St Albans MP Anne Main speaks out for press freedom

PUBLISHED: 17:03 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 28 February 2018

Anne Main in Parliament.

Anne Main in Parliament.

Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has spoken out in favour of a free media after a press-regulation campaigner was accused of racism.

Apart from being a former motorsports president, Max Mosley has campaigned for stricter privacy laws after News of the World wrongfully published details of an alleged Nazi sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes. He sued the paper and won.

He has funded a state-regulator called Impress, which claims to be more compliant with the terms of the Leveson Inquiry than the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

The Daily Mail today published an article claiming to have evidence of Mr Mosley being racist from archives in Manchester.

A campaign leaflet from the 60s, backing his father, allegedly says that “coloured immigration” spreads “tuberculosis, VD and other terrible diseases like leprosy”.

Anne Main asked Prime Minister Theresa May: “A free, independent press is vital to our country. Does my right hon. Friend share my concerns about the links that Max Mosley has with Impress, and his links with some of our leading politicians?”

She answered: “[A] free press is very important: it underpins our democracy.

“Whatever those in the press say about us and whatever they write about us, it is important that they are able to hold politicians and the powerful to account and shine a light in some of the darkest corners of our society, and while I am Prime Minister, that will never change.”

In the last parliament, Mrs Main opposed attempts to muzzle the free press by tabling an early day motion in parliament stating that state-regulation would create “a chilling effect on journalism and would stifle investigative journalism”.

During her campaign last year, she said: “For over 300 years a free press has been uncovering injustices in the public interest.

“Having a non-state regulated press is one of the hallmarks of being British, and demonstrates the value that we attach to free speech.

“We have some of the best journalists and publications in the world who rely on their freedoms to do their work. By having state regulation, you are potentially leaving the door open to free speech being curtailed by the whim of the political weather.”

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