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I wouldn’t be surprised if the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary simply printed a photograph of Theresa May as its definition of the word “corruption”.

She wants to end attempts to hold the press accountable for their actions – in order to make it possible for the right-wing, Tory-supporting media to continue with such activities as the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone, the disruption of a murder investigation, and the moment they gave false hope to a grieving mother.

These are all recent examples of behaviour the Leveson Inquiry was intended to end. But Leveson isn’t over, and the Conservatives announced in March that it never would be – they were scrapping the second stage of the inquiry.

The decision provoked a furious backlash from people who have been harmed by press misbehaviour, and former Labour leader Ed Miliband tabled an amendment to the Data Protection Bill to establish a new statutory inquiry into the media.

A second amendment, tabled by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, would have seen publishers not signed up to a state-supported regulator pay their own and their opponent’s legal costs in data protection cases, even if they win.

But the government won yesterday’s vote by 304 votes to 295, a majority of nine, after apparently making concessions to the Democratic Unionist party (DUP). One Labour MP, John Grogan, voted with the government, while up to 18 more appeared to have stayed away.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock had the cheek to hail the result as “a great day for a free and fair press”.

Mrs May wants the press to be self-regulating, making corrupt decisions in favour of the news media all-too-easy to arrange.

That is why she wanted MPs to vote against the Labour proposals.

She told senior ministers at cabinet that plans put forward by opposition MPs would “undermine” the free press and unjustly see papers forking out crippling sums of money even if they do not lose legal cases.

Clearly she would rather force the people who have been wronged by the press to pay such crippling sums – making legal action impossible for the poor.

Mrs May has once again demonstrated where her own loyalties lie:

Not with justice, but with those who are both wealthy – and corrupt.


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