Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at a press conference at the Royal Festival Hall, will say: 

Six days since the revelations about the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, we have seen dramatic events like the closure of the News of the World and further arrests. 

Above all, we know the people in our country want to see real change to ensure these abuses by parts of the press never happen again.

The task of political leaders now is to have a clear focus on what matters, and the decisions required to usher in the change we need.

So what do we need to do? 

First, on the judge-led inquiry.

We need to make sure that it is set up immediately. Any less means there is a risk that evidence will be destroyed. 

As soon as an inquiry is established, tampering or destruction of any documents becomes a criminal offence.

And that includes any relevant documents in No10 Downing Street and Conservative HQ.

The inquiry should be set up under the Inquiries Act so it can compel witnesses to attend.

And the inquiry must have the right terms of reference covering all the key issues including the culture and practices of the newspaper industry and the relationship between the police and certain newspapers. 

Neither of these appears to be in the Prime Minister's current terms of reference. And I’m determined to put that right. 

If the investigation does not get to these issues, like the alleged paying of police officers for information or the culture of the industry, we cannot be sure we get the change we need.

Put simply, the Government is dragging its feet and is still showing it does not understand the gravity of this scandal and the scale of public concern.

David Cameron needs to get a move on.

Second, on BSkyB.

Last Wednesday the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions told me a referral to the Competition Commission was not the right way forward.

On Friday, he continued to express belief in that process.

Yesterday I made clear that we would force a vote in the House of Commons this Wednesday because I did not believe that the Culture Secretary could proceed with the current process which relies on assurances from News Corporation.

I do not believe he should be relying on assurances from News Corporation given recent developments.

The head of the PCC says she was lied to by News International. 

James Murdoch has admitted serious wrongdoing at News International. 

And there are now allegations that News International knew that phone hacking was widespread as long ago as 2007.

The Government, having repeatedly said there was no alternative to their flawed process, now appears to be moving towards my position. 

They are doing it not because they want to, but because they have been forced to. 

Let me be clear: this chaos and confusion in government is all of their own making.

They should never have embarked on this sort of process.

It is important to remember the original recommendation from Ofcom was for a referral to the Competition Commission. We supported that 

But Mr Hunt ignored that advice.

Whatever the twists and turns of the government, I will accept nothing less than some straight talking that this bid will not proceed until after the criminal investigation is complete.

Third, I do believe that we can move forward with reform of the system of self-regulation.

It is important at a time like this that we do not rush to statutory regulation of the press.

That is why I said on Friday that my instincts remain to continue with self-regulation. 

But it must be on a different basis from the past in three particular respects:

Greater independence of the Board from current editors. 

Clear investigatory powers to ensure effective scrutiny.

And the ability to enforc e corrections of suitable prominence.

It is in the interests of the vast majority of decent people in the newspaper industry that editors and proprietors take the initiative to lead this response.

Fourth, it is imperative that David Cameron now comes clean on the increasing number of questions surrounding his appointment of Andy Coulson.

On Friday at his press conference, David Cameron said and I quote "no one gave me any specific
information" which might have dissuaded him from appointing Andy Coulson.

Yet the Guardian newspaper says it had discussions with Steve Hilton, his senior aide, detailing the facts about Andy Coulson’s decision to rehire Jonathan Rees, a convicted criminal.

According to The Guardian, these included the fact that Rees had been jailed for seven years for a criminal conspiracy, after which he had been rehired by Coulson's News of the World.

And the fact that Rees's illegal activities on behalf of the News of the World included making payments to police.

This information was passed by Steve Hilton to the Prime Minister's chief of staff Ed Llewellyn.

You cannot get more specific information than this.

The Prime Minister must now explain. 

Did Ed Llewellyn tell him about this evidence and did he ignore it?

Or did Mr Llewellyn fail to tell him about this?

Either people have been misled about what Mr Cameron knew or Mr Llewellyn has completely failed in his duties. 

Mr Cameron must now answer these and other questions including the warnings he apparently received from Paddy Ashdown and Nick Clegg.

Unless he can explain what happened with Mr Coulson and apologise for his terrible error in appointing him, his reputation and that of his government will be permanently tarnished. 

I say this finally: The Prime Minister made an important statement at a press conference on Friday.

It is duty to also come to the House of Commons and explain himself.

People expect him to start showing the leadership on this issue that has been so completely lacking so far.



Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech