LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes, Mr Rhodri Davies.
Closing submissions by MR DAVIES
Sir, if I can borrow some terminology from the
Tour de France, I am, I think, in the position of the
lanterne rouge, the last man in the field.
Whilst Mr Jay, consistently supported by his team,
like Mr Bradley Wiggins, of course sports the maillot
jeune for consistently leading the field in the English
But leaving the glamour of the Champs-Elysees for
the more businesslike surroundings here, we, as have
others, have made submissions in writing on the last
stage of this Inquiry, in our case, I'm afraid, at some
length, and I'm not going to try, and indeed I could
not, cover the same ground now.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
You needn't apologise.
News International have prepared submissions on a number
of topics and I'm very grateful to you, and the team
that supports you, for the work has been put into them.
I'm grateful. Indeed, as you, I'm sure,
appreciate, the team is a bit like an iceberg. I may be
above the surface, but there's a great deal below. They
do most of the work, I am pleased to say.
One aspect we've dealt with in writing, which I'm
not going to cover this afternoon, is plurality. That's
a complex issue and we've dealt with it in writing, and
I shall leave our submissions on that there.
The Inquiry has shone its light on the culture,
practices and ethics of the press in three modules,
covering: the press and the public, the press and the
police and the press and politicians.
The first of those focused on the way the press goes
about getting and reporting on stories, and on the
effect of the conduct of the press on the public. The
second module, the press and the police, had a twin
focus. One eye was on the day-to-day relations between
press and police and the other on the question of
whether there were corrupting relationships between the
press and the police, which explained why Clive Goodman
was the only journalist prosecuted for voicemail hacking
in 2006 and why the Metropolitan Police were resistant
to reopening their investigation in 2009 and indeed
The third module, the press and politicians, also
had a twin focus, with one eye on the routine reporting
of politics and the other on the question of whether
illicit deals were done between politicians and press
Before looking at the lessons learnt from the 96
days of evidence and submissions that the Inquiry has
heard -- 97 today, I think -- it is appropriate to take
stock of the extent of the landscape that has been
The Inquiry has heard evidence that has gone back
over 30 years, to the purchase of the Times and the
Sunday Times by News International in 1981. It has
received evidence on stories going back over nearly as
long a period, and it has surveyed developments in the
law and regulation governing the press since the second
Calcutt report in 1993.
The number of editions of newspapers that have been
published over that period of 20 to 30 years is vast.
20 years covers over 6,000 editions of the daily papers
and over 1,000 Sunday papers. Inevitably, the Inquiry
has sampled only a fraction of the output of the press
over that period. And equally inevitably, the sample
that it has looked at has had what one might call a "bad
story bias". Just as lawyers tend only to see the
contracts that are broken and doctors see mostly those
who are ill, the Inquiry has seen mostly the stories
that people have complained about.
We know that the Inquiry is aware of this and it has
asked papers to submit their best five public interest
stories as a counterbalance, but we hope we will be
forgiven for the reminder, because it is extremely
difficult to balance the emotional impact of live
evidence in this room against the dry, intellectual
knowledge that the majority of those 7,000 editions over
20 years never gave rise to any serious complaint but
did inform and entertain millions of readers every day.
The other consequence of listening to the vivid
accounts of those who came to give evidence is that it
is easy to lose track of the chronology. Their evidence
was fresh to them and to their listeners, but often the
events described took place some time ago.
To take the most obvious examples, anyone engaged in
voicemail hacking received a definite shock to the
system with the arrest of Mr Goodman and Mr Mulcaire
in August 2006. The consequences of what happened
before then are still being felt, but that is almost six
years ago now.
Equally, it was in 2006 that the Information
Commissioner released his two reports with the now
well-known league table of newspapers in the second
report, "What price privacy now?". Since then, as both
the current Information Commissioner and his predecessor
have confirmed to the Inquiry, their problems with the
illegal trade in personal information have not been with
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Doesn't that merely establish,
Mr Rhodri Davies, that there hasn't been a complaint?
