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

It would be very difficult for me to dissent from the words that I actually used. The press has been not subject to statutory interference, to choose a word at random, since 1695. The first time it happens, it's going to be a very significant event, and the government -- any government is going to have to know absolutely that that is what it wants to do at that time, and we were certainly giving ourselves time to allow both -- the proceedings on Mr Soley's bill, which were due to start at the end of January, and also for the National Heritage Select Committee to make their report, which actually gave us something of a breathing space for further consideration. But you're quite right, we were very firm at the beginning, not least because if we had not been very firm, all sorts of questions would have been asked of us in the intervening period before we were ready to report.

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