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By Peter Hoskin
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Here
is something that’s become clearer today: the Leveson Report will mean a tricky
game of Parliamentary politics for David Cameron. There are — as a comparison
of the letter signed by 42 Tory parliamentarians last
night
with the one signed by 42 Tory MPs a
few weeks ago
suggests — strong differences of opinion within his own
party. And there are strong differences outside it, too. It’s emerged
this afternoon
that Nick Clegg is looking into making a separate statement
to the House after Mr Cameron’s tomorrow, just in case the two men cannot agree
on a unified Government response to Leveson’s recommendations. It may not come
to that, but it’s another sign of how fissiparous this whole matter threatens
to be.

All
of which raises questions about Cameron’s statement tomorrow. If he does manage
to produce a detailed Government (or even just Tory leadership) response to the
Leveson Report, how will that square with the offer he made
in PMQs
to “work across party lines on this issue”? There is, after all, a
good chance that Ed Miliband and the Labour party — let alone huge portions of
the Tory party — would disagree with that response. Whereas if Cameron sticks
to easy generalities, so that he doesn’t alienate the rest of Parliament, the
question immediately changes to this: how long will it take for him to carve
out a position that’s amenable to all, or at least to the majority?

In
either case, I wouldn’t place money on a speedy resolution.

Update: The Spectator's James Forsyth has more here, including:

"I’m informed by someone involved in the coalition negotiations on the issue that the reason the Liberal Democrats want to be able to make their own statement on the Leveson Report is that they intend to back the rapid creation of a statutory back-stop for newspaper regulation. By contrast, I hear that Davud Cameron doesn’t want to back any press law, at least for now."

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