Historic moment

The three main political parties will not shirk their responsibilities under the Leveson Report, hopes Dominic Crossley

Dominic Crossley
Dominic Crossley

The phoney war has almost run its course. Thank God.

Today my clients in the inquiry – the 50 or so Core Participant Victims (CPVs) – and I will finally read the feverishly anticipated Leveson Report. Within it will be Lord Justice Leveson’s analysis of nine months of evidence and recommendations for the future of newspaper regulation.

It is likely to be a substantial document. We have two hours and 30 minutes’ advanced reading in locked-in conditions and will give our initial response as soon as the embargo is lifted.

For the CPVs it is the end of a 15-month process. What do they want? They want a better, more responsible press. They have put their trust in the judge to find a way of achieving this outcome just as the Government did when the scandal reached a boiling point in 2011.

Well, by about 1:45 pm Leveson LJ will have done his job and it is back in the hands of the Government to implement the recommendations. It is perhaps curious that the baton is passed to the Government given the evidence of the toxic relationship between press and politicians heard during the inquiry.

Having met the three main party leaders last week, I am confident that they will not shirk their responsibilities. They have to ignore the cynical manoeuvring from the media lobby and distorted newspaper editorials. The newspapers want to continue to self-regulate and you can see why, given how excruciatingly painful they have found external scrutiny during the inquiry.

Unfortunately for the newspapers Leveson LJ is taking into account factors other than newspapers self-interest, and importantly the victims.

I think we are approaching an historic moment. Investigations into the press have been taking place for over half a century. Not only has the press been given too many chances, it has successfully lobbied to be given ever greater latitude and cultured establishment relationships that rendered it beyond reproach.

I hope that Leveson LJ will give this Government a unique opportunity to finally introduce effective and independent regulation. It is an opportunity they must take.

Dominic Crossley is a partner at Collyer Bristow