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

Oh, absolutely. That's exactly -- I understand that completely, and I'm just saying that that's exactly what people would have done with this House of Lords bill that's been around for years.

So leave that on one side. That's exactly the danger. He's absolutely right. That is what would happen, and that is why, for example, when I argued that the press should be exempt from the Human Rights Act, I didn't press it to a division or anything -- because I knew I'd lose. There's no way I would have got that through, but I wanted to raise the point in order to try and get something going.

So if that is what I might call a narrow, minor bill, David Hunt is right. If the government was faced with a much bigger and more serious one, I'm also pretty sure what would happen there. First of all, they would be absolutely -- nobody would touch it this side of an election. Absolutely sure of that. The government wouldn't do anything. I'm no member of government, but I don't think they would touch it this side of an election, because the danger would be that whatever the government says, the press would be against it, the opposition of the day -- and this is not a party point because it could be the other way around if the election went the other way. The opposition would say, "The government is absolutely right to tackle the abuses of the press. Unfortunately, they've done it the wrong way." And there would be a massive parliamentary debate which would get out of control very quickly, in my view, and as many years as a business manager in both houses, I would be very reluctant to advise a government to bring in a bill to take statutory control of the press.

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