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Industry softens line on Royal Charter plan

Newspaper groups have softened their proposals for an alternative Royal Charter on press regulation by dropping a plan to give themselves a veto over appointments to a new watchdog.

The industry proposals were published last month as an alternative to the cross-party plan agreed with campaigners Hacked Off earlier this year.

However they attracted criticism for appearing to demand too much say over the make-up of the new watchdog, and three national newspapers – the Independent, the Guardian, and the Financial Times – refused to back the plans.

By agreeing to drop the veto provision, the publishers now hope to build wider industry support for the proposals and also head-off political objections.

Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent, commented: “With the veto the accusation could always be levelled that the press charter was not transparently independent,” he said.

In an agreed statement from the industry, Paul Vickers, group legal secretary of Trinity Mirror, said it would recommend “that the requirement for qualified majority voting on appointments to the board of the new regulator for the press be dropped… The appointments panel should make its decisions by consensus of its members”.