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MPs agree press regulation measures.

Summary: A cross-party deal on press regulation has been cemented in the Commons.

A cross-party deal on press regulation was cemented in the Commons as MPs passed measures which could see judges award punitive damages against publications which refuse to sign up to a new watchdog.

The measures, recommended by Lord Justice Leveson in his report on press standards, are intended as an incentive for publishers to co-operate with the new regulator.

Under the deal thrashed out by David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the regulator will be recognised by a body established by royal charter.

With the leadership of the three main parties signed up to the plan, the exemplary damages provision was last night comfortably passed by 530 votes to 13, majority 517.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller told the Commons the exemplary damages plan, contained in amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill, was a crucial part of Lord Justice Leveson's reforms.

Together with a clause added by peers to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the measures represent the legislative arm of the Leveson settlement.

Ms Miller said: "I believe the package in front of us today provides real incentives with real effect. They are a crucial part of Lord Justice Leveson's proposals and part of the tough new regime for press regulation."

For publishers which are not part of the regulator, courts will presume the award of costs against them in the event of a court case if a complaint could have been resolved through arbitration.

The amendments define publishers as people who produce news-related material, produced by multiple authors and under editorial control.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Mar 19, 2013
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