Peterborough’s MPs have taken opposite stances over whether to establish a new inquiry into the media.
MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya twice voted in favour of Leveson 2 which would examine unlawful action by media organisations and relations between journalists and the police. But North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara twice voted against Leveson 2.
On both occasions MPs voted against setting up the new inquiry. The first Leveson inquiry looked at the media’s culture and practices.
Mr Vara said he was also opposed to Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 which would force newspapers to pay the legal costs of both sides in a court case, even it won. He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “The recent vote in Parliament follows a comprehensive public consultation. The Leveson inquiry concluded in 2012 and resulted in extensive reforms to policing practices and press self-regulation.
“A free and fair press can be achieved without resorting to Leveson 2 and the financial burden of Section 40, which would disproportionately affect local newspapers such as the Peterborough Telegraph.”
Ms Onasanya has not yet replied directly to requests for a comment on why she voted how she did, and in particular how Leveson 2 might affect the PT, but in her weekly column for our newspaper she wrote: “There is an air of unseemly collaboration behind this decision: I have to wonder if the motivation for this decision has to do with currying favour with the barons of Fleet Street.”
She added: “I don’t believe it’s right that the newspapers should be forced to pay legal costs for both sides if they win their case.”