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Section 40 will destroy local press, warns defence secretary

Gavin_WilliamsonDefence secretary Gavin Williamson has reiterated the government’s opposition to a move by peers to introduce sanctions on newspapers that refuse to sign-up to a state-sponsored regulator.

The House of Lords recently voted to include a clause in the Data Protection Bill similar to the infamous Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which would force newspapers who did not sign-up to a state-approved watchdog to pay both sides’ costs in a libel or privacy action.

Ministers have vowed to overturn the provision, and now Mr Williamson, left, has become the latest Cabinet Minister to voice his opposition to the proposal.

In an interview with his local newspaper, the Express & Star, he warned that the implementation of Section 40 would “destroy” local newspapers.

Mr Williamson said: “All Section 40 is going to do is destroy the local press and take away a local voice for so many people around the country.

“That is why it is vital we get rid of Section 40 and ensure we give local newspapers the opportunity to dig out the facts that need to be revealed.

“Anyone who voted for Section 40 is voting to get rid of their local newspaper.”

Prime Minister Theresa May, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and Environment Secretary Michael Gove have all stated their intention to ensure that the vote, which also included backing for a wide-ranging inquiry into the media, would be overturned.


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  • January 26, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Gavin Williamson’s a bit late climbing on the bandwagon.
    Where was he when ‘right first time’, subbing units, bad management and mass redundancies began the destruction process?

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  • January 29, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    How typical of an un-elected, undemocratic chamber to try to stifle Press freedoms.
    Thank goodness common sense seems to be prevailing at last amongst the Government.
    The House of Lords contains more dinosaurs than the British Museum, it should be abolished and replaced with a truly democratic upper chamber. But since it is stuffed with former MPs of all denominations, I won’t be holding my breath.
    Meantime let’s hope this disgraceful clause gets consigned to the dustbin where it belongs.
    Amanda Brodie
    Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

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