One of the final arbiters of press regulation in this country is likely to be a former military intelligence officer who once successfully sued a British media organisation for reporting that he was part of an SAS operation training allies of the dictator Pol Pot in Cambodia. The libel trial was halted after the then defence secretary granted authority for gagging orders – public interest immunity certificates – preventing evidence about the security services from being disclosed to the court.
Too far fetched, even in the feverish world of post-Leveson wranglings? Alas not. Under any proposal for a press royal charter, the ultimate fate of media regulation would be the subject of private conversations between the head of the privy council (Nick Clegg) and the aforesaid individual – Sir Christopher Geidt, private secretary to the Queen (and, inevitably, himself a member of the privy council).