Do the right thing, Gerry McCann tells politicians

If Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations on Press regulation are not implemented, giving evidence to his inquiry would have been “almost useless”, Madeleine McCann’s father said yesterday.

Gerry McCann urged politicians to “do the right thing” and accept in full the suggestions for a new regulatory system.

The coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine, who went missing while on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007, was given by Lord Justice Leveson as an example of how stories ran “totally out of control”.

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Giving evidence to the inquiry last year, Kate McCann said she felt like “climbing into a hole and not coming out” after the News of the World printed her intensely personal diary, started after her daughter disappeared.

Speaking yesterday in the wake of the Leveson report, her husband urged David Cameron to implement its recommendations for a new regulatory system underpinned by statute, saying if he did not their evidence would have been almost useless.

“I think the only reason we went to Leveson was to affect change and if Leveson’s report isn’t implemented in full then I would say that giving evidence for all of the victims has been almost useless,” he told the Press Association.

“For almost all the victims, the reason they were there was to stop other, ordinary people who were caught up in the most unfortunate circumstances suffering unnecessarily beyond what’s happened to them.

“And I feel if Leveson is implemented we will be some way on that route. The jury will still be out of course, to it working in practice, but we will certainly be a few steps further forward.”

He said he was not expecting an “immediate response suggesting it would be implemented in full”, but said there was an onus on politicians.

“Our politicians have now got the ability to do the right thing, and the right thing is to implement in full,” Mr McCann said.

“And I think the MPs have an opportunity to redeem themselves a little bit with the public by accepting this.”