It could not be a great matter of state without the LibDems sitting on the fence. Yesterday they briefed the FT:
“In spite of the party’s liberal heritage, Mr Clegg’s team say the vast majority of Lib Dem MPs would support Leveson if he says that independent regulation must be underpinned by law to make it fully effective.”
However this morning team Clegg is in full reverse ferret mode:
I understand Nick Clegg believes State/statutory regulation of the press is "not necessarily the answer" #leveson
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) November 28, 2012
Overnight it emerged that the Burns/Blunkett letter had cross party support, also Ming and Hughes have been making plenty of noise on the issue. Interestingly the party’s leader in waiting, who is not a man adverse to regulating, has been rather quiet. The last time Vince Cable said anything interesting about press regulation was when he had been at the sharp end of a sting. After his complaint about the secret ‘war on Murdoch’ recording by Heidi Blake, then of the Telegraph, was upheld by the PCC, Vince said:
“I’m delighted with the findings which fully vindicates the complaints I and my colleagues made to the PCC. It’s very rare the commission comes down so clearly and we are very pleased with the outcome. It was important this was established by an independent, respected and reputable body.”
Will Cable and the rest of the LibDems be voting to keep regulation “independent” or will their Murdoch phobia overcome their liberal anti-statist, pro-freedom traditions?