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Desmond has brought statutory regulation closer, says Jeremy Hunt

Culture secretary criticises Express publisher's decision to withdraw from the Press Complaints Comm

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."

Full story at the Press Gazette