§ 33. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to prevent the payment by news media to such persons as those known, or reasonably expected to be witnesses in criminal proceedings already begun, for information connected with those proceedings or those engaged in crime or notorious misbehaviour.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The Press Council issued a declaration of principle in 1966 that such payments should not be made and I understand that it is currently reviewing the situation in the light of the arrest and trial of Peter Sutcliffe. Legislation would present considerable problems of definition and enforcement, and our present view is that it is preferable to rely on voluntary observance of the Press Council guidelines.