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Ex-MP issues warning over press regulation.

A FORMER Merseyside MP warned introducing a new Parliamentary bill to regulate newspapers would "open a Pandora's box" which could stifle freedom of speech.

Lord Hunt of Wirral, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), told the Leveson Inquiry many MPs and lords have told him they would try to use any legislation to control the press.

The ex-Tory MP for Wirral West said his 35 years in Parliament had taught him to oppose any form of statutory regulation of newspapers.

He told the hearing: "There are very strong views in Parliament that there must be stronger limits on the power of the press and this would therefore, in my mind, open a Pandora's box.

"It would be, for many of my colleagues in Parliament, a wonderful moment if they were given the opportunity to move amendments to debate a Bill regulating the press and I just do not know what would emerge the other side.

"The road to Parliamentary hell is paved with good intentions."

Lord Hunt proposed turning the PCC into a true regulator of newspapers with separate arms for dealing with complaints and enforcing standards.

He said publishers would have to sign up to the new body on a five-year rolling contract.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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