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Tory leader calls for respect between press and Parliament

This year’s annual lunch run by the Journalists’ Charity welcomed David Cameron as its guest speaker. Here, holdthefrontpage journalist Tamlyn Jones reports some of the key issues raised by the Tory leader.

A new relationship of respect between the press and MPs would suit David Cameron very nicely.

And the Tory leader is keen to foster the continuing good work of newspapers but would love to see an end to over-sensationalist journalism.

These were just two of the issues raised by Mr Cameron during his speech at the charity’s annual lunch in London.

He said: “I think the relationship between the press and politicians should be edgy and stormy but never cosy.

“But I worry about where it could go wrong. There’s a danger of it being over-sensationalist.

“We need to get on the right path of a shared respect. And Parliament has got to stop seeing itself through rose-tinted glasses.”

He praised the press’ role in campaigning journalism and cited examples such as the exposure of the ITV phones scandal.

“We need to recognise that is the press doing a public duty,” he added.

“But they need to recognise the good stuff from Parliament.”

Around 90 delegates from all sections of the media industry gathered to hear the Conservatives’ top man talk briefly about the press before taking questions from the floor.

One guest asked Mr Cameron if he thought it was The Sun or the Daily Mail that was his new friend in the bid to win votes.

He said: “I don’t think we’re in the territory of one paper winning elections for a party. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

“I’d like all papers to support the Tories but you cannot complain about editorial decisions.”

Mr Cameron was also asked about self-regulation and the role of the Press Complaints Commission, a subject he knows much about after Carlton TV was fined £2m while he was director of corporate affairs at Carlton Communications.

He said: “I do support self-regulation. Both personally and as a politician, I have learned some things going through the PCC.

“All the time we have to think how we can improve it to make it better. We have to have public confidence (in the PCC).

  • Mr Cameron was introduced by chairman of the Journalists’ Charity Robert Warren.

    Mr Warren spoke briefly about the success of the charity, including the opening of Pickering House residential home last year.

    But he also said the charity was facing a loss of around £38,000 for this financial year. The charity is hoping to raise around £1.5m over the coming year.

  • Comments

    Paul (10/03/2008 18:18:51)
    OK, Dave, promise us meaningful reform of the libel laws and improve FOI laws.
    Then let’s talk respect, yeah?