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Peers back down on anti-press data protection amendments


21 May 2018

SoE

The Data Protection Bill will go through parliament without any amendments calling for a second Leveson Inquiry after peers conceded defeat on the issue this week. 

The Bill, which will come into effect this Friday subject to Royal Assent, has been the subject of weeks of ping-ponging between the House of Lords and House of Commons after attempts by Labour MPs and peers to include an amendment calling for the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry and punitive costs measures in data protection cases for those that are not signed up to a recognised press regulator.

The call for a second Leveson Inquiry was voted down by MPs twice in the past three weeks and today peers agreed not to challenge it further.

The Society of Editors, which had strongly campaigned against the amendments on the basis of press freedom, has welcomed the move.

Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society said: “After months of uncertainty, the Society welcomes the long overdue decision by the House of Lords to back down on attempts to force through anti-press amendments that would have had a disastrous effect on press freedom.

“While common-sense has certainly prevailed, it is a shame that it’s taken so long for members of the unelected upper chamber, alongside some of our political leaders, to realise that freedom of expression is not something that should be used as a political football for point scoring or for the purposes of furthering personal vendettas against certain sections of the press.

“Alongside the work of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, we have no doubt that the measures now included in the Data Protection Bill will further ensure that where wrongdoing has occurred, there is a robust and measured system of redress in place against press intrusion.”


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