I'm not minimising it and I'm not seeking to draw too
much from it, but just thinking about it, one of my
concerns has been that the problems facing any
investigation of the press start with the need for
a complainant. The truth is that "What price
privacy?" -- the Motorman did not start because of
a press complaint. It started because of an abuse of
DVLA, concern about DVLA.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Then of course they search and find
the material and it all comes out.
So I'm not minimising the validity of the point that
you make, that nobody has complained to the Information
Commissioner about the press. That's a fair point.
Mr Graham made it. But there must be a limit beyond
which that point goes, isn't there? Is that fair or
There is a limit, yes, but I think one has to
assess the Information Commissioner's statements in this
context. First of all, that the Information
Commissioner, with his department, has a full-time job
of listening out for this sort of thing, and I think
indeed one or other -- I can't remember now which --
said, "If it had been going on, I'm fairly sure I would
have heard about it". And secondly, they do get
complaints. Indeed, they've made that absolutely clear.
They get plenty of complaints, but they're not about the
So what one would have to suppose for this to be
a serious problem is that although they're getting
complaints about other people abusing personal data, for
some reason they're not getting them about the press,
although the press is doing it as well, and that --
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
The way in which I would put it is
slightly different. I would say that the press focus
has been on standing up stories.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
And once they've stood up the story,
so it's true, the problem facing the victim of the story
is not the mechanism but the fact, and the fact is that
the story was true. Do you understand the point I'm
making? Therefore they won't necessarily focus on how
the story was stood up.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
I don't want you to misunderstand the
point that I'm making. I am not in any sense detracting
from Mr Graham's evidence. I have it on board. My
challenge is quite how far I can use that and how far
the press can use it, not merely as a defence -- and it
is a defence -- but as an offensive point. Do you see?
Yes. Well, one must accept that it's not
conclusive, but the reflection which occurred to me as
you were speaking, sir, is simply this, that with all
acquisitions of personal data, whether it is by a debt
collecting agency or a local authority or something,
it's inherent in the nature of the exercise that it is
So I think the point which you made to me just now
about the press having a true story and people not going
into how they got the information is actually probably
equally true if a debt collection agency turns up with
some information which you wouldn't expect them to have,
but is still true.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes, well, I made the point. I
certainly don't want to take it too much.
But it is certainly not conclusive.
So we would say that those matters undoubtedly have
their place in the history, but one has to be cautious
in the extent to which one can say that they are current
examples of the culture, practices and ethics of the
Going on to the evidence heard in Module 1, there is
no doubt that that made out the case that all has not
been well with the press. The Motorman data cannot all
be explained away as thought to have been obtained
legally or as justified by journalism in the public
The voicemail hacking at the News of the World was
profoundly wrong and is deeply regretted by
News International. The reporting of stories concerning
Chris Jefferies was unacceptably out of balance, and
there are other examples which could be given.
Mr Sherborne went through a number this morning.
It must also be recognised that, although it has
done much good work, the PCC was not conceived as
a regulator and has not proved able to act as one. And
we accept that the case for a new approach to the
regulation of the press is made out. What shape that
should take is a matter I will come back to.
Before I do, I must say something about Module 2 and
then Module 3.
In Module 2, the Inquiry heard evidence on the
relations between the press and the police. One aspect
of that concerned the protocols which ought to govern
the day-to-day relations between press and police. That
is a matter which lends itself to governance through
a code of practice. You heard from Mr Garnham yesterday
that the police themselves are still working on that,
and I'm not going to say anything about that this
The other focus of the evidence in Module 2 was the
question of why the investigation into phone hacking in
2006 did not go further. The blunt question the Inquiry
had to consider was whether it was because of corrupt
relationships with News International that the police
did not turn over more stones and prosecute more
journalists in 2006 or until 2011.
That question received a clear and unambiguous
answer. The convincing evidence of Deputy Assistant
Commissioner Peter Clarke was that the investigation was
limited as it was because the police were under
unprecedented strain in dealing with 70 major
anti-terrorist operations at the same time.
The London bombings had killed 52 people in July
2005. The day after the arrests of Goodman and Mulcaire
in 2006, the Metropolitan Police made 24 arrests in
Operation Overt, which concerned a plot to place bombs
on transatlantic flights and therefore to kill a great
many more people.
