Bolton West MP backs local newspapers

Bolton West MP Chris Green is backing local newspapers’ right to investigate in the face of a proposed law change which could see the press hit with huge legal fees – even if they win court challenges.

The government are consulting on Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which would mean that newspapers would be obliged to pay the legal costs of anybody who would sue the for libel, even if the judge ruled that the story was accurate.

The MP is encouraging anyone who values a free press to respond to the consultation ahead of next week’s deadline.

Chris said: “Local papers play a key role in democracy and if this new rule is brought in, it could seriously undermine our free press.

“Following the phone hacking scandal at a number of tabloid papers, we have made changes and we’re in a better place than we were before. Section 40 goes too far and would effectively stop our fantastic local papers from investigating important stories. One big legal bill could shut any local paper down.

“If you value a free press, please do make your views known in this consultation.”

To take part in the consultation, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-leveson-inquiry-and-its-implementation, email presspolicy@culture.gov.uk or write to Press Policy, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 4th floor, 100 Parliament St, London SW1A 2BQ.  The consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday January 6.