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Maria Miller’s Leveson threat

12 December 2012

Journalists don’t normally reveal their conversations with special advisers to ministers, no matter how grumpy they are about a forthcoming story. So it is significant that the Telegraph has chosen to disclose a warning from Maria Miller’s adviser Joanna Hindley about the minister’s connection to press regulation when reporters were preparing a story on her expenses claims. This is the key passage:

When a reporter approached Mrs Miller’s office last Thursday, her special adviser, Joanna Hindley, pointed out that the Editor of The Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson.

“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about,” said Miss Hindley.

Miss Hindley also said the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.

Miss Hindley immediately contacted The Telegraph’s head of public affairs to raise concerns about the story. The news group decided to delay publication in order to ensure the facts were correct.

Miller is not one of the supporters of statutory regulation for the press, although her stance is that the editors must have an opportunity to set up their own regulatory system with the threat of statute hanging over them if self-regulation fails. But these sorts of threats to prevent genuine public interest reporting, rather than a story that inhabits any grey areas, won’t help the argument that the state should be involved in calling the press to heel.

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  • William Blakes Ghost

    Hindley should resign immediately and if Miller was behind the threats so should she. Freedom of the Press is not a bargaining chip that politicans can wield when their personal affairs come into question!

    We had enough of corrupt spads soiling our system of government under Labour’s rotten rule. We certainly don’t need it from this shambles of a government as well!

    • James Strong

      Miller will have maintained what is referred to as plausible deniability.
      But she is behind it because, even if only implicitly, sher has let her SPAD believe that this is an appropriate way to behave. The boss sets the tone of the office.

  • Daviejohn

    This woman is currently our MP,I say currently in the hope that she will not be after the next election. The trough again is becoming deeper and wider.

  • Bluesman

    A good day to bury a bad enquiry.

  • Brian Hall

    Plebgate 2!

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