The police had to prioritise, and quite properly.
Anti-terrorism operations came higher than extending
a phone hacking operation which was already sending
a warning signal to the industry.
It is not for us to judge the decisions which DAC
Clarke made as to where to apply his resources, but what
we can note is that it had absolutely nothing whatever
to do with any influence exercised by
The reasons that the police did not do more in 2006
and 2007 were operational reasons. They were not
corrupt reasons. That, we submit, is a headline finding
which emerges with signal clarity from the evidence
heard by this Inquiry.
Why, then, was the matter not reopened following the
Guardian article in July 2009 and subsequently in 2010?
By July 2009, DAC Clarke had retired, and, rightly
or wrongly, the police saw the Guardian's article not as
a non-judgment suggestion that phone hacking merited
another look, but as an attack on the integrity of the
A combination of a justified belief that the 2006
investigation had been conducted with complete integrity
and a misunderstanding of its actual scope, then
resulted in a swift and offensive response from the
With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to say
that that was a wrong decision, but the point that must
be emphasised is again that it was not a corrupt one.
So the vital message which emerged from the evidence
heard in Module 2 is that there were a variety of
reasons why the police made the decisions they did, but
those reasons did not include corrupt relationships
between the Metropolitan Police and News International.
In that regard, we agree wholeheartedly with the
burden of Mr Garnham's submissions to you yesterday that
it is essential to distinguish perception from reality.
Indeed, it is a prime function of a public inquiry
to see which, if any, perceptions are borne out by
reality. In this instance, the reality is that the
police made their own decisions and they were not
corrupted by News International.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Do you think it was sensible that the
ultimate Assistant Commissioner and other officers dined
with News International while they were being
I'm not sure that it's for us to answer that
question, sir, but one thought one has is that, given
that the investigation was very properly secret, indeed
I think "covert", in police terms, it might have
occurred to them that they risked sending the wrong
message if they cancelled such an engagement, but
I don't know. But that, we would submit, is not
a judgment for us to make.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
That's fair enough.
The third module, Module 3, was the second
module with a twin focus: on the routine reporting of
politics and on the question of whether illicit deals
were done between politicians and press proprietors.
On the question of whether illicit deals had been
done, there is no disguising the fact that the focus
was, to a remarkable extent, upon the question of
whether illicit deals had been done between
Rupert Murdoch and politicians.
The Section 21 notice addressed to Mr Murdoch
identified at least 12 cases where the Inquiry wished to
investigate the possibilities of illicit deals or
improper influence. These ranged in time over nearly 30
years, from the acquisition of the Times and the
Sunday Times in 1981 to the development of Conservative
Party media policy in 2010, and in subject matter from
support for the Iraq War in 2003 to involvement in the
Every one of the questions raised has been the
subject of time-consuming and expensive research, and
every one has been answered. In most cases, both by
Mr Murdoch and by the politicians alleged to have been
on the other side of the deal.
The Inquiry has had the unique power and opportunity
to summon before it both press proprietors and
prime ministers. It has heard from four
prime ministers, going back to 1992; and not only from
prime ministers, but from others at the heart of
Government. Secretaries of state, press spokesmen and
senior civil servants.
What have we learned from this unprecedented parade
of witnesses? We have learned that Mr Murdoch is always
interested in the political issues of the day, that he
has strong views on Europe, which he is not shy of
expressing, that he was a supporter of the Iraq War and
that he feels passionately about education. And we have
learned that these are the things he talks about when he
meets politicians and we have learned that he does not
trade the support of his papers for personal or
We have learned that because he has told us so,
because wherever available, the contemporaneous
documents support his account and because the
politicians have told us so as well. For it takes two
to tango. If there is to be an illicit deal between
a press proprietor and a politician, then both have to
cast their integrity to the winds.
One may think politicians from one or all parties to
be misguided, wrong-headed or incompetent, or all three,
but that is not the question. The question is whether
they sold their souls to Mr Murdoch or
News International or to some other faction of the
press. An answer came to that question, and it was a
unanimous and vehement: No.
