Oral Answers to Questions Debate

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Department: Leader of the House

Oral Answers to Questions

Paul Farrelly Excerpts
Thursday 21st April 2016

(5 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Leader of the House
David Evennett Portrait Mr Evennett
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Obviously, decisions on local authority budgets are decisions for those authorities. We welcome what is happening in Chelmsford and I know how assiduous my right hon. Friend is in speaking up for his constituency. There are many examples across the country of local authorities spending on sport. For instance, Central Bedfordshire Council continues to invest in sport and physical activity provision. We encourage that.

Paul Farrelly Portrait Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme) (Lab)
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4. What factors he has taken into account when deciding whether to commence section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, on reform of press regulation. (904600)

John Whittingdale Portrait The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr John Whittingdale)
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As I indicated a moment ago, no decision has been taken regarding commencement of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. The matter is under consideration and I am meeting a variety of interested parties with different views to discuss the issue.

Paul Farrelly Portrait Paul Farrelly
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I thank the Secretary of State for taking us no further forward. Implementation of the costs incentives was promised by the then Culture Secretary, the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller). They were promised as a key part of the Leveson reforms specifically by the Prime Minister, not only to Parliament but to the victims of press abuse, including the family of Madeleine McCann, so in signalling already that he has no intention of taking that step, has the Secretary of State reflected at all that he is thwarting the will of Parliament, breaching a cross-party agreement, and breaking clear, firm and unequivocal promises made by the Prime Minister and his colleagues?

John Whittingdale Portrait Mr Whittingdale
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I have not indicated that I have no intention. I simply said that I was not minded, which means that the matter is still under consideration and my mind and that of my colleagues is open on the matter, which is why we are continuing to have meetings. Only this week I had a meeting with some of the hyperlocal publishers who have signed up with the Impress regulator and they made some interesting comments, and we will continue to listen to all those with an interest. We will in due course make a decision. However, section 40 and the costs provision will not come into effect fully until there is a recognised regulator, even after the order is signed. There is not yet a recognised regulator so we are not yet in that position, and we will continue to consider the matter.