HC Deb 25 January 1993 vol 217 cc702-3
12. Mr. Jim Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement on the findings of the Calcutt report.

Mr. Brooke

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Walsall, North.

Mr. Marshall

It is good to renew my acquaintance with the Secretary of State across the Chamber. Does he accept that although many of us are appalled from time to time by the arrogance and lack of sensitivity of some sections of the tabloid press, that should not be used as an excuse or reason to curb the legitimate activities of the press in exposing hypocrisy and wrong-doing in society, especially if it is perceived as protecting the highest in society?

Will the right hon. Gentleman urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to introduce value added tax on newsprint in the forthcoming Budget?

Mr. Brooke

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he began his question. Sir David Calcutt's report, which we published on 14 January, made it clear that the investigation of crime and of individuals in the context of the nature of the job that they do would be perfectly proper defences against the additional offences that he suggested. However, he also made it clear in the report that his concern was the privacy of everyone in the land and that there were a considerable number of cases in which the privacy of private individuals not engaged in the type of jobs to which the hon. Gentleman referred was also being intruded on.

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