The witnesses who gave that answer often related it
to an awareness of the duties and responsibilities which
come with the great offices of state. The point was
vividly put by Jack Straw when asked whether the
decision to commit British troops to Iraq was determined
by the stance of the News International papers. He
answered that it was not a factor, that it would have
been disgusting if it had been and that it was, and
"About putting British troops in harm's way, and
bluntly, was much, much more serious than that, so no,
is the answer".
If one wants to take a more cynical approach,
another political old hand, Ken Clarke, pointed out that
it would be a very naive politician who believed that
the press would stand by him if events turned against
him, which makes such pacts a fruitless exercise for
The starting point for the Inquiry's consideration
of these issues and of most of the conspiracy theories
over the years was the acquisition of the Times
Newspapers from the Thomson companies in 1981. The
trigger for the Inquiry's interest in this issue was the
assertion by Woodrow Wyatt in his diaries that he had
had all the rules bent for Mr Murdoch over the
acquisition of those two papers.
That entry in Lord Wyatt's diaries was made 14 years
after the events in 1995. When it was published, it
prompted Mr Mullin to fix a date with Mr Biffen, who had
made the crucial decision, to ask him what had really
happened. Mr Biffen went to the trouble of digging his
pocketbook out of the attic to check his recollection
and reported to Mr Mullin that, so far as he knew,
everything had been above board.
When one examines the documentary record, it
decisively supports Mr Biffen's recollection.
Mr Murdoch is plainly recorded as not opposing
a reference to the MMC. It was Mr Biffen who decided
not to make a reference, and his reasoning is fully
transparent. Thomsons, not Mr Murdoch, had set
a deadline which they would not move and the MMC could
not report before the deadline. Neither of those
immovable objects was of Mr Murdoch's making, but faced
with them, Mr Biffen's decision makes perfect sense.
The documentary record compellingly explains what
happened and it leaves no room for deals. When one adds
the recollections of Mr Biffen and the evidence of
Mr Murdoch, the irresistible conclusion is that there
was no deal. And that sets the tone for what follows.
The Inquiry asked about a string of policies or
decisions adopted by New Labour under Mr Blair and
Mr Brown. The issues raised range from Labour Party
policy before the 1997 election, through to the rules of
Premium League television rights in 2005, with a detour
on the way into the question of whether Mr Blair had
felt it necessary to take the advice of the publisher of
the Sun on how to mend diplomatic fences with the
president of France.
Not surprisingly, both Mr Murdoch and Mr Blair
answered no to that.
I'm not going to go through each issue, but I must
mention the remarkable and convincing unanimity with
which the charges were rejected, and not just by the
I've already mentioned Mr Straw's reaction to
suggestions of News International input into decisions
over the Iraq War. Lord Mandelson, a key figure in the
party, rejected the idea of any Faustian pact between
the Labour Government and Rupert Murdoch. He did not
believe that there was ever a deal, express or implied.
Alastair Campbell, at the centre of the New Labour
project, said that he didn't think there ever was a deal
between Mr Murdoch and Mr Blair. Nothing, he said, was
traded with Mr Murdoch on policy.
Lord O'Donnell, a civil servant at the heart of
Whitehall from 1989 to 2011, said on this subject that
he was not aware of anything. He could give no specific
examples of things where he thought something happened
that shouldn't have done.
In 2009, of course, the Sun famously switched its
support from the Labour Party to the Conservatives, and
in 2010, the country acquired the Coalition Government.
Lord O'Donnell remained in place, and his evidence
straddles both governments.
In a different way, so does Mr Gove, and he was
clear that neither as a journalist nor as a politician
had he seen, observed or heard any evidence of an
express or implied deal between a politician and a press
Mr Cameron made it absolutely clear that with his
own background in television, he did not need
News International to make his party's media policies
for him. And Mr Osborne was withering over the
suggestion that the Conservative Party somehow conspired
to get the BSkyB bid onto Mr Hunt's desk.
