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

Yes, I do. If you have too close a relationship -- well, let me firstly enter a caveat. There are genuine friendships between some politicians and some journalists. I can think of a number of journalists whom I would regard as friends and still do. But I think there is a danger with the artificial friendship that is struck up because of the mutuality of interest, when the politician wants good coverage and the press want inside stories, and I think you do see too much of that, and you see it manifested with stories in the media that are obviously leaks from within government. Often they're quite malicious. Often they're focused on denigration of another particular politician, more often than not in the same party, and I think that does damage politics.

Things are regarded as huge splits within government when in fact they are the perfectly proper examination of policy between ministers in terms of reaching a position. It is a fallacy to believe in any political party that there is one strand of thought. My own party, the Conservative Party, is an amalgam of different strands. We have a right wing, we have a left wing, we have a centre. They are all equally Conservative, but they are different sorts of Conservative, and in determining policy, they will pitch in with different ideas.

When someone starts leaking those private determination of policy, it's easily presented as a split. It's a scoop. There is a disagreement in government between the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary. Well, of course. You put an average Cabinet size, 20 intelligent people together, they're going to have different views. No point in having 21 if they all think exactly the same way. And I think that perversion, that close relationship, whisks those private discussions out in public, and worse, offers the opportunity for those seeking favour of the press -- offers them the opportunity to offer inside stories to the detriment either of their colleagues or of other political parties.

We have seen a lot of that over the last -- over the period I've been in Parliament.

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