The House of Lords Communications Committee has today written to the Culture Secretary stating the Committee’s dissatisfaction with how the Charter has ‘bypassed’ Parliament, and that the procedures being proposed appear to be ‘inconsistent with our parliamentary and democratic traditions’
In his letter to Maria Miller MP, Chairman of the Committee, Lord Inglewood, said:
“Whilst individual members have their own opinions on the content of the final draft Royal Charter on the self-regulation of the press, we have not as a Committee come to any conclusion on its contents. We are, however, united in the view that the parliamentary consideration of the draft Royal Charter is not adequate.”
He went on to say:
“Given the constitutional importance of the freedom of the press, and the political topicality and controversy surrounding this subject, we do not feel anything less than a full debate on the final text is appropriate and I am writing to request, even at this late stage, one be held.”
Lord Inglewood states in the letter that the debate would ideally be held before the Charter is sealed which is expected to take place at the scheduled meeting of the Privy Council on 30 October 2013. However, the short deadline makes this unrealistic. The debate should therefore take place before all the arrangements contained in the Charter come fully into effect.
The Government is expected to respond.