As to what happened when the bid did reach Mr Hunt's
desk, after a sequence of events which could not
possibly have been plotted or foreseen by
News Corporation or News International, the Inquiry has
received an enormous quantity of documentation. One
point that shines through is that nobody ever offered
Mr Hunt any sort of deal to wave through the bid and nor
did he wave it through.
On the subject of that bid, I must mention that, as
the Inquiry knows, Mr Michel has filed a further witness
statement in response to the evidence given by
Mr Norman Lamb MP.
In that statement, he makes it quite clear that he
did not set out to make any threats to Mr Lamb, and that
if Mr Lamb thought he was being threatened, that can
only have been a misunderstanding which has
unfortunately festered until very recently.
We would also point out that although Dr Cable did
indeed refer the bid to Ofcom not long after Mr Michel's
meeting with Mr Lamb, there is no suggestion that
coverage by any News International titles of the Lib
Dems thereupon turned nasty.
It is true that Mr Clegg said that he didn't think
they had received particularly favourable treatment in
the first place, but nobody suggests that it took any
turn for the worse.
Returning from that slight detour to the question of
deals. After 30 years in which rumours and conspiracy
theories have abounded, the Inquiry has, so far as
possible, called before it all the main actors and many
of the supporting cast.
The Inquiry has heard from Mr Murdoch that he did
not ask for deals and it has heard from politicians that
they did not promise them, and that the business of
government is too important for deals with the press.
Collectively and individually, their evidence has
shown a consistent pattern and delivered a compelling
answer. There was no deal in 1981, and there have been
no deals since.
As with the Module 2 question concerning the
motivations of the police, this is a negative answer,
but it is a very important negative answer. Speculation
and rumour comes cheap and it swirls through the books,
the magazines, the papers and especially the Internet.
But the evidence has now been heard and not one of the
supposed deals has stood up to examination.
That is a statement about the past. What about the
You asked yesterday about the culture of the press.
We would suggest that the key to the culture of the
press is the apparently banal but nonetheless true
statement that what drives journalists and papers is the
desire to get the news and to publish it first.
News is, of course, information that is new, that is
not already well-known. News is also information that
is accurate. There is no professional or personal
satisfaction to be gained from publishing information
that is inaccurate, and doing so also exposes you to the
risk of an action for defamation.
The culture is, therefore, one which seeks after
truth. A stream of editors and journalists have said
that, and there is no reason to disbelieve them.
That instinct can also be seen in a perverted form
in the cases where things have gone wrong. The
journalists who paid Mr Whittamore were not paying him
for inaccurate information but for accurate information.
Those who engaged in phone hacking were acting
disgracefully, but they were not after fictitious
stories, they were after true stories.
What we see is that the excesses of the press have
occurred when the search for a story has overcome the
boundaries of privacy. That is in some way as
a consequence of the history.
Defamation law is something which journalists have
grown up with. Privacy law really began in the United
Kingdom with the decision of the House of Lords in the
Naomi Campbell case in 2004. It is not, we suggest,
a coincidence that the use of Mr Whittamore and phone
hacking started before then. The boundaries of privacy
have not historically been in the DNA of the press but
they have now had eight years to learn, and the lesson
is, we think, sinking in, and is well on its way to
being thoroughly absorbed.
As Mr Millar explained yesterday, the Editors' Code
has moved with the times over that period, and whilst no
doubt not perfect, it is overall a good document.
What is needed is a mechanism or an agency to
improve compliance with the code, but that mechanism or
agency must take its place in an already complex world,
with a number of powerful factors in play.
First, it must recognise that the press is already
set around with laws. It has been said, a little
glibly, that nothing has changed since Sir David
Calcutt's second report. It is true that Parliament has
not enacted his authoritarian vision for the supervision
of the press by a tribunal appointed by ministers, but
in every other respect, a great deal has changed.
We have an anti-harassment statute, we have
a privacy law, we have a broader Data Protection Act, we
are in the throes of recognising that defamation law has
become too great a fetter on freedom of speech. We know
that phone hacking is against the criminal law. An
editor has to navigate his way through these thickets
every day and they already represent a formidable body
Secondly, a new system must not inhibit the vital
functions of comment on and criticism of those in power,
together with legitimate investigative reporting,
including investigations that, although
well-intentioned, do not turn up a scandal in the end.
