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Press regulation must not cripple regionals says minister

A senior minister has pledged to ensure that any new system of press regulation does nnot “cripple” the regional press.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling is a member of the Privy Council committee of MPs tasked with looking at the industry’s proposed Royal Charter for press regulation, drawn up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

Speaking at a Newspaper Conference quarterly lunch this week, Mr Grayling said he didn’t believe the regional press should sit outside a new regulatory regime.

But he added:  “but equally what we’ve got try and do is make sure that we don’t create a system that cripples regional press as well.”

Asked by Newspaper Society director David Newell when the sub committee was likely to report, Mr Grayling responded: “I’m not actually sure about the planned timing. We’ve all looked quite carefully at the detail, we want to take a decision sooner rather than later.

“It’s a complicated issue for obvious reasons.”

“We are trying to steer the ship as smoothly as we can. I couldn’t honestly give you a definite date but I would expect us to have a report produced sooner rather than later.”

At the lunch, Mr Grayling spoke to regional press political editors and correspondents about a wide variety of issues including cuts to legal aid, the prison service, and the Syria crisis.