REDDITCH MP Rachel Maclean has thrown her support behind the local press after voting against amendments to the Data Protection Bill which would have restricted press freedom in the UK.
Last week, the Data Protection Bill was approved by MPs and is a significant piece of legislation that prepares Britain for the future as part of the digital age.
The Data Protection Bill will ensure the UK has one of the most robust and dynamic set of data laws in the world.
Residents will be given more control over their data because of the Bill which sets out new rules for how individual personal information data, including names, addresses, emails and credit card information, are used and stored by third parties, including companies.
Although Mrs Maclean voted in favour of the Bill, she voted against amendments which called for the launch of the Leveson Inquiry Part 2 and an amendment which could have meant newspapers paying both sides’ legal bills, even in cases where a newspaper won the case.
The amendments would have also restricted the press from carrying out high quality investigative journalism.
“Our town’s newspapers do a brilliant job in holding me, the local councils, Government, public organisations and businesses to account.
“Although I do not always agree with what I read in the local press, I will always defend press freedom and I believe these proposed amendments would have undermined press freedoms to an unacceptable level.
“There would also be no benefit to launching Leveson Part 2 as it has been called. Doing so would have been costly and would also have ignored the substantial changes in press regulation that have taken place since the first Leveson Report was published.
“Of course, I have every sympathy for victims of past bad behaviour from the press, including the victims of phone hacking. Phone hacking is already illegal and Leveson isn’t going to change that. I believe opening up Leveson Part 2 would not heal old wounds, nor would it be the answer to any future wrongdoing.
“The Data Protection Bill will continue to ensure the UK is a world leader in data protection, whilst giving people more power over their lives online.”