Thirdly, and by contrast, it must recognise the
vital importance of the tabloid press. It is the easy
option intellectually and ethically to defend those
elements of the press that trade in seriousness and
high-mindedness. Indeed, they are rarely criticised.
But they are not the press that the vast majority reads.
Of course, even most of the broadsheet press is not
as serious-minded as perhaps the Times Literary
Supplement or the Economist, but the majority of
newspaper readers do not read the Times, the Telegraph
or the Guardian, they read the popular and the
mid-market press: the Sun, the Mail, the Mirror and the
These papers do not exist on a plain diet of serious
stuff. They sell because they mix information with
amusement, emotion, cheekiness and popular idiom.
Between them, they give the United Kingdom a uniquely
vivid and vibrant national press with a daily readership
of somewhere between 17.5 and 20 million, depending on
exactly how you do the figures.
That popular press must be allowed the scope to
continue to entertain and amuse as well as to educate
and to inform. It is as well to remember that the right
to freedom of expression articulated by Article 10 is
a right not only to impart information and ideas but
also to receive them.
When the public buy newspapers, they are exercising
their Article 10 rights to receive information and
ideas, and most of them choose to exercise those rights
by buying the popular papers rather than the
Fourthly, it must be acknowledged that the printed
press is economically very fragile. I hope the Guardian
will forgive me for mentioning their recent results, but
they have just announced losses of 44 million following
on 31 million last year, and significant redundancies
amongst reporters are expected to follow. Trinity
Mirror's travails over the last year have been widely
Mr Millar explained yesterday that the Telegraph was
handsomely profitable at present, but he also made it
clear that they did not know what the future would
bring, even in the short term.
As for News International, the last year has been
a one-off, but the underlying position is that the Times
has been unprofitable for many years, the Sunday Times
has recently been loss-making and while the Sun is
profitable, the situation is no longer as healthy as it
Speaking to you this morning, Mr Sherborne was
somewhat contemptuous of commercial motivations, but it
is right to have in mind that without a profitable
press, there will be no press at all. This is a fragile
industry and it cannot support the imposition of
expensively, heavy-handed, regulatory structure.
Fifthly, the reason for that fragility must be
recognised in the form of competition from the Internet.
The news dissemination from this Inquiry itself is an
example we have all observed at first hand. The
Inquiry's proceedings have been streamed live over the
net for all to see. For those not watching, instant
updates have come from blogs, from Tweets and from
articles on news Internet sites. Significant
developments have been reported on the news and
discussed on the current affairs programmes of radio and
television, and all of that has happened before the next
day's papers have hit the doorsteps.
In that state of play, it cannot be either
economically or legally fair to lay a burden of
regulation upon the printed press which is not laid
equally upon the Internet, and that, as we all know, is
a very difficult thing to achieve, and not a problem
faced by Sir David Calcutt in 1993.
If one wants an example of the competition that the
printed press faces, one need only read Paul Staines's
recent witness statement to the Inquiry in which he says
that more regulation of the press will be good for his
business, that is to say the Guido Fawkes blog, but he
will ignore all of it.
It is idle to seek a solution that perfectly
accommodates the Internet and the other factors I have
identified, but we suggest that the best solution is
that put forward by Lord Black and Lord Hunt. This has
a number of great merits.
First, it is voluntary and has been and is being
developed by those who will pay for it and be subject to
Secondly, being voluntary, it avoids the definition
and funding problems we have identified at paragraphs 33
onwards of our overview submissions lodged last week.
Voluntary regimes can be flexible on such matters.
To pick up a point that was discussed yesterday,
once statute intervenes to enforce or to encourage
participation, then it has to define who has to
participate in order not to be penalised. That gives
rise to a problem of definition, and if you resolve it
in a fashion that leaves out Internet competition, it
threatens to impose a competitive disadvantage of those
within the definition.
To be blunt, the position is that people may
volunteer for something which the Government cannot
fairly impose upon them.
