Coffee House

Lib Dems seek alternative Leveson statement slot

28 November 2012

As teams in secure rooms in Downing Street pore over the half dozen copies of the Leveson report, which arrived this morning, the Liberal Democrats are already starting to work out what they’ll need to do if David Cameron and Nick Clegg find they cannot agree on the government’s response. The Lib Dems have approached the Speaker to find out whether there is a possibility that Nick Clegg could give his own separate statement following Cameron’s own response in the Commons tomorrow afternoon. Sources say they hope that this is an unlikely scenario, but add that ‘he would like to be able to make his position clear in Parliament’ if he does take a different stance.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband kept his Leveson powder well and truly dry for PMQs today, simply telling the Chamber that he hoped the parties would be able to work together on the next step for the press. Instead, the pressure came from members of David Cameron’s own party, with Tory MPs asking a series of questions about the press. But Cameron was careful not to give anything away, repeating his previous sentiments by telling Henry Smith that ‘the status quo I would argue does not just need updating, the status quo is unacceptable and needs to change’.

One interesting point to note is that for all the warm words from the PM in the Chamber about cross-party co-operation on Leveson, his spokesman told journalists after PMQs that he did not expect Cameron to ‘hold extensive talks’ with Ed Miliband before giving his statement to the House. But this is a bit strange if the parties do genuinely want to co-operate: what if Labour fundamentally disagrees with what the Prime Minister says? His statement is being described by Downing Street as the ‘government’s response’, which means that if Labour doesn’t agree with it, that cross-party co-operation could be a little difficult to sustain.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Igonring the obvious negative image of the Libdems such expectations create, it only goes to demonstrate what a two Headed Monster Coalition Government is, in terms of this government given how lame this government and its leader’s are Dr Dolittle’s (how apt) “Push-Me-Pull-You”.

    It also indicates that for all intents and purposes any meaningful Coalition is just about dead. If I were Conservatives, Labour and the rest I would boycott any Clegg statement and leave him and the rest of the Libdems to play with themselves (something they seem to be most adept at).

    Oh what an omnishables our Parliament has become!

  • Archimedes

    “His statement is being described by Downing Street as the ‘government’s response’, which means that if Labour doesn’t agree with it, that cross-party co-operation could be a little difficult to sustain.”

    All the better. If Cameron wants to avoid regulation, the best thing to do is to ensure maximum disagreement.

    • telemachus

      1.Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers believed that they were above the law.

      2.The police- far too cosy to the Murdoch empire – failed to investigate the hacking claims properly.

      3.Politicians were too craven to criticise him and his newspapers’ activities because they were frightened of being targeted.

      So what is there to say more.

      EXCEPT if 3 is true why are we giving it back to the politicians to fight into the long grass

  • Vulture

    I’ve got my popcorn ready for when the result of the Rotherham by-election comes in. Mr Clegg’s party will be lucky to scrape fifth or sixth place – and Rotherham is very close to Sheffield. I can’t wait to see the back of this insufferable little man and his ridiculous party. Forget Leveson : Cleggie will be too busy on the blower to Brussels arranging his next sinecure.

    • ATF

      Given that the LibDem vote in Clegg’s constituency has stayed solid since the election and was 13% higher than it’s nearest rvials, the Tories, in May 2012 the Rotherham vote has got nothing to do with the one on Sheffield Hallam.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here