Press intrusion victims refuse to meet Culture Secretary in anger over David Cameron's reaction to Leveson's findingsGerry and Kate McCann and Sally and Bob Dowler rejected an invitation to discuss the Leveson Report with Culture Secretary Maria MillerAccording to HackedOff campaigners they were 'too angry' to attend
J.K. Rowling said she felt 'duped' and 'dismayed' by the Prime Minister
01:57 GMT, 1 December 2012
Prominent victims of press intrusion rejected an invitation to meet with Culture Secretary Maria Miller to discuss the Leveson Report, because they feel ‘let down’ by David Cameron’s reaction to its findings.
The group, including Gerry and Kate McCann and the parents of Milly Dowler, said they were too 'angry' to attend the meeting yesterday, according to HackedOff campaigners.
Author J.K. Rowling said that she was ‘alarmed and dismayed’ that David Cameron's appears to back away from promises he made at the beginning of the Leveson Inquiry.
Too angry: Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of abducted Madeline McCann, left, and Bob and Sally Dowler, parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler refused to attend the meeting with the Culture Secretary
Disappointed: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling said she felt 'duped' after the Prime Minister's refusal to implement statutory regulations of the British press
J.K. Rowling wrote on the HackedOff
website, the group which campaigns for victims of press intrusion, that
she feared nothing will change to hold the press to account.
‘Without statutory underpinning
Leveson’s recommendations will not work. We will be left with yet
another voluntary system from which the press can walk away.
the Prime Minister did not wish to change the regulatory system even to
the moderate, balanced and proportionate extent proposed by Lord
Leveson, I am at a loss to understand why so much public money has been
spent and why so many people have been asked to re-live extremely
painful episodes on the stand in front of millions.'
The 47-year-old Harry Potter author has
previously told of how journalists had driven her out of her home and
targeted her young daughter at school during the inquiry.
Snubbed: Culture Secretary Maria Miller instead met with founders and directors of the HackedOff campaign
taken David Cameron’s assurances in good faith at the outset of the
inquiry he set up, I am merely one among many who feel duped and angry
in its wake,’ she wrote.
As the victims refused to attend yesterday's meeting, the Culture Secretary met instead with prominent members of the Hacked Off campaign to discuss the Government's response to the Leveson Report.
The victims that we asked along felt too let down to meet her and too angry, so we went on our own,' LibDem MP Evan Harris, associate director of Hacked Off, told The Telegraph.
'We wanted to know the basis for David
Cameron’s principled objection to legal backing of an independent
regulator when he had never mentioned this objection to us in previous
meetings. We left the meeting none the wiser.'
Rejected: David Cameron, seen turning on the Christmas lights in his constituency of Witney yesterday, has refused to back statutory regulation of the Press
In an article in today's Daily Mail, the Culture Secretary herself wrote that she supported Lord Justice Leveson's findings but that she feared the Government would regret statutory regulation on the press.
'Yesterday I sat down with the
victims’ representatives and over the coming days I will be sitting down
with the industry. We need to work closely together and ensure that
this new regulatory model is established quickly,' she writes.
'If the Prime Minister did not wish to change the regulatory system, I am at a loss to understand why so much public money has been spent'- J.K. Rowling
'I would not be being honest if I did
not say that I have grave misgivings about putting in place a legal
framework, and the unintentional consequences which could derive from it
further down the track.'
Hacked Off have today launched an online
petition urging Cameron and other politicians to implement Leveson's
recommendations in full.
The recommendations have pitched Cameron against Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, his coalition partner, who argued that a new law on press regulation should be introduced without delay. Cross-party talks were being held in an attempt to reach an agreement.
Lord Justice Leveson's 2,000-page report concluded that Britain's press sometimes ‘wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people,” and recommended the print media be regulated by a new body enshrined in law.
Cameron said he welcomed the proposal, but was reluctant to set down new laws to back a press regulator because such a move could threaten freedom of the press.