30/01/2012 12:29 GMT | Updated 30/01/2012 12:34 GMT

Max Clifford: Newspapers Supressing Public Interest Stories

Public interest stories have been suppressed in the last six months because of the Leveson inquiry into media standards, PR guru Max Clifford has said.

Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee on privacy and injunctions, Clifford told MPs and peers that newspaper editors were "far more cautious" about all stories, adding "there definitely has been a change."

"Leveson has made a difference", he said. "I'm aware of many, many stories which would have made the tabloid front pages in the last six months that haven't been anywhere.

Asked by Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi if he believed that included public interest stories, Clifford said "yes."

Phil Hall, the former editor of the News of the World, giving evidence alongside Clifford, said papers were now "following live news stories rather than digging out their own."

Clifford also said he had never known the PCC to "help" anybody. Citing Robert Murat, the man falsely accused of kidnapping Madeleine McCann, Clifford said the press had printed "a load of lies" to sell papers.

"The Press Complaints Commission was nowhere to be seen," he claimed. "They're not independent."

"If one good thing comes out of all of this, it is if we have a press complaints body, truly independent, that is there for the British public... before anybody destroys them in the papers," Clifford added.