READING East MP and former journalist Matt Rodda voted FOR the Data Protection Bill which could have crippled the local newspaper industry, it has been revealed.

The 51-year-old Labour Party member was one of 295 MPS who voted in favour of a motion to create a new law, known in the industry as ‘Section 40-style costs sanctions’.

Had the bill been passed, it would have sparked a vast and sprawling inquiring into the media industry which would have drained taxpayer resources.

Section 40 means that, even if a court found every word printed by a newspaper was true and accurate, the paper would be forced to cover all costs of the claimant, estimated at a minimum of £15,000 on one baseless claim.

The only way to avoid the costs would be for local newspapers to sign up to a state-backed regulator.

However, the attempt was thrown out after a narrow majority of MPS voted against the proposals.

Conservative Party members Alok Sharma (Reading West), John Redwood (Wokingham), Philip Lee (Bracknell) and Richard Benyon (West Berkshire) all voted against the bill.

Rodda, who took his seat in Parliament in 2017, is a former journalist who worked for publications like the Coventry Telegraph and The Independent. He specialised in education reporting.

He has been contacted for a comment.

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