A senior Labour source said: “After five and a half hours of talks in Ed Miliband’s office which ended at 2.30am, we are confident we have the basis of an agreement around our royal charter entrenched in statute.” reports The Guardian.
Campaign group Hacked Off signaled it was also likely to back the deal. Dr Evan Harris, the former Liberal Democrat MP and Hacked Off associate director, said “The fact there is all-party agreement means the press are much more likely to fulfil their side of what they have to do – which is to set up a recognised regulator and then to join it – but there is still matters of detail to sort out,” he said, adding: “The victims are prepared to accept this compromise. However … we’re not saying it is Leveson, but it is near Leveson.
“The victims are very clear that those outstanding matters of detail – which are not on the charter but on the legislation surrounding the incentives mainly – is just as important to them than any detail in the charter.”
It appears that Labour has conceded on the ownership of the press code committee and on the idea of a general purpose clause that would allow the recognition committee to rule that the regulator had failed.
The Conservatives have accepted the newspaper industry cannot have a veto over membership of the regulator and that apologies can be directed by the regulator rather than just required – seen by lawyers as a substantive difference.
Maria Miller, the culture secretary, insisted there was a clear acceptance by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. She said: “We will not have this extreme force of press law that we would had otherwise. The clause will sit alongside the charter. It is a no-change clause; there is no statutory underpinning. It is simply stating there can be no change in the future. That is already incorporated in the charter.”