UK Politics

Signals over press regulation

Government sources insist that a decision to reject the press's proposals for regulation have not formally been taken yet, although they confirm that ministers do look set to reject them later today.

The decision will be taken by 4 Tory and 2 Lib Dem ministers meeting as a sub-committee of the Privy Council - the body which advises the Queen on whether to grant a Royal Charter to a new press regulator.

The Lib Dems have always wanted to reject the press proposals on the grounds that the regulator they propose would not be sufficiently independent of newspapers. The Conservatives have also criticised the press plan but are anxious to win the support of the press for any new plan if possible.

A government source told me: "We want workable press regulation which must not be seen as punishment for the press. Lord Leveson made clear that regulation needed the support of both the public and the press."

The formal decision of the Privy Council will be announced on Wednesday. However, a decision on an alternative model of regulation will now not be made until 30 October.

Ministers are signalling that they will amend their proposals eg the arbitration process - to make them more acceptable to the newspaper industry.