POLITICS

Lord Justice Leveson To Be Summoned By Culture Committee

25/06/2013 13:20 BST | Updated 25/06/2013 13:43 BST
AP

Lord Justice Leveson will be summoned to appear before MPs to give evidence on press regulation, the culture, media and sport committee has confirmed.

The committee first asked Leveson to give evidence last year, the day before his report into how the press should be regulated was published, however he did not appear.

His proposals prompted a fierce backlash from many newspapers as well as MPs - who feared the recommendations amounted to state regulation and threatened the freedom of the press.

Following cross-party talks, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg agreed a compromise that would see a new system of regulation overseen by a Royal Charter.

However newspapers are still unhappy with the plan and have published their own rival Royal Charter.

John Whittingdale, the chairman of the CMS committee, said he would "very much like" Leveson to appear before parliament rose for its summer recess in on 18 July - if he is available.

"I think we would like to hear his views on the developments that have taken place since the publication of the report," he said. "As the man authored the report and spent 18-months looking at it and reaching conclusions, we would like to hear his view of what is on the table."

Whittingdale told HuffPost UK that as the two Royal Charters proposed were not part of Leveson's initial report, MPs were keen to see if the judge felt either "delivers the kind of system" he would be happy with.

The veteran Tory MP also said the fact Leveson was a judge should not prevent him from appearing before a parliamentary committee.

"He chaired an inquiry which made recommendations to parliament, it doesn't seem unreasonable that parliament ask him some questions about that," he said.

"If he were sitting a judge delivering a verdict on a case that would be different. That wasn't the case in this instance, he was the chairman of public inquiry."

The culture committee has been heavily involved in the investigation into phone hacking as well as press regulation - including summoning Rupert and James Murdoch to explain what they knew about what went on at the News of the World.