Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting HT NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Press 'self-regulation still best'
New laws to control newspapers in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal would not get through Parliament, the former head of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has said.
Lord Wakeham insisted self-regulation was still the best method of controlling the press and also warned privacy legislation would not "help the public unless they were rich".
Former prime minister John Major was "certainly in favour" of a statutory system but he helped to talk him out of it, the peer told the Leveson Inquiry.
Lord Wakeham, who served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher and Mr Major, was chairman of the PCC between 1995 and 2001.
During that time he would occasionally telephone newspaper proprietors and editors to discuss the conduct of their newspapers, including a well-documented complaint about Piers Morgan during his time in charge of the News of the World.
Lord Wakeham said he found Mr Morgan's decision to publish a photograph of the then Countess Spencer in the grounds of a private hospital, which had been taken over the wall, "outrageous".
He called Rupert Murdoch, who then went on to make a public statement criticising Mr Morgan, the inquiry was told.
Lord Wakeham said: "It was outrageous that it should be done. He (Mr Murdoch) made the statement that he did, that it was unacceptable, and that sent a message round that we were not to be trifled with."
He suggested that MPs were always keen to crack down on the press but getting legislation through Parliament would be difficult.
"If there's any legislation that flows from the circumstances we are in, I have considerable reservations about how it would get on in Parliament," he added.