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MP condemns supporters of Royal Charter

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

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A Westcountry MP has criticised other Members of Parliament for their "dubious" support of a state-sanctioned press regulator, following scandals involving politicians.

Former journalist Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset, warned of the "chilling effect" on the free press of the Government's proposed Royal Charter.

The Dorset MP, a print and broadcast reporter for 17 years, was among 15 Conservative MPs who voted against the plan in Parliament.

"The motivation of some of my colleagues is dubious, to say the least," he said in a debate he secured in Westminster Hall.

"The sharpening of axes has been heard for some time. Cash for questions, cash for honours, cash for lobbying, mortgage flipping, duck houses, moat cleaning – the list goes on."

Mr Drax also referred to comments made by the editor of The Spectator magazine, who said calls from MPs suggesting comments should be removed "increased markedly" after the Leveson report. "That is precisely the chilling effect that I and many others feared and have warned against," Mr Drax said.

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