Gushing UK papers laud PM Cameron's stance on press law

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:54pm EST
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By Kate Holton and Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron woke on Friday to find usually hostile newspapers gushing about his statesman-like qualities after he signaled his opposition to a new law governing the press.

After his party suffered a night of humiliation in three parliamentary by-elections, instead of facing questions over his leadership, he was cheered for rejecting the main plank of proposals from a public inquiry he set up in the wake of outrage at the excesses of tabloid newspapers.

Under a headline over two pages lauding "Cameron's Stand for Freedom", the right-wing Daily Mail said a "Defiant PM" had refused to accept the call for laws to control the press.

"To his enormous credit, however, David Cameron sees this report for what it is - a mortal threat to the British people's historic right to know," it said in its editorial.

"If he prevails in protecting that right, with the help of like-minded freedom lovers in the Commons and Lords, he will earn a place of honor in our history."

The Daily Telegraph, another right-leaning newspaper that has been far from fulsome in its support for Cameron, said the unexpected decision had revealed his leadership and acceptance that press freedom was "a constitutional necessity".

"He has answered the hopes of a Conservative Party that sometimes wonders what he stands for," the paper said in a commentary piece on its front page.

Cameron's clear sign he would reject the main recommendation of the report from Lord Justice Brian Leveson followed a year-long inquiry that heard in unflinching detail from celebrities, victims of crime and others who said the notoriously aggressive press had ruined their lives.   Continued...

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks about Lord Justice Brian Leveson's report on media practices in Parliament in this still image taken from video in London November 29, 2012. REUTERS/UK Parliament/Pool