In a statement to Parliament, Mr. Cameron opposed Leveson’s recommendation, telling fellow MPs: "For the first time we would have crossed the Rubicon, writing elements of press regulation into the law of the land.”
“We should, I believe, be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press. In this House – which has been a bulwark of democracy for centuries – we should think very, very carefully before crossing this line.”
Change of tune
But less than two hours after Cameron said he was "wary" of Parliament making new laws on the issue, Mr. Clegg stood up to declare that legislation was the "only way" to ensure the independence of the regulator.
The body language was striking as he spoke. Sitting beside him, the prime minister remained stiff-jawed while across the floor of the House of Commons, Clegg’s nominal opponent, Labour leader Ed Miliband, nodded his head vigorously in agreement with the Liberal Democrat leader’s view that Britain’s first press law since 1695.
"On the basic model of a new, self-regulatory body established with a change to the law, in principle I believe this can be done in a proportionate and workable way," added Clegg.