LORD Leveson’s call for the state to oversee press regulation risks “political interference” Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has warned.

After reading last Thursday’s long-awaited report, the Conservative said the press should have two months to prove itself.

Lord Leveson recommended a new independent self-regulatory body but overseen by a Government-appointed body like Ofcom.

Sir Tony, right, said: “When one has the Secretary of State involved, they are by definition politicians and that always provides the possibility of political controversy – however unjustified and however unwarranted – but that controversy can of itself undermine confidence.”

But he said: “From the hyperbole being used in the newspapers and on websites and by various campaigning groups, one would have thought this is either the worst thing to hit the free Press since the Crown ordered the destruction of printing presses, burning heretical Bibles, on the one hand to a total and comprehensive betrayal of the victims of press abuse on the other.”

The Government should give the press to the end of January to work on a system “that has the potential to deliver public confidence” he said.

County Tory MPs John Howell and Nicola Blackwood back Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron’s concerns over state involvement. Labour Oxford East MP Andrew Smith supported Leveson’s “well reasoned” recommendations.