This is the roll call of wrong ‘uns who tried to implement Leveson 2. Fortunately for the freedom of the press, they failed by nine votes.
Abbott, rh Ms Diane
Allin-Khan, Dr Rosena
Bailey, Mr Adrian
Barron, rh Sir Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Benn, rh Hilary
Betts, Mr Clive
Blackford, rh Ian
Where are you moving to, John?
MPs have voted against Ed Miliband’s Leveson 2 amendment by a majority of nine. And…
I understand Labour will not be pushing the section 40 amendment to the Data Protection Bill to a vote, meaning newspapers will not be liable for legal costs in libel actions they win. Big victory for investigative journalism.
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) May 9, 2018
Labour have just confirmed to Guido that the Watson amendment will not go to a vote. They didn’t have the numbers and have bottled it. Victory for the free press.
Ed Miliband, Tom Watson, Max Mosley, Impress, Hugh Grant, John Cleese, Brian Leveson, Gary Lineker, Steve Coogan, Evan Harris… your boys took one hell of a beating (well, just)…
Tonight the Commons votes on Tom Watson and Ed Miliband’s amendments declaring war on press freedom. The amendments are a Trump-style assault on the media, outrageously attempting to force publishers to pay both sides’ legal costs even if they win a dispute – a reform that will potentially bankrupt media companies. Watson and Miliband, backed by former fascist Max Mosley and Hacked Off’s press-hating millionaire celebrities and oligarchs, last night lost the support of the Guardian. In an excoriating statement condemning Watson and Miliband, Guardian News and Media warn the amendments “would further erode press freedom and have a severe chilling effect for the news environment in the UK”. They are particularly damning of Watson:
“The inclusion of Condition A has been widely interpreted as ensuring that news organisations structured along the lines of the Guardian and the Observer should be excluded from the scope of the broader clause. This clause was not discussed with Guardian News & Media and we disagree with attempts to impose a selective sanction on the media.”
These amendments are driven by Watson and Miliband’s personal loathing of the free press, rather than any concern for victims of intrusion. Miliband has semi-retired from his £77,000-a-year job as MP for Doncaster North – he seems to spend most of his time making podcasts and he couldn’t be bothered to turn up for the Syria debate last month. Even the Guardian is horrified by this blatant attempt by Watson and Miliband to undermine the free press in Britain. Any MP who votes for their amendments tonight is an enemy of press freedom…
In a 2014 speech delivered to mark the second anniversary of the Leveson Inquiry, Labour media supremo Tom Watson said:
“We all – every party including my own – need to comply with the Leveson recommendations on the contacts we have with senior journalists, editors and proprietors. There is a lot of talk about the public’s right to know, well given the shabby history, the public has a clear right to know when their elected representatives are mixing with these people and why.
“All parties need to do what the judge asked on that point.”
The Tories have written to Jeremy Corbyn to raise the issue “that the Labour Party has not published any transparency data relating to meetings with proprietors, editors and senior media executives since the last general election.” Transparency details used to appear on the party’s website, listing contact between frontbenchers and the media. Today Guido cannot find any such information. Despite Max Mosley giving £500,000 to Tom Watson to get him to push the Leveson agenda, Labour has broken its very own Leveson pledge…
We do not now know which media moguls and senior editors Jeremy Corbyn has met. Morning Star’s editor will probably be on the list…
Who is behind the John Whittingdale story? For the last two years Natalie Rowe, the prostitute who made the infamous coke and bondage allegations about George Osborne, has been tweeting excitably about Whitto’s relationship with a dominatrix. Her allegations, including the pictures she tweeted of Whitto and his former partner, eventually found their way onto the eccentric Byline website. Yet well before the revelations broke, Rowe had a long phone call with Tom Watson where they discussed “in detail” her story about Whittingdale:
tom_watson Why are you not using your Parliamentary Privilege in relation to John Whittingdale, we spoke in detail on the phone – USE IT
— Natalie Rowe (@RealNatalieRowe) July 11, 2014
Natalie was frustrated with Watson’s apparent failure to get the story going. Conveniently, it eventually ended up on Byline, whose writers Watson is very friendly with. Whitto and Watson of course have history after they sat on the Culture, Media and Sport committee together back during the hacking scandal. Ironic that Watson, a man who previously had a keen interest in keeping his personal life out of the press, was so interested in the private relationships of a political enemy…
UPDATE: Peston is briefed that Watson warned the Sunday People against running the story. So Watson did have behind the scenes discussions with both the source and the press…