YOU would expect a newspaper editorial to welcome news that a second public inquiry into the conduct of the press – promised at the height of the hacking scandal – has been abandoned by the Government. But here at The Northern Echo we say: “bring it on, we have nothing to hide”.

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, has decided that the Leveson2 probe into the relationship between journalists and the police was no longer necessary and would be a waste of time and public money. Fair enough. Brexit, maintaining peace in Northern Ireland, and the mounting NHS crisis, are all demanding Theresa May’s attention so it is no surprise that the matter has been taken off the Government’s “must do” list.

Newspapers are winning the war against fake news but the issue of press freedom has become a party political battle which threatens to set us back. Jeremy Corbyn warns that ‘change is coming’ to curb the influence of anti-Labour tabloids. Tackling the perceived bias of a tiny number of national titles cannot be allowed to hamper the efforts of local papers fighting to uphold democracy.

The Echo continues to hold those in power to account. Some of our reporters had their phones unlawfully monitored by Cleveland Police after we threatened to uncover yet another scandal on the force. No one could accuse this newspaper of cosying up to the police.

We don’t need Leveson2 to prove what we are doing is in the public interest but if that’s what it takes to reassure people then let the probe continue.