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

It shifted. The public mood at the time Calcutt 2 was published, saying self-regulation hadn't worked and we needed to change it -- the public mood at the time, so far as I recall, it was very supportive. Indeed, I remember even a couple of years later getting memos from my then press secretary saying if we were robust, there's a big public opinion out there that would support us. So I think public opinion was supportive.

By the time we went out to consultation on the tort, public opinion was beginning to shift and the responses to the consultation document put out by the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Scotland, I believe, on the tort produced a response that was very mixed. And yet you would have thought the tort was the thing of most interest to the public at large, and yet they split almost in three ways in terms of being in favour of it or not in favour of it.

Now, whether that was simply that press malpractice wasn't at the forefront of their mind at the time, whether it was because by then they were reading in the press of the perils and evils of what the government proposed to do or whether they had sat back and reflected and thought, "Well, I don't think this is a route down which we should go", I cannot know, but I do know that the public mood had changed between 1992/3 and 1995/6, to a much more equable position than had been the case the moment Calcutt was published.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech