely, in our view, fundamental to freedom of expression in the UK, and I said it -- I alluded it to it in my seminar presentation but I want very much -- and I said it this morning in the Times -- to exhort you and the Inquiry to make it clear, where clarity is required, because the decisions are being taken in coming weeks, that libel -- substantive reform of libel through the final defamation bill should not be held up pending resolution of all the many issues that you are wrestling with. You will be reporting in the autumn. Where there are measures that need to follow, that will take another many months, and if libel, which is there -- it's pretty much there. Pretty much consensus has been reached through the joint committee of the Lords in Commons on the substantive issue. It's ready on the stocks. It's a fast bill. We've had prelegislative scrutiny and I think it would be a tragedy if inadvertently, of course, this -- the ongoing work of this Inquiry delayed the insertion of libel into the Queen's speech in May.

So anything you might wish to say or do now or at an appropriate point, we would be very grateful on that score.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech