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JOHN HUMPHRYS: Good afternoon. Are we
about to pay to use our roads? That's what the Government's being told
should happen and we'll be asking if they'll get away with it. Has the
Government been getting its foreign policy from the Conservatives? I'll
be talking to the Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram. Labour's backbenchers
tell us that Tony Blair's got a fight on his hands if he wants to back
President Bush in more wars on terrorism. And we'll be talking to the politician
who uncovered what Mr Blair calls "garbage-gate". That's after the news
read by Darren Jordan.
HUMPHRYS: Tony Blair's been standing
shoulder to shoulder with George Bush ... but his backbench MP's have told
this programme they'll not be giving him a blank cheque in future.
DONALD ANDERSON: We know that there isstill a
special relationship but that should not be taken for granted.
HUMPHRYS: The Government's being advised
to make us pay when we use the roads. Will the public - let alone the
politicians - wear it?
We'll also be talking
to the Welsh politician who exposed the way Tony Blair helped a foreign
Labour Party donor buy the steel industry in Romania.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: But first, there's been
a flurry of diplomatic activity this week. The government has agreed to
sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his henchmen in Zimbabwe. The Foreign
Secretary has spelled out how he thinks the ambitions of the European Union
should be limited. And the row rumbles on over the future of Gibraltar
and Britain's negotiations with Spain. Might there be a curious sort of
link between all three? Well, if you look at the Conservative Party's
approach to each of them, you may find they're remarkably similar to Labour's.
What's going on here? Well, the Shadow Foreign Secretary (and deputy leader
of the Conservative Party) is Michael Ancram.
Good afternoon Mr Ancram.
MICHAEL ANCRAM MP: Good afternoon.
HUMPHRYS: Good week in a sense
isn't it. I mean here we've got the government, British government and
the European Union on Zimbabwe agreeing to implement precisely the sorts
of sanctions that you have been suggesting that they should. There is a
sort of link here isn't there.
ANCRAM: Well there's a link
but only in the sense that I asked for these sanctions to be at least threatened,
if not imposed, three months' ago when they might have had greater effective
in ensuring that there was a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. I wanted
to see them imposed before voter registration took place, before the levels
of intimidation which have driven people out of constituencies was allowed
to happen, but you know, I suppose better late than never. But what we've
got to make sure now, is that Mr Mugabe realises even at this late date,
that if the elections are not free and fair, then this isn't a short two
week sanction campaign, but the pressure will continue on him until something
is done about his regime.
HUMPHRYS: Well, we heard the opposition
leader in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai saying this morning, it should have
happened, they should have happened six months' ago and the elections cannot
now - cannot be free and fair given everything that's happened. Do you
agree with that?
ANCRAM: I think that's probably
right. I mean certainly Francis Maude my predecessor was calling for these
sanctions a year ago and I think it's quite extraordinary that we've had
this unforgivable dithering since then, being told that these sanctions
were inappropriate and then suddenly finding with three weeks to go before
the election that they are imposed. But what I think is important, is if
we are going to see elections which are not free and fair, if we are going
to see the continued imposition of what I believe is a fascist state in
that part of Southern Africa, then we have to make it absolutely clear
that that is unacceptable, unacceptable within Southern Africa, unacceptable
to the international community as well. I would like to see an international
coalition come together now, which will make it clear to President Mugabe
that his type of regime and his type of behaviour simply will not be tolerated.
HUMPHRYS: So for a start, given
that there's no way these elections are going to be free and fair, we should
not be, Britain in particular since the rest of the Commonwealth will do
what it wishes to do of course, but we should not be welcoming Robert Mugabe
at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting next week?
ANCRAM: I think given what he's
doing at the moment, I think that's absolutely right. I think he must be
made to understand that if he continues with the sort of behaviour that
he's been pursuing, then he is going to become an international pariah
in terms of the way that other countries deal with him. The whole idea
of targeted sanctions is to bring it home personally to him and personalities
within his regime that you cannot dismantle democracy in the way that he's
doing. You can't get rid of press freedom, you can't treat your political
opponents by detaining them, by torturing them, in some cases by murdering
them and get away with it. And that's the message that he must get loud
and clear from every quarter now.
HUMPHRYS: So, if he tries to go
to that meeting and of course there's no guarantee that he will, they reckon
it's about fifty/fifty, the meeting in Australia, the Heads of Government
meeting, what should we do? Should we try to stop him, or if he does go,
should we snub him or what? - what should we do?
ANCRAM: Well, I hope if he does
go that he will be firmly snubbed but this is again a test of the Commonwealth.
I was very disappointed the other day that the Commonwealth decided or
the CMAG decided not to...
HUMPHRYS: CMAG - you'll have to
ANCRAM: That's the management group
within the Commonwealth, they met the other day in London and Jack Straw
again, very belatedly asked them to consider expelling Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth and they decided not to do so. I was very disappointed in
that, I think it gave totally the wrong message to Mr Mugabe. I would like
to see the Commonwealth now showing that they have got teeth, that they
are prepared to deal with the sort of behaviour that we are seeing from
President Mugabe in Zimbabwe as part of the Commonwealth, that they will
make it clear that he is no longer welcome at their table.
HUMPHRYS: And as far as expelling
him, it seems unlikely, the Commonwealth has already made it clear what
it thinks about that, bearing in mind how many African members there are,
it's not going to expel him. In that event, given that..well you may
disagree with that, but let me just finish the question if I may, in that
event, what sort of unilateral action could this country take?
ANCRAM: I don't think it's a question
of unilateral action. I think what we have to see now is the building of
a coalition which would include obviously the United States, would include
I hope, the European Union as well, ourselves and ideally also the countries
around Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, to make it clear to Mr Mugabe that
he cannot continue down the path that he has set himself. We are now seeing
very frightening signs that he is putting his country in hock to President
Gaddafi in Libya. There are all the signs that this could be an incipient
rogue state which will bring all sorts of dire consequences, not just to
Southern Africa but more internationally as well. The International Community
has to come together now to make it quite clear that they are prepared
to take action if necessary to stop this happening.
HUMPHRYS: But what kind of action.
I mean we are not talking here about military action, I mean obviously
Washington is prepared to talk about military action with regard to other
countries but you wouldn't countenance something like that would you. I
mean, obviously we can withdraw recognition of Zimbabwe but what else,
withdrawn recognition again, he'll probably just shrug his shoulders and
say 'you know they are just colonialists, what the hell'.
ANCRAM: Well, I think it's very
important to remember, Zimbabwe is a land locked country, there are many
things that can be done to Zimbabwe to make it realise it is dependent
on its neighbours....
HUMPHRYS: Well, we did it to Ian
Smith didn't we?
ANCRAM: Yes, absolutely, but I
mean what you need to make sure is that if you are going to use that type
of action, it has to be consistent and it has to be water tight. I've talked
to countries around Zimbabwe, particularly the Foreign Minister of Botswana
when he was in London the other day, he made it clear to me they are very
concerned by what's happening in Zimbabwe, it's effecting their economy,
if there really was a breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe then they
would be flooded by refugees from Zimbabwe and so would South Africa, the
Rand is under severe pressure because of what's happening. There are all
the reasons there for making sure that swift action is taken, firm action
is taken and that Mr Mugabe's regime is not allowed to continue in the
way it is at the moment.
HUMPHRYS: So there is argument
then, you think for effectively blockading Zimbabwe in the way we did when
it was Rhodesia and Ian Smith declared UDI?
ANCRAM: I don't think we should
rule anything in or anything out. What we have to do is to make sure that
Mr Mugabe knows that he can no longer get away with what he's been doing.
My concern over the last six months has been that we've talked tough and
then done nothing. But we kept on making noises, like Tony Blair talked
about not tolerating Mr Mugabe and his henchmen's behaviour last year at
the Labour Party Conference. And I think we do have to make it absolutely
clear that from now on we mean business, that what we say we're going to
do we do, and that he can't get away with it.
HUMPHRYS: I don't know whether
you can still hear me alright, are you alright with that ear-piece? I'll
give you just a second to try and fit it back in.
ANCRAM: I think it's pretty well
back in. I can hear you.
HUMPHRYS: Good alright, it's always
a pain when they come out. But military, you said you wouldn't rule anything
in and anything out. Presumably you would rule out some sort of military
intervention, or would you not?
HUMPHRYS: Well, I think you have
to look at all the options. It may well be in the interest of countries
in Southern Africa to take action which it might be more difficult for
the international community at a greater distance to take, but when you
do build an international coalition the important thing, as we've learnt
over the last six months, is to look at all the options, to have all the
options available and to use those which are going to be most effective
in achieving your objective. I heard you talking earlier about Iraq and
what might happen there. Exactly the same criteria apply in that area as
well as I believe apply in Zimbabwe.
HUMPHRYS: Alright, let's turn from
Zimbabwe to Gibraltar. Now you seem to think - your party seems to think
it's outrageous that the British government should be negotiating with
Gibraltar over - with Spain over a degree of sovereignty, over the issue
of British sovereignty and yet you, your party actually instigated this
whole process didn't you. I mean you began it, what was it called, the
1984 Brussels process. I've been reading a bit of history this morning.
You can hardly whinge about it now when you set it all up!
ANCRAM: I'm not whinging about
the process, I'm whinging about what I believe the government is doing
with the process. What concerns me at the moment is it appears that almost
a deal has been done already with the Spanish government to come to an
agreement to share sovereignty over the rock, and then if the people of
Gibraltar vote against that, to have that agreement if you like on the
shelf, hanging over the people of Gibraltar like a sword of Damocles.
I believe that that is a very dangerous route to take. I think that as
we learnt in Northern Ireland, if you're going to get an agreement to stick
you have to make sure that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed
in a proper referendum. The idea that you can have if you like, a sort
of a side agreement between the ....between the Spanish government and
the British government about sovereignty, I think that undermines not only
the whole basis of the - what's known as the Brussels process, but also
betrays the interests of people in Gibraltar who, I think we owe our loyalty
to them, they've been very loyal to us in the past, we must make sure at
least we play fair by them.
HUMPHRYS: But do you really think
that is what the government is proposing, some sort of side agreement,
some sort of selling out of the people of Gibraltar?
ANCRAM: It's not what I think,
they've effectively admitted that they are working towards an agreement
with the Spanish government and that if that agreement is not endorsed
by the people of Gibraltar they will nevertheless have that there on the
side to be returned to in the future if necessary.
ANCRAM: Now, I think that undermines
the whole concept of a democratic and free decision being taken by the
people of Gibraltar, which is what after all we promised them.
HUMPHRYS: Well, let me quote you
what Baroness Symons, Foreign Office Minister said, exactly the opposite
of that "Anything which affects the sovereignty of the people of Gibraltar
will be put to them in a referendum. I do not want to mince around with
terms such as legal sovereignty or how we define it. I say that anything
which affects the sovereignty will be put to them". Couldn't be more clear
ANCRAM: Absolutely. In terms of
what is implemented, but what I do know is that if an agreement is reached
between the Spanish government and the British government about sovereignty
and ideas of sharing it, then that passes so, you can't undo that agreement,
it's there, it will be the first time that we've conceded even in principle
sovereignty over Gibraltar. That undermines the whole process, it undermines
the whole concept of nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We
learnt this in Northern Ireland, we did not talk about joint authority,
we did not talk about shared sovereignty, because we understood that if
we went down that road we would blow the process out of the water, and
I think the lessons of Northern Ireland are very clear, they should be
applied also in this case.
HUMPHRYS: Alright. Let's look at
the third of those foreign policy issues that I raised at the start of
this, the European Union. We heard Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary saying
this week in a speech that he is effectively - he didn't use this language
of course - but looking at it he is effectively treading your path. He
wants much greater subsidiarity which is of course what you want. He wants
more democratic accountability which is what you want. He wants reform
of Parliament, reform of the Commission, the Council of Ministers. There's
nothing there that you would disagree with is there?
ANCRAM: Oh yes there was because
what he was doing in that speech as he always does, was that he was lurching
from one side to the other. At one moment he was talking the sort of language
which we might be talking in terms of a flexible Europe and a Europe of
nations, the next he was talking about a written constitution, saying that
the words didn't matter. Well, they do because the argument about Europe
is a very simple and straight-forward one from my point of view - it's
whether we build Europe from the bottom up so that the power flows from
the nation states and the nation parliaments - that was the original concept....
HUMPHRYS: And that's what Jack
Straw said he wants this week.
ANCRAM: Not if you listen to what
he said in detail and you look at what he was talking about. He was talking
about, as they did when they came away from the Laeken Conference before
Christmas. They were talking about Europe being developed from the top
downwards. There's a great difference. If you develop something from
the top downwards you begin to give the top all the powers and abilities
of, if you like a government and then you begin to move into that whole
area of creating a European super-state. What I want to see is a flexible
Europe built from the bottom upwards. If you look at the last six months.
If ever there was a need to learn from experience, we've been able to
respond to what happened on the 11th September because we did not have
a Europe where there was a common foreign policy and a common defence policy.
If we had had that we would not have been able to respond as effectively
and flexibly as we did. That's the type of Europe we need to now see continue.
That was not what Jack Straw was talking about in his speech. He was
once again talking about an agenda which in the end of the day leads as
Schroeder himself was saying last week to what he wants to see, which
is a European government and effectively a European political union.
HUMPHRYS: Michael Ancram, thanks
very much indeed, you can put your hand down now. Many thanks for joining
HUMPHRYS: Every new government
promises to sort out the mess on Britain's roads. This one was no different
when it came into power five years ago. Indeed, it said it would have failed
if we weren't using our cars less. Well, we're not. Congestion is worse
than it's ever been and it's going to get a lot worse still. Our cities
and motorways will simply grind to a halt if things carry on the way they
are. John Prescott set up a body of experts - the Commission for Integrated
Transport - to find some answers and tomorrow they will deliver them. It's
safe to say they will not be popular because we would have to pay to use
the most congested roads. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, will announce
this week whether he's going to bring in a plan to charge motorists to
drive into London and there's talk of doing the same for Britain's other
big cities. But as Terry Dignan reports, it will meet a lot of resistance.
TERRY DIGNAN: The way we travel harms our
health, economy and environment. So our transport system is getting a
hundred and eighty billion pounds more investment. And towns and cities
are being allowed to charge drivers for using roads or office car parks.
But while other parts of the country prevaricate over using this power,
London's mayor intends pressing ahead.
Some Labour MPs in the
capital are deeply unhappy with Mayor Livingstone's plans to charge motorists
for driving into central London. And nor are Tony Blair's transport ministers
terribly enthusiastic. Indeed, there are signs they've gone off the whole
idea of using congestion charging as part of a national strategy to tackle
urban gridlock. Yet it's argued that without congestion charging, or something
like it, it's hard to see how the Government is going to persuade many
more car drivers to use public transport instead.
LYNNE JONES MP: At the end of the day,
we'll probably have to grasp the nettle that the only way to get motorists
out of their cars, and into public transport, is to, is to start charging.
KATE HOEY MP: Cars for many people,
and particularly for women I think give them a sense of independence.
And I don't think that you can try and use congestion charging just to
get people out of their car.
DIGNAN; Campaigning to be the capital's
mayor, Ken Livingstone had a vision of a congestion-free London. He's
ahead of cities like Birmingham with his proposal to charge motorists five
pounds a day for driving into central London. While ministers say they've
no power to stop him, they warn he must proceed cautiously.
JOHN SPELLAR MP: This needs to be sensitively handled
- that's precisely why we've said to the Mayor of London that, well this
is his decision, he not only has to assure himself that the technology
will work, and therefore the scheme is technically valid, but also that
he's carrying the great majority of London opinion with him as well, in
order to bring that scheme forward.
DIGNAN: The boundary of the charging
zone cuts across constituencies of Labour MPs like Kate Hoey. She says
that here in Kennington, there'll be a price to pay for living on the wrong
side of the road.
HOEY: You can have a ridiculous
situation where people just going about what would be their normal daily
travelling, back and forward, are going to have to pay. We're going to
see people you know who have to go into central London perhaps with a
small business, perhaps a window cleaning business, living one side of
the road, they won't pay, the other side they will.
DIGNAN: But the body appointed
by Labour ministers to advise them on transport policy backs Mayor Livingstone.
The Commission for Integrated Transport argues that improvements in public
transport on their own won't reduce congestion in our towns and cities.
DAVID BEGG: If Ken Livingstone doesn't
introduce congestion charging then the people that travel in London are
going to be travelling at speeds which are no quicker than the horse and
cart was a century ago. It's just incredibly inefficient, imposing a huge
cost on London business. So the Mayor's right to try and get in a congestion
charging scheme as quickly as he can.
DIGNAN: Birmingham. The city's
prosperity was founded on the motor car. Yet today it's said road traffic
growth is costing the regional economy here more than a billion pounds
a year. And in the next three decades rush hour car journeys are forecast
to rise by nearly two hundred thousand a day.
Companies like A. E. Harris
and Co complain angrily about congestion. The firm makes metal components
which are delivered by road to customers throughout the United Kingdom.
RUSSELL LUCKOCK: Traffic congestion increases,
that puts up costs of getting materials in, goods out, of this factory.
On certain occasions we're having to pay a premium for motorcycle riders
to get urgent components out because they can get through the traffic quickly,
and that puts up our costs. It doesn't help at all when your van is stuck
out say, three miles from the City Centre.
DIGNAN: When the Deputy Prime Minister,
John Prescott, was Transport Secretary, he asked groups of experts to find
solutions to the traffic problems of urban areas. The conclusion they've
come to here in the West Midlands is that you won't get many motorists
to leave their cars at home simply by spending more money on public transport.
They've told ministers congestion charging is essential because many commuters
find driving to work is relatively cheap. But the Government's policy of
leaving it to local authorities to introduce charging schemes means it's
unlikely to happen in many areas in the foreseeable future, as even ministers
In Labour's ten year transport
plan, John Prescott warned that compared with buses and trains, motoring
was likely to become even more affordable. Yet his plan aims to cut congestion
in cities like Birmingham by eight per cent by twenty-ten. According to
some Labour MPs here - and those advising ministers - it can't be done
BEGG: Now we are absolutely clear
in our advice. What we are saying is that you do not reduce congestion
in Britain without measures such as congestion charging. Yes it's politically
difficult. They probably don't want to discuss this at present. But they
have to decide how they are going to tackle congestion and whether the
policies that are in place are going to be sufficient.
JONES: Although motorists squeal
about the costs of motoring, in real terms it's stayed pretty steady but
whereas costs of public transport have increased quite dramatically, so
we've got to even the balance as between those two - or the different sorts
of transport. But at the end of the day we just cannot go on as we are.
DIGNAN And Birmingham businesses
like this one would agree. Yet they have fiercely objected to attempts
by Labour councillors to introduce both congestion and workplace charging.
To the dismay of those who advise the Government, opposition to the idea,
in Birmingham and other towns and cities, remains strong.
LUCKOCK: This factory is right
in the heart of the city of Birmingham. Therefore all my employees would
be subjected to being, who come in by car, would be subjected to additional
cost. They wouldn't want to come in, they could go and get jobs elsewhere
and that would cause me much grief. In fact I'm not at all sure that we
should be able to continue and function as a viable proposition.
DIGNAN: That's a warning councillors
ignore at their peril. But their biggest fear would be losing jobs to other
areas unless neighbouring authorities also introduced charging.
JONES: I mean the example in Birmingham
is that, if Birmingham City Council wants to charge people to go into the
city centre, the traders there will say, "Well people will stop coming
in, and they'll go to out of town centres like Merryhill, in Dudley," so
it's got to be an overall strategy for a region, if not for the whole country.
DIGNAN: The Government's transport
plan, published just two years ago, assumes at least twenty towns and cities
will introduce congestion or workplace charging. Yet the transport minister,
a Birmingham MP, doesn't believe it's his job to encourage it.
SPELLAR: There's a considerable
demand and understandable demand that many local issues should be decided
by local people who are best able to understand the local circumstances
and to understand the, understand the best response.
JONES: Well I think this is government
ducking its responsibilities here. It's ready to interfere in many areas
of policy where local authority is - local authorities are competent to
ACTUALITY: "Would you like to be
DIGNAN: At the Heritage Motor Centre
at Gaydon near Warwick schoolchildren learn about the so-called golden
age of British-made cars.
ACTUALITY: "Are you happy with
DIGNAN: When they grow up and learn
how to drive Labour promises the roads will be less congested. That's assuming
twenty towns and cities introduce charging by twenty-ten. But ministers
are now backing away from this figure.
SPELLAR: You do have to have a
degree of, of prediction in order to be able to get some shape of a national
picture. And, I think that probably twenty would be now a slightly optimistic
BEGG: That has an impact on the
amount of revenue that will be available to spend on transport - up to
three billion pounds is forecast to come from these new charges and it
has a disproportionate effect on reducing congestion - around a quarter
of all of the congestion reduction forecast by the government by twenty-ten
will come from these congestion charging schemes.
DIGNAN: Which may be why Chancellor
Gordon Brown publicly supports them. The Integrated Transport Commission
hopes he'll back, using satellite technology, to charge motorists on any
UK road that's congested. In return, vehicle excise duty would be axed
and petrol taxes cut. Congestion would decrease by forty-four per cent.
But it would mean extending Treasury plans to charge haulage companies
for road use.
BEGG: It's a type of technology
which is already in place and which the Government are proposing to bring
in for lorries. So it's proposed to be a distance tax for lorries. So lorries
will be taxed on the basis of the distances they are travelling in Britain.
That same system can be used to try and bring in congestion charging for
ACTUALITY "This motorway starts
a new era in road travel."
DIGNAN: But it didn't last long.
When Government ministers opened the first motorways, little did they know
they faced a losing battle to keep them clear of congestion. Motorists
who feel they get a raw deal from Labour believe the answer is better
roads - and more roads.
LUCKOCK: I mean the, the percentage
they take from fuel is almost criminal, almost obscene and not to invest
it in better methods of transportation is also obscene. Road transport
is the best solution. And we want better roads, wider roads, double-deck
roads if necessary to get transport and goods moving.
DIGNAN: Labour hoped to curb the
motor car's power. But ministers worry about motorists' views, especially
after the fuel tax protests. Indeed a third of the budget for the ten
year transport plan - fifty-nine billion pounds - will go towards roads.
While advisers on transport are sceptical, ministers now appear to show
enthusiasm for road building.
SPELLAR: There's been considerable
under-investment in transport and there is a real need to be getting more
investment into transport and not just in the big ticket items of the main
railway systems or indeed the Highways Agency the main trunk roads, important
that those are. A lot of local roads, a lot of local bypasses that we're,
that we're putting through, but we'll be dealing with real congestion
locally and making a big difference to free flow of traffic in those areas.
BEGG: It may be that if you start
to build more roads in two thousand and eight, two thousand and nine, that
if you take a snapshot of two thousand and ten that there's a reduction
in congestion. But these extra roads by, freeing up congestion, will attract
more traffic and by two thousand and fifteen, two thousand and twenty,
we could effectively be back to square one.
DIGNAN: Although London is due
to become the first big city to charge motorists for driving to work, few
seem likely to follow. Ministers hope better roads and public transport
will reduce congestion. But their advisers warn any solution that avoids
charging car drivers more won't work.
HUMPHRYS: Terry Dignan reporting
JOHN HUMPHRYS: With me in the studio
is the Conservatives' Transport spokesman Eric Pickles, in our Bristol
studio the Liberal Democrat spokesman Don Foster. Mr. Foster, you agree,
your party agrees with charging in cities, doesn't it?
DON FOSTER: We certainly do. I mean one
of the crucial things is that in the past, to try and solve the problem
of congestion on our roads, what we used to do was simply try and price
all cars off the road by ever increasing fuel prices. We now recognise
that it's crucially important to be much more sophisticated to tackle the
real problem that is congestion itself, because it's that congestion which
is causing British businesses some fifteen billion pounds a year, and of
course the pollution from it is leading to as many deaths as we have from
road accidents, so sophisticated measures to tackle congestion are desperately
needed as is increased investment in a much needed improved public transport
HUMPHRYS: The trouble is, you try
that, and it might be a sophisticated system, but politics is pretty crude
and brutal and any local authority who tried to do it would be crucified
FOSTER: Well, it's certainly going
to be very difficult, and that's why I think Lynne Jones was absolutely
right in your piece earlier when she was saying that we have to look at
this on a wider, at least a regional area - individual councils trying
to introduce it, knowing how unpopular it is, are going to have great difficulty
although I admire those councils that are certainly trying it. But all
of the evidence is that if we get the system right, everybody can benefit.
We've already seen, for example, in attempts to introduce variable speed
limits on our motorways, that that sort of sophistication can really help
get the traffic moving, after all people, when they want to use their cars,
when they need to use their cars, want to be able to get out and about
and do it easily, so they desperately need help as well, so everybody will
HUMPHRYS: Not absolutely clear
what you are saying there. Are you leaving it to local authorities or not?
FOSTER: No. In the past Liberal
Democrats have argued that it's certainly got to be a local decision that
has got to be taken and one that should only be taken when there has been
a significant improvement in the quality and availability of public transport,
but increasingly we're recognising, as the commission itself recognises
in the report they're going to publish, that we have to look at this on
a slightly wider issue because otherwise we'll have the very political
problems that you are describing.
HUMPHRYS: So, the local decision
taken nationally? In other words, the local authority will be able to say,
"We can't help it, we've been told to do it."
FOSTER: You can do it at the regional
level and of course we are going to see from this government hopefully
their proposals for moving towards regional government and regional government
it seems to me is the right place to be addressing these significant issues...
HUMPHRYS: ...so if we don't have
FOSTER: ...going to be a combination
of the two.
HUMPHRYS: If we don't have regional
government, we don't get this then? We have to wait for regional government?
BOTH SPEAKING TOGETHER
FOSTER: ...at a regional level
where local councils are working together. But the crucial thing here is
to get over the simple message that at the moment congestion on our roads
is costing businesses very dear, it's costing lives, it's reducing the
quality of life for just about everybody in this country, it is something
that we have collectively got to tackle, we can't just do it by pricing
people out of their cars, people in rural areas frankly have no alternative
but their cars very often, so we have to have a more sophisticated approach
and what the Commission is proposing strikes me as a very sensible way
HUMPHRYS: Eric Pickles, you'll
not agree with very much of that, but you've surely got to agree we have
to stop people using their cars so much, not having cars, but using them?
ERIC PICKLES: No I disagree, because I've
seen Liberal leaflets saying that they're against congestion charging,
just a, it's just the irony of what Don was saying was amusing me. But,
but what are we going to put people into? I mean there isn't a public transport
system that's able to support a significant shift from, from the car. Our
Tubes are working at a-hundred-and-twenty per cent capacity at peak. There
isn't really any significant way in which we can get lots more trains into
London, but we don't have many buses to be able take, so what they going
to go to? Professor Begg saying, well we'll get rid of congestion, we don't
get rid of congestion by pricing poor people out of their cars.
HUMPHRYS: So, what we let it go
on like it is until everything comes to a dead stop?
PICKLES: Well I think there are
lots of things we can do to change, to reduce congestion. I mean, I was
quite startled to see the figures that came out, I think it was a couple
of weeks ago, that showed the number of cars in London at peak were no
greater than they were ten years ago, but congestion's increased. There
are lots of things we can do with regard to freeing up our roads, about
the repairs of our roads, about the signing of our capital, our capital
is the worst signed capital in the world.
HUMPHRYS: ...this is tinkering
with it though, isn't it? I mean ultimately, you have to stop people using
their cars so much?
PICKLES: ...no, no, no, but put
them into what? To make them stay at home?
HUMPHRYS: Well, how about your,
how about doing what Professor Begg is saying - you raise money doing the
sorts of things he's talking about. You charge people - two things - charge
people for driving in congested areas and then you use that money to improve
PICKLES: No John he's not saying
that at all. He's saying that this is going to be tax neutral. If it's
tax neutral then it's not, there's going to be, no more money, additional
HUMPHRYS: ...but additional...
PICKLES: ...so you'd have to stop
spending money on something else.
HUMPHRYS: But I made the point
that there are two things, because the other thing that that will do is
it will deter people from driving in congested areas if they know they
have to pay for it.
PICKLES: So, and, who causes the
congestion? Do they have, this way the government works out, if the government
neglects our road system, if local authorities neglect our road system
and if there is more congestion, therefore they get more revenue, that
doesn't seem to me to be a very sensible way of freeing up our nation's
HUMPHRYS: Don Foster, he has a
point there doesn't he? And an awful lot of people watching this programme
have been saying "What on earth are you doing telling us you'll charge
us for using our cars in congested areas, and we've got no other way of
getting to work, or doing the shopping, or taking the kids to school or
whatever it happens to be?"
FOSTER: Well, I mean, there's so
many different issues there aren't there? I mean, first of all Eric Pickles
is absolutely right. We can make better uses of the roads that we already
have. I mean everybody knows the ridiculous situation of the people who
hog the middle lane on motorways...
HUMPHRYS: ...oh we've been saying
that sort of thing for years, haven't we?
FOSTER: Absolutely. We know the
problem that we've got of the school run in the morning. Twenty per cent
of the congestion on our roads is caused by parents taking their children
to school and we can tackle those sorts of issues, but at the end of the
day, those are going to be relatively minor solutions to the problem, we
need to take a much bigger approach to this, a bigger solution, and what
is being suggested is reducing the cost of the VED, the Vehicle Excise
Duty, and replacing that with a very sophisticated form of charging people
for the use they make of congested roads. Now we accept that people pay
for the use they make of other products, it seems a quite reasonable approach
therefore to adopt a similar approach for this.
HUMPHRYS: Eric Pickles, you're
saying are you, let's be clear about it, that if that were to happen, if
that were to be introduced during the next few years of this Labour government
and you came into power, you would remove it? You'd get shot of it or go
back to where it was before?
PICKLES: Well I sincerely hope
that the Labour government are not going to be in power in two-thousand-and-ten,
and that's the earliest this can be introduced...
HUMPHRYS: ...who knows!
PICKLES: Well I can safely say
that while we're putting our manifesto together for the next election,
I'm reasonably confident that congestion charging, or toll, or a new toll
tax is not going to form a part of that manifesto. What we want to do is
see that people have a real choice. What he's suggested, people will not
have any kind of choice whatsoever, because there's nowhere for them to
HUMPHRYS: But you've changed your
tune on this a bit haven't you, as a Conservative Party? I was looking
at something John Major said in nineteen-ninety-four which was "that the
problem with charging was technology." Not the politics of it, the politics
of it was pretty sound, the principle was pretty sound?
PICKLES: I concede the point that
we did for a brief period toil with the idea of congestion charging. But
we realise that the bureaucracy that would be necessary to set a proper
congestion charging system up would be absolutely enormous, people would
contest a particular Bill. People would find their machines would be clipped
and others would be using it. And we recognise that to a large extent,
most of the congestion is caused by neglect by government.
HUMPHRYS: So if Ken Livingstone
does say this week, we are going to do it in London, you will be root and
branch opposed to that, you'll say that.
PICKLES: We are root and branch
opposed to that. There will be a mayoral election reasonably soon, congestion
charging will just about have been going for about a year and we will certainly
review it, my colleagues on the Greater London Authority will certainly...will
have a look at it. I mean it could be that I am going to be pleasantly
surprised but I don't think so, it's going to cut communities in two.
HUMPHRYS: And if it did happen
under Ken Livingstone and then your candidate won the Mayoral contest next
time around, he would say we are going to get shot of it in London, even
though it's already been introduced.
PICKLES: And we would have to be
pretty persuasive, it would have to be shown to be a complete success..
HUMPHRYS: ..you are not absolutely
clear about that then, there is room...
PICKLES: I am absolutely clear,
I'm just trying not to be dogmatic, we are opposed to congestion charging
but you are asking me to say, in two years' time what are we going to do.
Now, that's going to largely be up to our Mayoral candidate and it's going
to be up to our Greater London...
HUMPHRYS: So it's not a matter
of principle then. Let's be quite clear about this, it isn't a matter of
principle, you are not saying we should not do this as a matter of principle
because this is taxation too far?
PICKLES: Look John, let
me be...I think this is absolute madness, this is not going to help congestion.
I believe the system that is going to be put in, is flawed, it's going
to cut communities in half, it's going to tax people for taking their children
to see their doctor if they are on the wrong side of the boundary and it's
not going to ease our congestion policy one bit and it's not going to make
pollution one bit better.
HUMPHRYS: Donald Foster, if we
do, if the government does bite the bullet and say, yeah this notion of
charging has to be broadened outside our cities, onto our motorways and
our trunk roads and all the rest of it, you'd go along with that as well?
FOSTER: Well, broadly speaking
yes I would. I mean I think there's one issue that we need to look at and
that is whether or not it's right to introduce this sort of charging on
our motorways. Afterall, what we are trying to do is to get as many of
the vehicles away from our...areas where people are living and perhaps
putting charges on motorways is not necessarily the right way forward,
especially given that there are other techniques that we can use to reduce
congestion on those motorways, better use of the road space itself and
secondly, variable speed limits. But broadly speaking, I do think that
the time has now come where we have to address the real problems of congestion
on our roads, problems that are effecting every single person and we have
to do it in a way that those who are largely responsible for creating the
congestion are those who pay for it and therefore those living, for instance,
in remote rural areas, where they have no real opportunity to use alternatives
of public transport, are not penalised.
HUMPHRYS: You're not tempted to
say Transport Department can't organise their own press department, let
alone organise this!
FOSTER: I'm certainly tempted to
say that because it's absolutely true. I mean we've got a complete crisis
in management within the department, so whether they are going to be under
the current leadership able to manage something like this, certainly is
very questionable, indeed the behaviour has been appalling recently.
HUMPHRYS: Eric Pickles, for once
you'd agree with him wholeheartedly, I dare say.
PICKLES: I think the behaviour
has been appalling. I think the fantasy world that Mr Byers occupies, it's
obviously difficult to tell between truth and fiction. But if he really
wants to stop the embarrassment to the government, if he really wants to
do the right thing by the Prime Minister, I think he's got to go and he
should go before the day is out.
HUMPHRYS: Eric Pickles, Don Foster,
thank you both very much indeed.
HUMPHRYS: The war in Afghanistan is
more or less over. The Taliban, at least, have been defeated. But even
before it began President Bush made it clear that there was more to come.
This was to be a war on terrorism wherever it existed. There is, he now
tells us, an "Axis of evil" and one of the countries in that axis is Iraq.
Saddam Hussein is the next target - or so everyone assumes. And Washington
says nothing to dampen down that expectation. Even the moderate Secretary
of State Colin Powell talked this past week about the need for a "regime
change" as he put it there. All of which is worrying many politicians
in Europe and indeed here in Britain. As Paul Wilenius reports, that worry
extends to Mr Blair's own party.
PAUL WILENIUS: Military machines must always
be ready for war. And for America, that means the next stage of the war
against terrorism. Its awesome air force made it the world's only superpower.
And now it's preparing to use that strength against any rogue state that
President Bush is ready to use air bases like this one at Lakenheath in
Britain to step up the war on terrorism. And Tony Blair is under pressure
to back him, especially after Bush's controversial "Axis of evil" speech,
which targeted Iran, North Korea and Iraq. But that speech caused deep
concern in Europe, worries over the future of NATO and now inside the Labour
Party there's considerable anxiety, and substantial opposition, to this
sort of aggressive foreign policy.
American Air Force ground crew fire up an F15 fighter bomber at this Suffolk
air base. It's a visible sign of the special relationship between the two
countries, which grew even closer after the attack on the World Trade Center.
But recent messages coming out of Washington are more bellicose. A senior
member of the US administration explains why.
BETH JONES: Americans still feel very vulnerable
to the threat from terrorism. One of the best ways to understand it is
to understand that Americans haven't lived with terrorism the way Europeans
have, and the way people in other countries have. So what happened to
us, and to so many on September 11th is still very, very vivid.
WILENIUS: The determination of
the Americans to go it alone during the war in Afghanistan had already
caused resentment in the European Union and NATO on this side of the Atlantic.
But the anxieties over this more unilateralist policy have grown since
Bush's 'State of the Union' address. It clearly pointed the finger at Iran,
North Korea and Iraq.
PRESIDENT BUSH: States like these and their
terrorist allies constitute an "Axis of evil" arming to threaten the peace
of the world, by seeking weapons of mass destruction. These regimes pose
a grave and growing danger.
WILENIUS: One politician who has
just come back from a week long trip to Washington agrees.
BERNARD JENKIN MP: "Axis of evil" is a very apposite
description. The Americans have made a very simple connection between what
happened on September 11th, the development of rogue states and the development
of weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferation. They are all
of a piece.
WILENIUS: So if these young American
pilots at Lakenheath were sent off to attack any of these states, it appears
the Tories would be behind Bush. It's not yet clear if Tony Blair will
do the same. Already the Germans, French and even some in the government
have expressed doubts, and inside the Labour Party disquiet seems to be
On The Record has tested the strength of backbench feeling over American
policy. Researchers asked one-hundred-and-one Labour MPs - do you agree
with President Bush that Iran, Iraq and North Korea constitute an "Axis
of evil?" An overwhelming majority of eighty-six said "no", with only twelve
saying "yes", with three "don't knows."
MALCOLM SAVIDGE: I think there is a concern that
this very simplistic terminology which takes three very different countries,
two of which were actually at one time at war with each other, and tries
to suggest that they can all be treated together, that they can all be
regarded almost as if they were working together, that sort of simplification
of an extremely complicated world, I think does cause concern, as does
the implication that this could lead to unilateral military action against
any of them.
WILENIUS: Like these American air
traffic controllers, Bush likes to run military campaigns his way. He gathers
together loose coalitions for a specific purpose. Some have dubbed it "posse
DONALD ANDERSON: At its most simplistic there is
the sort of western film idea that the Sheriff in the wild west town when
the baddies in the desert will gather his deputies together, ride in to
the desert, sort of finish them all off or hang them high, well that doesn't
work in international relations that, one the people like to be consulted
on a far wider basis, but also of course, if there is a high noon situation
and the Sheriff hasn't bothered to take the deputies into consideration,
when the time of trial or testing comes, the Sheriff will look around and
there won't be any deputies there.
WILENIUS: Indeed that time of trial
may come sooner than many think. Despite the precision of America's laser
guided bombs dropped in the Gulf War, a decade later Saddam Hussein's still
in power, almost taunting the West. President Bush appears to want to finish
the job his father started, and the talk in Washington is of invading Iraq
within a year, perhaps with two-hundred-thousand troops.
JONES: I think it's fair to say
that nothing is off the table. Obviously we'd much rather have, the international
community would much rather have inspectors go in to, to assure ourselves
of what is going on there or is not going on there. But otherwise it's,
it would be hard for me to say what necessarily would happen, but it's
certainly the case that nothing's off the table.
RICHARD PERLE: At the end of the day, the
President has a responsibility to defend the American people, it's his
first responsibility under our, our constitution, and if he concludes that
Saddam Hussein poses an intolerable threat and we cannot afford to wait
and hope for the best and he chooses to take action, he cannot be deterred
from that by the sentiments of Germans or Frenchmen or even citizens of
the United Kingdom.
WILENIUS: A final check before
one of America's top pilots takes to the sky. But the big question for
the Bush Administration is, will the British be along for the ride? Although
Tony Blair hasn't said anything publicly over here, one recent visitor
to Washington is confident that that over there, the Prime Minister has
given the clear impression to the Americans that Britain will be fighting
in Gulf War Two.
JENKIN: Tony Blair has left Washington
in no doubt that when the crunch comes he'll be there. So why he is dissembling
and hanging back now, you can only put it down to the advice of the spin
doctors who clearly think that that's a more popular thing to do. Why doesn't
he just come clean and stop dissembling?
WILENIUS: One reason may be that
a war against Iraq would worry Labour backbenchers. We asked one-hundred-and-one
Labour MPs "Do you think there is sufficient evidence to justify a military
attack on Iraq by America and its allies?" A clear majority of eighty-six
said there was not, while only eight said there was; there were seven "don't
QUIN: I think there's also
a very strong feeling which, Members of Parliament have that any action
against Iraq would have to be very, very clearly justified by evidence
of activities that they're undertaking at the present time. I think that
any increase in that military effort would have to depend on evidence being
available that...such, that activities were taking place in Iraq, which
were directly either fuelling international terrorism, or constituting
a threat to the west through the development of new and dangerous weapons,
or indeed through some evidence of further action against his own people.
SAVIDGE: There is concern that
will be felt across the UK, the population of the UK, across the Parliamentary
Labour Party that it would be very, very worrying if the United States
were to take action unilaterally. It's a concern that's been expressed,
indeed publicly expressed by government Ministers and I think it would
be an open secret that it's a concern that is shared in private by many
senior members of the government.
DOUG HENDERSON: I think a lot of us would have
severe worries, one that the action wouldn't be successful, that Saddam
wouldn't be toppled and it would be left with an invasion force in Iraq,
or secondly that we'd alienate too many of the other countries whose support
we need to fight terrorism internationally.
WILENIUS: Britain allows America
to use air bases like this one to mount operations in Europe, the Middle
East and beyond. But the government will face heavy pressure to allow the
Americans to use other UK facilities as part of the Son of Star Wars missile
America is determined
to build a system capable of knocking out incoming rogue missiles before
they hit the US. But it'll need to use the early warning listening stations
at Fylingdales and Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, to make it work. This would
put Britain in the firing line and Labour MPs aren't as happy about the
system as those in US who are developing it.
PERLE: Well we are going ahead
with the missile defence. It takes a long time to build one and to develop
it to the point where one can be confident of its ability in a variety
of different situations. If we don't start now, we run the risk that one
or more countries will acquire missiles with which they might choose to
attack us before we have a defence in place. And we've got to get started.
WILENIUS: Many in the Labour Party
are deeply concerned. On the Record asked one hundred and one Labour MPs
" Do you support the British government giving permission for the Americans
to use British facilities, as part of America's proposed missile defence
system?" Seventy-eight said they did not, while only eighteen said they
did, with five don't knows.
ANDERSON: I think we are very wary
about the whole concept of missile defence. It in itself, it can involve
a sort of unilateralism that we, the US can hide behind our shield and
therefore we are invulnerable Of course the very concept of invulnerability
is a nonsense because there could be the suitcase terrorist and so on,
and indeed, September 11th could have happened with a national missile
defence or not.
SAVIDGE: I think the strong message
to the Prime Minister would be that the British people do not want us to
be involved in this. The vast majority of the Labour Party and the vast
majority of Labour Members of Parliament don't want us to be involved with
this. As Prime Minister for Britain, and as a Labour Prime Minister, consider
British interests and British safety first and the interests of the United
States and of this particular administration second.
WILENIUS: Tony Blair slipped effortlessly
into his role as a world statesman following September 11th. But things
may not run quite so smoothly in the future. Already he's starting to
face criticism for being little more than America's poodle, while those
close to the Bush Administration expect him to ignore his critics and stand
firm with the President.
PERLE: Well I'm sure there are
Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and others who don't like the
policies we're pursuing. We can't please everyone, we happily didn't choose
to acquiesce to the left wing of the Labour Party during the Cold War or
we'd all be speaking Russian. So we're never going to be very comfortable
with the views of the Left Wing of the Labour Party frankly. And I don't
see how we could defend ourselves if we allowed their views to guide our
WILENIUS: This sort of sharp remark
is hardly likely to please many Labour Party figures. Indeed Ministers
may have to start listening to the views of those MPs, who are concerned
that the government is lining up too closely with the US.
ANDERSON: The Prime Minister really
has to take to heart, the concerns of back benchers. We know that there
is still, a special relationship, but that should not be taken for granted
and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary I think should be advised
to listen very carefully indeed to the concerns of our own backbenchers,
Labour backbenchers which I understand to be really more widespread in
the country as a whole.
HENDERSON: I think there are times when
political leaders have to lead, they have insight that the public doesn't
have, sometimes because of security information. But I think they've got
to be extremely careful to carry public opinion with them in these tense
international situations and that means that they've got to do the right
thing, that they've got to stand up, for what's right and also what's courageous.
They've got to be their own man, not just a puppet for some other leader
in another part of the world.
WILENIUS: So where will Tony Blair
be when things really do heat up? If he listens too closely to his backbenchers,
things could go cold with the Americans. But if he gives Bush his full
backing, he may find his support in the party could start to evaporate.
HUMPHRYS: Paul Wilenius reporting
JOHN HUMPHRYS: It was a fortnight ago that
a new political scandal came to light. And, even though the government
says it's not a scandal at all - just a load of garbage - it refuses to
go away. The basic facts are not contested. Mr Blair signed a letter that
helped a foreign businessman win the contract to privatise the steel industry
in Romania. The businessman, Lakshmi Mittal, had donated a hundred and
twenty five thousand pounds to the Labour Party. Labour says there's no
connection between those two facts. Almost every day though since then
there has been some new twist or turn to the story. The man who revealed
the link between the party and Mr Mittal two weeks ago is a backbench MP
for Plaid Cymru, Adam Price. And he's with me. Good morning to you.
ADAM PRICE MP: Morning.
HUMPHRYS: Are you satisfied now
that the whole thing has been cleared up because the government tells us
pretty well every day it's all a load of nonsense.
PRICE: Well no, I think it's very
very flippant of the government to dismiss this. I mean there's a palpable
sense of anger in South Wales in steel communities in particular of course.
Here was a British Prime Minister, intervening at the highest level, to
support a company which is actually based in the Caribbean and is actively
of course working against British interest in trying to freeze British
exports out of the American, out of the American market. Mr Mittal's plants
in Kazakhstan and Romania which have been partly of course funded by the
British taxpayer are producing the same, the same kind of output of course
that used to be produced in Llanwern and far from batting for Britain as
the Foreign Secretary said, I think the Prime Minister has actually been
betraying the interests of the British steel industry.
HUMPHRYS: But what he was doing,
and Prime Ministers do this all the time, on the advice of the Foreign
Office obviously, what he was doing was something that the Ambassador in
that country had wanted him to do. He'd had talks himself with the Prime
Minister, it was in the interest of Romania, therefore it was in the interest
of Europe, therefore it was in the interest of Britain, that's the sort
PRICE: Well I find it very difficult
to believe actually that Her Majesty's representative in Bucharest was
acting on his own initiative, in that the several meetings that he had
with Mr Mittal ...
HUMPHRYS: ...well on whose then?
PRICE: Well clearly this was a
policy decision. I mean Sir Richard Packer has said, former permanent...
HUMPHRYS: ..former permanent secretary...
PRICE: ...former permanent secretary,
of course, has said this morning that the initiative must have come from
Number Ten. That an ambassador would not work on his own initiative in
this basis. I think there's an unanswered question here isn't there. Why....what
was the legitimate British interest here in supporting a non-British businessman,
a non-British company, who actually is a competitor, a competitor to British
steel industry at a very very difficult time.
HUMPHRYS: Well the answer to that
has been given, it was given on this programme last week by a government
minister, which is that we want to modernise those countries that are going
to be become members of the European Union, it's in our interest to do
so, to help them to privatise and this is what we were doing and it worked
PRICE: Well I mean the government
has shifted their ground of course. The original defence of course was
that the letter was merely a congratulatory letter and in fact this was
a British company. That has been comprehensively demolished. Now the government
is saying, well this was actually good for Romania. Now if the British
Prime Minister is saying that it is a policy of the British government
to sacrifice steel jobs in South Wales and other parts of the UK in order
to save steel jobs in Romania then he should come out and say it. But what
I would say is that we should not have a trade- off, where there should
be no question of a trade off between economic development and jobs in
one of the poorest parts of Europe and economic development in one of the
poorest parts of the UK.
HUMPHRYS: But to go back to the
principle point here, there is not a shred of proof is there, not a shred
of proof that the donation was linked to that decision to sign that letter?
PRICE: Well I have no evidence
of that, none of us have any evidence of that. If there's an innocent explanation,
if this is just a set of coincidences, then why is the Prime Minister refusing
to give an interview on this matter? And why doesn't the government reveal
all the documents surrounding this case? If there is nothing to hide, why
have they been trying to conceal this case and why are...
HUMPHRYS: ...commercial confidentiality?
PRICE: Well, I, does that cover
all good government pronouncements now? I mean I think that the government
clearly have a case to answer here, and this has come at a time when public
confidence in politics is at a low ebb. The only thing, the only thing
that will rebuild confidence in the political process, particularly in
the steel communities among redundant steel workers is that if we have
an independent inquiry now into all the circumstances surrounding this
HUMPHRYS: And yet you seem not
to be persuading the electorate of your concern. You had a by-election
not very far from your own constituency in South Wales and the government
won it very comfortably indeed and it was a steel-making area where jobs
PRICE: Well I think there's a sense,
there's a sense at large that politicians are all the same and I think
that it's incredibly depressing isn't it, to see these results and I think
that there is a sense in which this whole affair, on the back of all the
other scandals that have been in recent years, is corroding confidence
in the political process. And the only thing which will clear that and
rebuild confidence in politics and the parliamentary process is if we have
an independent investigation.
HUMPHRYS: Yes or No, do you believe
that Tony Blair knew about the donation when he signed the letter and was
influenced by it?
PRICE: Well without being in full
possession of all the facts, it would be very unwise of any of us to speculate.
We need to have those facts and we need to rebuild public confidence in
HUMPHRYS: Adam Price, thanks very
HUMPHRYS: And that's it for this week.
Next week we're going to be talking about pensions, a very big story at
the moment and we hope to be speaking to the Secretary of State, Alistair
Darling. If you're on the Internet, don't forget about our website, you
can keep in touch with us there, until next week, good afternoon.