tv [untitled] May 22, 2012 4:30am-5:00am EDT
is very important which i did not properly bring out in my written statement, and to take account of is this, the whole of my relationship with the police, particularly the metropolitan police when i was home secretary was framed above all by the "lawrence inquiry." i had become home secretary very early in may. i had made no commitment about an investigation into lawrence before the election or at the election, because i did not
think it was appropriate, but one thing i did was to call for the papers and look at what had happened or had not happened. and then at the end of july, 1997, three months after taking the job announced this inquiry. and as both lord blair and lord brings out, that was deeply traumatic the metropolitan police, and particularly with lord condon who was my commissioner from 1997 until he retired which was early 2000, and it was absolutely dominant, so i just needed to be a bit what we were dealing with there was much wider failings of the met which came out more dramatically than they did in the course of the inquiry. >> the "lawrence" support -- "lawrence" source was of course, leaked and are you able to comment about the report surrounding that. >> the inquiry report was to be published on a wednesday which
is the 22nd of february and i received it the previous week, and we were very concerned at the home office about the possibility of it leaking. it was kept very closely under wraps and in the home office and i'm absolutely had total confidence in everybody who handled it within the home office and even the few who did. downing street people wanted to see it and see something for the prime minister's box, and i was very concerned about this, because i was concerned about the general culture that had built up in downy street of leaking. so i was very reluctant about them seeing anything before the monday. in the event as i recall as we agreed to produce the summary, and it was a part of a paraphrase, and quite
deliberately so, and this only went to them. and then on the saturday evening, and i was coming back because i was coming back, i got a call from my private secretary claire sumner, who was on duty, to say that it had leaked, because i was so concerned about the effect of this leak on the metropolitan police particularly and on the lawrence family and also on parliament because we had been under great criticism for prebriefing which i did not go in for myself, but with the government, and i obtained an injunction to stop the "sunday telegraph" and then subsequently lifted because they had printed copies and it was huge rumpus that i was trying to stop the
presses, and it was absurd. if i had been telling them not to publish the report, then of course, public interest to publish it, but it was about whether one newspaper was entitled to public extracts, and for all sorts of reasons, not least, the fact of the summary which was written from number 10 didn't go anywhere else, and for other reasons that leak came from number 10 and not from alastair campbell, because i don't believe he knew anything about it, but it came from 10, and i knew the person who was the leak in the inquiry and it took some time, but we weren't able to take some discipline reaction against them, but we knew who they were and they subsequently left working for downing street, but i was angry about it and furious
>> can i ask you about the general topic of spin and labor. some would say that you were tangential to outside of the spin circle and therefore sort of looking in. >> i take that as a compliment if they do, and i hope i was. >> your statement suggests that you generally speaking were and you say that you are not perfect. >> well, none of us is perfect. but i disliked that. i understood what happened but i thought it was bound the blow up in our face, which it did, and i thought it was unnecessary because of we just got on with being ministers and telling parliament what we were doing it would mean to use a share price analogy, of course, the price
would not be parsed as much, but not down as badly as it did. instead of winning 404 seats in 1997 and 401 in 1990 in 2001 if those were the numbers, we won 30 or 40 fewer, but that probably without -- that might have been a good thing for the labor party and the democracy. >> with the causes though, how would you analyze those? >> well, the spin, it goes -- it partly, mr. jay, goes back to our concern to develop a close relationship with the papers which arose particularly during the 1980s and the 1992 election, and to the highly competitive nature of the british press so what i saw was that gradually, some newspapers or some
journalists in some newspapers were being favored by downing street or some particular ministers. and it was a conspiracy is too strong of a word, but they had these little groups, and it was very, very incestuous and very, very unhealthy. now it is suited the ministers of the number 10 concerned at the time and also suited those journalists because they had privileged access to information, and they were getting exclusives over their colleagues in the same newsroom, and over other newspapers, but i think it is a bad idea. i didn't like it. and i tried to get on as far as i could doing things in a different way. interesting enough, mr. darling did, too, and there was some problem with the approach we adopted and the fact that we survived in that government and whilst others didn't. >> arguably, there is polar
positions like the ones that mr. airborn adopts and we will see in his piece that it is all of the political classes, and then in the position of mr. campbell, it is more of the fault of fourth estate. culture of negativity, everything else, do you have a different pope ssition, a mid position. >> yes, i have indicated that the truth lies in between, and there are high responsibilities on both journalists in the media and journalists in the newspapers, and i am not trying to be polly anna-ish, and that is the wrong metaphor, but the balanced approach lies in the middle. we fed each other. mr. airborn is completely all of the wall in what he writes, but
mr. campbell is not completely correct either. >> one can debate the diagnosis, but what if anything can be done about it in the free democracy? >> well, i think that the process of this inquiry is quite doing something about it, just as the process of the "lawrence inquiry" and the process of it and leaves a side the specific recommendations. change the nature of policing. because you saw over the period of that inquiry that aspects of policing which the public did not generally know about, and it was a mirror for the police. now, this inquiry, and this poll process is a mirror for journalists and many journalists are very serious people and intelligent and bright and thoughtful and concerned about
the future of journalism in the democracy. and, you know, they want this -- they want to think about it. i think that there are changes in the system of the regulation will also help, and i'm fairly certain they will, because they will end this with luck, and i'm anticipating your recommendations, but my view is that you have to have some external regulation of the press, and that is not as mr. dakert would say protect freedom of the press, far from it. but the press cannot go on as they have been claiming what every other institution in the
