As I have written and said before, I am a free speech absolutist and believe passionately in the ability of everyone to air their views as they see fit.

I’ve also written before about my abject horror at section 40 of the Crime & Courts Act – passed in Levensonmania, when the whole country momentarily allowed Hugh Grant’s unchecked libido persuade them that free speech is a bad thing.

Section 40 allows the Government to require newspapers to sign up to quite draconian regulation or face having to pay defamation claimants’ legal costs even if they’re found not to have done anything wrong. I wrote a brief response to the Government consultation.

As such, I was delighted that the Conservative manifesto included two provisions on press freedom:

  1. Ruling out ‘Leveson 2’, which would further cripple our free press.
  2. Pledging to repeal Section 40.

This is great news for the UK’s free and fearless press, and for the democracy that rests on it. There are plenty of reasons why I will be proud to vote Conservative on 8th June, but the party’s commitment to freedom of the press is certainly one of the top ones. It is a disgrace that the so-called ‘Liberal’ ‘Democrats’ make such a mockery of their name by refusing to stand up for the free press.

But as Conservatives, we should ensure that our commitment is made permanent and strengthened, so that the UK remains a bastion of free speech, diversity of opinions, and robust democracy.