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Society and Culture Society and Culture

Not proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry

Last updated: 11:05am 9 October 2018

Given the comprehensive nature of the first stage of the Leveson Inquiry and given the lengthy investigations by the police and Crown Prosecution Service into alleged wrongdoing, we will not proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.80

Our verdict

The Leveson Inquiry began in 2011 and looked at the ethics, culture and practices of the press following the revelation that employees at the News of the World newspaper had been involved in phone hacking.

The first part of the inquiry concluded in 2012, with a promise that a second part would look at the relationship between journalists and the police. But the second part never started. This policy is a pledge to officially abandon plans to proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry.

Speaking in March 2018, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, said that “since it was set up, the terms of reference for a Part 2 of the Inquiry have largely been met”. He also said due to the cost, how time-consuming it would be, falling physical newspaper sales and lack of popular support for a second part, the government would be “formally closing the Inquiry”.

The Inquiry’s chair, Sir Brian Leveson, had already written to the Home Secretary and Matt Hancock after the government announced it did not see a need for the second part of the inquiry. He was forthright in his opinion:

“As I explained when we met, I fundamentally disagree with that conclusion”.

When it was put to Parliament, twice, in May 2018, MPs voted against reopening the Leveson Inquiry, 301 votes to 289. The government did make some concessions, including widening the scope of a review of newspaper compliance with data protection rules, after the House of Lords had voted to reopen the Inquiry. But the second Commons vote against reopening the Inquiry is legally binding, so we’re marking this policy as ‘done’.

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