Matt Hancock mouthing the words written for him by the right-wing press barons (in the opinion of Tom Watson).

The Conservative government – possibly on the orders of the right-wing press barons – has ordered that part two of the Leveson Inquiry into the activities of the press should not take place.

Making a statement to this effect in Parliament, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, tried to create the impression that the chairman of the inquiry, Sir Brian Leveson, approved of the decision, saying, “Sir Brian… agrees that the inquiry should not proceed under the current terms of reference but believes that it should continue in an amended form.” This is a lie.

In a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd and former DCMS Secretary Karen Bradley in January, Sir Brian stated: “I fundamentally disagree with that conclusion.”

He wanted part two of his inquiry to commence as soon as possible.

Pressure group Hacked Off has been making this clear on Twitter:

So why have the Tories dropped it?

Firstly, it means scrutiny of the workings of IPSO, the new press regulator, will not happen. Many people are uncomfortable with IPSO, and the impression is that it allows the press far more freedom than it should receive. It is entirely possible that this has worked in the favour of the Conservative Party, considering the amount of negative and nonsense press devoted to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party since IPSO was set up. This Writer is about to send a complaint to IPSO, so we will see for ourselves very soon if this is true.

Secondly, there is the question of the influence of the right-wing press barons, under whose control the illegal behaviour took place, about which the inquiry was set up in the first place.

In his response to Mr Hancock, Labour’s Tom Watson said: “When every Conservative MP who was then in Parliament backed this policy, including the current Prime Minister and the present Secretary of State, they did not really mean it. They were waiting for the wind to change and for the fuss to die down. They were waiting for a time when they could, as quietly as possible, break their promises, and today that time has finally come.

“We already knew what the Conservatives really thought, when successive Secretaries of State refused to implement section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, the part of the Leveson system that would provide access to justice for ordinary citizens while offering protection to journalists and newspapers that signed up to any Leveson-compliant self-regulatory body. The papers, absurdly, caricatured it as state regulation, and pointed instead to the independence of their alternative, non-Leveson-compliant regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation. The Government were too scared to make the case for their own policy, and finally, today, they are formally capitulating.

“The Government are also capitulating on the question of whether to complete the investigation into how phone hacking happened and what is happening now.

“Here are some of the things that Leveson 2 was supposed to investigate: to inquire into the extent of illegality at News International; to inquire into the way the police investigated allegations relating to News International and other newspaper groups; to inquire into whether the police received corrupt payments and were complicit in suppressing the proper investigation of complaints; and to inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other organisations. None of those questions has been answered, and by betraying the victims of phone hacking in this statement today, the Secretary of State is trying to ensure that they never will be.

“The last thing the Murdoch empire, the Rothermere empire, the Barclay brothers’ empire or the Mirror Group wanted was an inquiry into their dirty laundry, with powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 to obtain documents and compel witnesses to appear in public. The last thing any of the newspapers wanted was more attention being paid to their methods at a time when it may well be revealed very soon that other papers, not necessarily the ones at the centre of the scandal in 2011, were also involved in criminality.

“They have been lobbying hard for today’s outcome. They will give the Secretary of State—a man who enjoys favourable headlines—plaudits in tomorrow’s leader columns. We already know that Paul Dacre, Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay brothers approve of his statement—after all, they helped to write it.”

So today’s decision is a victory for the gentlemen named directly above: No inquiry into possible illegal activities in their newspapers, no access to justice for their potential victims, and a gross lie that Sir Brian Leveson supports the decision. This is as corrupt a decision as you will ever hear about – from any government.

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