More than 50 victims of phone hacking have united to send an open letter to David Cameron following suggestions that the coalition could reject new laws which would see an independent press regulator monitor the press.
The letter begins: “We are individual victims of the unlawful and unethical conduct of the press in recent years. This conduct has included phone hacking, industrial scale data-mining, bribery of public officials, inappropriate contact with politicians, computer hacking, unlawful invasions of privacy, blackmail threats and harassment. It has also involved a shameful conspiracy to cover up many of these misdeeds. No public interest justification has ever been credibly advanced for these abuses.”
It goes on to praise Cameron for his strong stance in the beginning stages of the Leveson Inquiry, supported by quotes from the Prime Minister from the past 18 months.
However, the victims then go on to say: “We have therefore been alarmed and distressed by the widespread reports in the press (The Times, 31 August 2012), supported by comments made by senior members of your party, that you have already made up your mind and that you were "preparing to reject statutory intervention in the regulation of the press, even if it is strongly recommended by Lord Justice Leveson"; and that the
"newspaper industry will be given another chance to improve self-regulation".
The letter states such action would undermine the work of the inquiry and threaten any recommendations it may make for the industry. The letter expresses the victims’ fury and disappointment in equal measure ending:
“We therefore seek your reassurance that:
1 Contrary to the reports which we refer to above, you will consider the recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson with an open mind;
2 You have not already decided in favour of a proposal for continued self-regulation – which we believe to be unsatisfactory;
3 You will proceed on a cross-party basis;
4 That you stand by what you said at the inquiry”
Celebrities such as Charlotte Church, Hugh Grant and Jude Law signed the letter, as well as victims of the 7/7 bombings and members of Hillsbourgh Justice Campaign.