Richard Desmond's decision to pull his titles out of the Press Complaints Commission brings statutory regulation of newspapers and magazines a "step closer", the Culture Secretary said last night.
Jeremy Hunt criticised Desmond's Northern & Shell - publisher of the Express and Daily Star newspapers and a raft of celebrity magazines including OK! - for ending payments to the Press Standards Board of Finance, which in turn pays for the PCC.
"I would think the last thing he [Desmond] would want is statutory regulation and by undermining the system of self-regulation he risks bringing that a step closer," Hunt told an audience at the London School of Economics last night.
"I think it was a curious and regrettable decision."