08/03/2012 07:50 GMT | Updated 08/03/2012 08:03 GMT

Press Complaints Commission To Close Down And Move To New Body

The Press Complaints Commission is to close down, the regulator has revealed. The media watchdog is to “move to a new body” after being labeled toothless in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

The PCC confirmed in a statement it had "agreed to move" - which includes transferring staff, assets and liabilities.

The regulator's head, Lord Hunt, had previously said that the PCC would move in order to create a new body with "teeth".

In February, Hunt told Sky News: "I accept that challenge and in fact last week the Press Complaints Commission met and agreed that we would in principle move now to a new body, for the first time a press regulator with teeth. So we're very much now on the front foot and listening to all sides and determined to bring forward the sort of independent self-regulatory structure that everyone will approve of.”

The Independent reports the PCC's closure has been fast-tracked so a new structure would be in place before Lord Justice Leveson reports on his inquiry into the press.

In July, then PCC head Baroness Buscome announced her intention to stand down after the body was heavily criticised.

In a statement she said the public needed the PCC to continue. She called for tougher powers to police press misconduct and defended her organisation, saying it needed increased powers but should not be shut down.

"First, the public rightly demands stronger powers for dealing with the misconduct of the press. They must get them.

"Second, the public needs the existing work of the PCC to continue and be built upon. I have worked as Chairman to ensure that we give real help (both before and after publication) to members of the public, who otherwise would have no one to turn to. The staff of the PCC are unsurpassed in terms of the effort and intelligence they bring to their work."

Both Buscombe and the PCC had been criticised by politicians, with Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg calling the organisation "toothless". David Cameron said the PCC was unfit for purpose.

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