Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has warned her political rivals to remain united in their attempts to regulate the British press as the 2015 general election looms on the horizon.
Harman, speaking yesterday at Goldsmiths, said the British press would: “be emboldened and after revenge” if they were to escape any sort of regulation in the aftermath of the Leveson inquiry.
Harman, Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, was keen to credit her political adversaries for their work to this point.
“What has been unique and pivotal in this situation, is that the Tories, Lib-Dems, and Labour have stayed together.”
Harman admitted that, having spent, “all my life hating Tories and despising Lib-Dems, it’s strange being best friends with Maria Miller (Minister for Culture, Media and Sport) and admiring Nick Clegg (Lib-Dem leader).”
The event, hosted by The Media Reform Coalition and Goldsmiths Labour Students, saw Harman joined on stage by Goldsmiths’ academics, Professors James Curran and Natalie Fenton.
Fenton, a director of Hacked Off, a key organisation in the movement for change in UK press regulation, expressed her worry that as the 2015 general election comes closer, the Labour party’s commitment to the issue will deteriorate.
Fenton said: “If we don’t capitalise on this opportunity now, it’s gone for a really long time.”
According to Harman, the Labour party “definitely” will continue to press the issue. However, the likes of Fenton will be worried by Harman’s acceptance that the issue of press regulation: “isn’t a vote winner – in its own narrow terms.”
The audience questioned Harman over Conservative MP, Nick Boles claims yesterday morning, that a Conservative-only government would not be pursuing a change in UK press regulation policy.
Harman suggested that this was more of an inter-Conservative party issue and that Boles, was simply: “Currying favour for power and advantage.”
The MP for Camberwell & Peckham said: “as an MP from down the road” it was a great pleasure for her, “ to see Goldsmiths sailing forth on this agenda.”
by Sam Johnston