Dowlers 'disappointed' Leveson recommendations may not go through

Bob and Sally Dowler giving evidence at Leveson
Image caption Bob and Sally Dowler gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry

The parents of Milly Dowler say they are "disappointed" that the Leveson report's recommendations on press regulation may not be taken forward.

Bob and Sally Dowler said the proposals aimed to prevent "the sort of abuses that we and so many others suffered".

MPs will vote on Monday on rival plans for press regulation - one by royal charter but without legal backing.

The News of the World was closed shortly after it was found the murdered schoolgirl's phone had been hacked.

In a statement, the Dowlers said: "Given the considerable investment of time and money in the Leveson Inquiry, we are very disappointed to learn that Lord Justice Leveson's proposals may not now be taken forward if the politicians choose to ignore the recommendations... that were aimed at preventing the sort of abuses that we and so many others suffered."

Press freedom

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - along with Labour - have unveiled separate plans for press regulation after cross-party talks broke down last week.

Both sides have now adopted the idea of a royal charter - a formal document used to set up bodies such as universities and the BBC - but there are key differences between the two plans.

Mr Cameron is opposed to enshrining the royal charter in law, saying it will harm press freedom. Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband say the rules will lack teeth without it.

The prime minister said on Saturday he was "delighted" with the "real progress" that had been made between the rival parties over their plans.

He said: "I made my move last week to try and unblock the log jam and that seems to be what has happened.

"The other two parties are now in favour of a royal charter - that's good news. They've dropped many of their previous unworkable demands - that's good news.

"They don't want to have some all-singing Leveson law, which I think would have been bad for our country - that's good news.

"So I think we're in a much better place and I'm confident about the future."

The Leveson Inquiry was set up by Mr Cameron to examine the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.


Its 2,000-page report, published in November, found press behaviour was "outrageous" and "wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people".

It recommended that the press should set up a tough new independent regulator, and that the system should be underpinned by legislation to ensure the system was effective.

The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, who also represents other hacking victims, said self-regulation of the press had "failed abysmally", as shown by the arrest of Press Complaints Commission (PCC) member and former editor of the Sunday Mirror Tina Weaver this week.

He said: "The same week that a serving member of the discredited PCC, which cleared the News of the World of phone hacking, has been arrested it is plain for all to see how self-regulation failed abysmally.

"Politicians should not peddle the lie that implementing Leveson would restrict press freedom.

"We do not have press freedom - certain parts of the press have abused their privilege without taking responsibility."

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