Following the recent shocking revelations about the extent of phone hacking undertaken by some journalists and newspapers it was decided that Parliament should sit for an extra day before breaking for summer recess, in order that there could be a full debate on the implications of this.
Therefore rather than us all whizzing off to our constituencies, we all packed into the House to listen to the Prime Minister's statement on Public Confidence in the Media and Police, and have a chance to debate how to react to this significant time.
I asked David Cameron: The Prime Minister has said that contacts with the media since the general election will be published. I do not think that that is good enough. We need to know the contacts that the Government have had with the media for the past 10 years. We also need an investigation into the Home Office and into what Home Office Ministers were doing.
Prime Minister: The point that I have just made is that this inquiry is specifically looking at the relationship between politicians and the media, and—at the request of Hacked Off and the Dowler family—at the conduct of both. That inquiry can go back as far as it wants to go back, to examine the relationship between politicians and the media. Frankly, I think that we all need to be clear—particularly the two main parties—that the level of contact has been very great, and that we did spend too much time trying to get on with media companies to get our message across. As a result, the last Government and the last Opposition too often put on the back burner the issue of how to regulate the media. That is the mistake that we made. We have both—all—got to be honest about it. And by the way, this is not just about the relationship with News International; it is also about the work we do trying to win over the BBC or The Independent or The Guardian. Let us be frank about this, and let us be transparent about the meetings that we have. Then we can learn the lessons and use this as a cathartic moment to sort out the relationship and put it on a better footing.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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