land requires external regulation which includes the legal profession, and they were right up front claiming that the legal profession could not continue to regulate itself, and it includes the city and in the front of saying that the city could not go on regulating itself, and then they say hang on a second, the press ought to be able to protect itself, and the press has failed and it has to be taken into account that the only reason that any change s in the regulation have ever been made, ever been made in terms of self-regulation have been a late response by the press to the possibility that they will at long last be subjected to the statue of regulation, and you go through all of the post war inquiries and the other ones saying they have shifted when they saw a tank coming down the road, and i think that frankly that the last 50 years of experience have shown that you have nothing
external and it would be good for the press as well, because most journalists want much higher standards. >> the expression to some of the views in the gareth williams' memorial lecture, and one sense of course was extremely curiously timed july 12th in the eye of the storm under tab two. >> yes, i have got that. >> we are not going to read it out, mr. straw, because we can preread it, but can we pick up a number of key themes and to the extent which at all you wish to
modify those in light of the events that have occurred since july of last year or indeed what happened in the inquiry, and not just external events, but to such an extent that you picked things up from the inquiry. this is the concept and the reality of self-regulation that you have begun to touch on page 3 of the internal numbering and you describe it as a weak substitute at the margin for legal obstruction. i think that you probably would like to explain in the wording the context of the historical -- >> well, one point i make in the preceding paragraph, and the subsequent one is that some people in the press have presented the sufferings first, and two legs good and two legs bad dichotomy and implied that at the moment, there is no
external regulation anyway, and there is quite a lot in terms of the defamation, and the law of privacy and what you have is principally about the sanction of the failure of the substantive law at the top of it which is that this system of self-regulation, and so there is a break there, but you may want to go on. >> on page four you describe the issue of privacy which you describe as much more legally and privacy able to handle, and here it is not inaccuracy, but truth. and it should remain private. is it your position now that consideration should be given now to a separate privacy talk?
>> yes, i say that in the course of the lecture later on that there ought to be and that we ought to pick up what calcott proposed for a separate -- later on. >> page 8, isn't it? >> page 8. yep, yep. and there isn't -- and for the reasons of which i am set out there the public should expect the same breach of copyright and tort, and as we get to it by the side door. >> two things be said. the creation of the privacy talk might create primacy of article viii and secondly, what is wrong with the development that we have seen over the last 14 years and namely what higher courts
have done creating not so much a privacy taught, but de facto principles, and perhaps to the principles that amount to more or less the same thing? >> well, on the first point, mr. jay, and you can deal with that by drafting of legislation. i don't -- i think you can overcome that. but on the second point, the answer is what is the difference? not much is my answer. i accept that and it is implicit on page 8, and the only inference is a point of principle, and you say it is the principle is not worth it, and you could also say that, well, the talks are available, and where it is available to them directly. for example, defamation of themselves developed by the
courts rather than by parliament, and part of that is true, so why not leave as it were the living law, the common law to be developed in the same way? i admit there is a strong argument on that side and my judgment which is a balanced one and not a -- well, it is that to get to -- and first of all the point needs to take this job on now. and to that i say that justice leveson made the point in an interrogatory way that the effect of us as i use the analogy here, the passing of the parcel of the law of privacy is to put the judiciary unfairly in the frame. being criticized for this, when in fact it was parliament. it is the responsibility and of parliament to say, and making a statement to everybody that as
citizens, they do have a right to have their privacy protected, and not absolutely, but generally. >> on page 8 before we deal with privacy, you muse over what the, what was then going to be a nonstatutory inquiry over to cultural ethics and practice, and a few days later, it ceased to be that. >> i am struck how much this is a piece of ancient history when i reread that paragraph. >> and the kicking of the long grass point may or may not be valid or whatever the -- >> i hope not. >> but that again is going to be a matter of parliament. the great difference of between
what i am doing now and what i normally do for a living is that i normally decide cases, and that's the end of that. the distance was there, and if you don't like it, off you go with the supreme court. here everything i do will take the form of recommendations. >> no, i understand. >> it has to be picked up or not. >> yes, i understand that, sir. there will then be a responsibility on the body politic in my view to see that the labors have not been wasted. >> it is one of the reasons why you have been very, very keen in short that the inquiry could maintain the cross party support that it had when it started. >> so far that is there, and it is the whole sort of politics of this are now very different from where they were before. >> i am pleased that you say that, because i think that i heard from mr. campbell on monday that he doubted whether
it was the same support. i am not trying to get into a form of a debate here, because i want to make it politically neutral as possible to make it easy for all parties coming forward if you'd like, and it is the consensus politics to which you referred to earlier. >> you mean, you could only make progress i think on a area like this. by consensus, and that doesn't mean that without any argument, but it does mean that it has to be a backing for the principle, and backing for a way to get to in the end. i mean, at the moment, if you look at what is going on in parliament, of course, there is a lot of partisan argument over
for example, of the bskyb and i won't go into any detail, and that is obvious. behind, that i think that what i divine is that clear understanding by all of the parties that we got too close to the papers and that applies particularly to the two main parties. and it is not healthy for anybody, and least of all not for the press, so with luck, there will be that. continuing momentum for change and some of us can do the best to ensure that it takes place. >> i'm pleased to have asked you the question, because listening to mr. campbell the other day, i don't say it was very depressing, but it certainly creates a concern.
>> i mean, i -- look, i'm not in any doubts, sir, that there is a concerted effort by some of the newspapers to argue against any form of more coherent regulation than you have today, and i think that mr. dayco has said he has a perfectly honorable view, but i don't share, about what he thinks will happen if there is a marked regulation. i hope and believe that even he recognizes that the landscape has changed completely even in what the public will tolerate. >> he certainly said that last september when he at the ended the seminar. >> yes. >> on other matters on page 10, you don't favor an absolute requirement, but you favor a presumption and you indicate
why, and the third issue, the makeup and the underpinning of the reconstituted blame regulator that you would like to be called the press commission, and i'm sure that the label does not matter. and first of all, it is, it's normative force, and are you in visiting here a statutory underpinning and if so, why? >> yes, aim. and one discrete statutory underpinning is that if you don't, it continues to be voluntary, and there is no way that i can perceive by which you can and then bring in those newspaper groups that don't want anything to do with the regulation, and this used to be a matter of speculation, and now it is a matter of reality with
the decisions of the express newspapers decided to take and extract themselves from the ppc. that is one reason. and secondly, that if you leave it to self-regulation, we end up with this absurd situation where they are judge and jury in their own cause. i mean, as has become clear in the course of this, i do have very high respect for paul dayco and i have known him for a very long time, and so on, and none of that is soft soap. but i simply do not believe that anybody could or should be placed in the position of adjudication which he and senior colleagues have over the standards of the press when the adjudication is taking place of them. that seems to me to defy all known principles of justice. so in the moment that you accept that proposition that i have made, you then have got to accept that this body will have to externally to be imposed, because there is no other way to do it, and the press won't be able to do it themselves, and i
believe they should calm down about the effects of the autonomy on politicians and ministers and have regards to all of the other institutions which parliament has set up and sustains. which are not remotely in the pockets of ministers or parliament and the most obvious one is the judiciary. i mean, it is entirely sustained by votes with a capital v of money from parliament, but wherein a free society, i don't dream to try to understand what happens in the constraints of the supreme court, but there are more statutes which have been established which include the united kingdom of statistics authority and the united kingdom authority statutes which have led to a more pluralistic society, and parliament have set them up to come to more account.
>> once you have a statute there, it is easy to amend it, and the less benign government in years to come will amend it in a way that is amicable to the interests of the press. do you see any force in that? >> no, on that basis, you would not change the law at all, because it would change again. it is not easy to amend primary legislation, because it is quite -- in abstract theory it is easy, because the legislation is passive, but in practice it is difficult, because you have to have parliamentary time to do so and make a case to the colleagues and go to the minister and before the house of commons and explain why you are doing it, and then it will proceed through the stages which takes a long time which is a necessary part of the process. i think it is absurd to argue that you should do one thing that is right today for fear that something may happen in the
future. i mean either we should look at the case on the merits, and if it is correct, then go for it, and if it isn't, then don't go for it. >> the editor of the "times" -- >> mr. harding. >> gave that argument and when i came back to point to section 3, the constitutional reform act which en shrines in the statute the independence of the judiciary, he decided he brought a knife to the gun fight, and as it were retired from the debate. >> yes. >> but that's a identification of a principle, and i think quite different of the judiciary to review something on the basis of an alleged breach, but do you see a value or detriment in having a similar sort of declaration of principle as it
were to put the position beyond doubt and to demonstrate that if somebody did want to change it, they would have to change the principle which actually could not be done through an and/or amendment as it were but to require a fundamental rethinking of the structure? >> i think that -- yes, sir, i think that a statement like that would be of value and which it would be, and then picking up the point of the constitutional reform of the 2005 act. i know that you are familiar with the terms, but all i knew
is there is a requirement of the independence of the judiciary, but there are also powerful requirements on the lord transcript of the day to uphold the independence of the judiciary and indeed, you have to as a further oath that the office has to swear in the lord chief's court here, and i don't think that anybody ever anticipated that certainly with the relation of lord chancellor would be the subject of the judicial review here. but you have to say that the person who was subject to those obligations between '07 and 2010, and they were in your mind, all right. and had any of my ministerial colleagues said you should have been doing this or, that i would have felt it was conflictory, and that explicit statutory duty there helped in my view to understood pin the nonstatutory duties in this regard which were in the ministerial code.