Press Press Complaints Commission Leveson Inquiry

Fast start for ex-Govt Minister as chairman of PCC: Monday!


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 13, 2011 | 4 min read

Former Tory Cabinet Minister Lord Hunt starts his new job as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission on Monday.

Lord Hunt: takes up his new role on Monday

The current chair of the press watchdog , Peta Buscombe, had been expected to complete her three-year-term and step down in the New Year.

Lord Hunt's superfast takeover comes as the PCC is "under huge scrutiny with the whole system of press self regulation under review as a result of the phone-hacking scandal," said Press Gazette.

The PCC is expected to be radically reformed, and may even be abolished and replaced with a new body, after the Leveson Inquiry, said the magazine.

The appointment was announced by the Press Standards Board of Finance, the industry body which collects the levies that fund the PCC.

Lord Hunt , currently chairman of the Financial Services Division at the law firm Beachcroft, said he was "delighted to be leading the crucially important process of wholesale regeneration and renewal of the system of independent self-regulation of the press.

"My job is to ensure we create in due course an effective, genuinely independent standards body, which enjoys the overwhelming respect and support of the media, our political leaders and the general public.

"Throughout my political life I have fought for freedom of expression; and a free press is the distinctive and indispensable hallmark of any truly free, civilised society.

"I have no desire to live in a country where the legitimate, lawful investigative activities of the press are fettered at the whim of politicians. That would not be freedom at all.

"Those who work for newspapers or their digital off-shoots are, however, rightly bound by the law of the land, just like everyone else. They should also abide by recognised standards of professionalism, consideration and common decency."

Lord Hunt said The PCC already played an invaluable role, delivering fast, free and fair treatment of complaints from members of the public, as and when a newspaper has overstepped the line.

He went on :"There is a real appetite for change, however, and it is my intention to drive forward the creation of a reinvigorated and respected standards body, funded by the industry but operationally independent from both the industry and the state."

Lord Hunt was MP for Wirral and later Wirral West between 1976 and 1997 . He has served as Minister for Coal, Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities, Secretary of State for Wales, Secretary of State for Employment and Minister for Public Service and Science, based in the Cabinet Office.

He stepped down from government in 1995 to become senior partner at Beachcroft. In 1997 he entered the House of Lords as Lord Hunt of Wirral.

Chairman of PressBoF Lord Black said: I am delighted that Lord Hunt has accepted our invitation to become Chairman of the PCC. His appointment follows a rigorous selection process, including for the first time an independent assessment, which identified an extremely strong field of candidates.

"David Hunt's wide-ranging experience in politics, in the law and in regulation and above all his unshakeable commitment to the principles of press freedom and self-regulation make him the ideal person to lead the process of renewal and regeneration which is now essential."

Press Press Complaints Commission Leveson Inquiry

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