§ Mr. Wellbeloved
asked the Prime Minister whether he will invite either the Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life or the Royal Commission on the Press to investigate the prevalence of the use by newspapers of financial or other inducements to procure the unauthorised disclosure of information by officials of public services and bodies—including local government and nationalised industry employees—and by employees of industrial and commercial concerns.102W
§ The Prime Minister
I know that many people are concerned about the practice of "cheque book journalism"—for example, substantial payments by newspapers to persons charged with criminal offences, or associates of those persons, for exclusive rights in feature articles about their experiences—as well as about practices of the kind referred to by my hon. Friend. The Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life will be able to consider the question of payments by newspapers to officials of public services and bodies. But, as my hon. Friend recognises, this is not a problem confined to the public sector, and these practices raise issues of public interest in relation to the editorial standards of newspapers and periodicals. These are therefore matters in which the Royal Commission on the Press will be able to make inquiries, and to make any recommendations it sees fit.