Thirdly, any statute can be at risk of amendment and
of the misuse of delegated legislative powers. Ofcom
advised the Inquiry that this is a credible risk and the
material on the point is very well gathered in the
written submissions of Associated Newspapers from
paragraph 44 onwards, which we very gladly adopt on this
Fourthly, it does not require public funds. Even
Mr Jay's only "10 million" is hard to justify if there
is a self-funded scheme available.
Fifthly, it is flexible. It can respond to changes
in the news delivery market and it can be introduced
Sixthly, it will have teeth comparable to or sharper
than most press councils in the EU.
Seventhly, the annual reporting requirement is
a good idea, and will serve to raise standards.
For all those reasons, we support the PressBoF
proposals and we would add that in supporting that
approach, we suggest that Mr Sherborne exaggerated just
a little the power of the press when he spoke this
The press can gather information and it can publish
it, but it does not have compulsory powers to gather
information. It can't give orders, it can't send troops
to Afghanistan, it can't issue statutory notices, it
can't execute search warrants. It can only speak, and
in doing that it is in competition with broadcasters and
The power to speak is not an insignificant power,
but it's not an overweening one either, and the
regulation of that not so strong but very important
power should not be, and need not be, too heavy-handed.
Finally, we would add that whatever the regulatory
solution may be, lessons have been learned here. Such
statements are often met with a lift of the eyebrows,
but you heard yesterday from DAC Akers of the
co-operation given by the MSC to the Metropolitan
Police, of the instances where the MSC has carried out
investigations which have not been asked for by the
police and that the senior management and corporate
approach now is to assist and come clean.
Despite what Mr Sherborne said this morning, it is
a culture of clean-up which is now in place.
In that regard, Mr Sherborne also referred to the
question of email deletions. All I want to say about
that is that under the direction of the MSC, enormous
resources have been devoted to reconstituting email
databases and appropriate disclosures have been made to
Indeed, I think the Inquiry has heard in the past
of -- I forget how many millions of emails which have
been surveyed for the purpose, but the number is
In addition, Mr Rupert Murdoch made available to the
Inquiry as an exhibit to his witness statement
a detailed explanation of the position in relation to
the retention and deletion of emails by
News International. That statement was made by
Mr Cheesebrough, News International's chief information
officer. There are confidentiality limitations which
apply to its use, but the Inquiry has it.
One may add to those considerations the sober
reflections that the News of the World, a 168-year-old
paper, has been felled. The electronic cupboards have
been stripped bare. There have been a lot of arrests
and a host of civil claims. These are lessons that are
too severe to be forgotten, and News International is
determined not to have to learn them twice.
That is the ground I wanted to cover and what
I wanted to say, and it remains only for the
News International team, as those perhaps most
constantly present, to thank the Inquiry Team from top
to bottom for the courtesy with which the Inquiry has
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
This is an interesting moment. Save for a number of
what might be described as "loose ends" or "updates",
The gathering of formal evidence by the examination of
witnesses is now at an end. It only leaves me to thank
all those who have worked very hard to maintain the
timetable which has pressed upon us from start to
So I start by thanking all those who participated as
core participants, their legal teams, all those who, as
Mr Rhodri Davies has observed, work invisibly under the
surface as well as those who are visible, for doing what
they can to provide information timeously and ensure
that the Inquiry has kept on track.
I thank the Inquiry Team, Mr Jay, counsel and all
those who work as part of the team in a different part
of this building for their efforts, never-ending, again
to keep the Inquiry on track.
And I thank the press who have reported on the
Inquiry, either from here or in the marquee, for keeping
everybody informed as to what's gone on.
For most of you, I suppose, the task is now done and
you can move on to other productive work. For me and
for the team, however, we have only just started.
I will produce a report as soon as I reasonably can.
I recognise the urgency of the matter and the need to
provide my views for the consideration of the Government
and all those interested parties speedily, so that
decisions can be made as to the way forward.
As I have said, if anything happens over the next
months which I feel impacts on the work of the Inquiry,
I will not hesitate in bringing it up, and if that means
that we will rendezvous back in this room again, so be
it, but in the meantime, thank you all very much.
(The hearing concluded)