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

Can we seek to set the background in this way: that the first Calcutt report was dated June 1990, which was four or five months before you became Prime Minister, and as you say, it recommended that the Press Council be replaced by the PCC but there be an 18-month period to demonstrate that non-statutory and self-regulation could be made to work effectively. The PCC was set up on 1 January 1991 and Calcutt 2 reported in January 1993.

Can I go then to paragraph 76, which is Calcutt 2, and the overall assessment was that it was not an effective regulator of the press, it did not hold the balance fairly between the press and the individual, et cetera. It was a damning assessment of the PCC with which you agreed.

To what extent, though, Sir John, was this an issue which you left with your responsible Secretary of State, who was then the Secretary of State for national heritage, and to what extent did you, as it were, acquire direct ownership of the issue?

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