Labour keeps up pressure over Scott report
Friday 23 February 1996
Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, had handed the Labour leader extra ammunition by having to issue an apology for a Treasury press release and admitting that Scott found Parliament was misled.
"Does the Prime Minister now accept Scott found Parliament was misled?" Mr Blair demanded. This is hardly in dispute - only whether the misleading was deliberate - but Mr Major was reluctant to concede even that. He said Sir Richard had found in the Government's favour on the substantive issues of whether Saddam Hussein was illegally supplied with arms and whether there was a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by improper use of Public Interest Immunity Certificates in the Matrix Churchill trial.
"As far as whether Parliament was misled; none of my ministers intentionally misled Parliament," he asserted. "They did not." If Mr Blair had read the Scott report he would know that William Waldegrave, the Chief Secretary, was "cleared of duplicitous intent, nor was he accused of deliberately misleading Parliament".
As the exchanges grew increasingly testy, he said the Labour leader kept changing his ground, trying to "impute deceit where there was none".
But Mr Blair said the Prime Minister was not prepared to answer the basic question. "How has he come to the position where he commissioned this report to get at the truth - three years, millions of pounds later, he then walks away from the findings he does not like.
"Just like Nolan [on MPs' outside earnings], just like Greenbury [on top executives' pay and perks]. It's a text-book definition of Majorism."
The Government last night applied another turn to the immigration screw, announcing that foreigners who apply to stay in Britain on the grounds of a common-law relationship can expect to be refused, unless there are particularly compassionate grounds.
Timothy Kirkhope, Under-Secretary at the Home Office, told the Commons that people caught by the change would almost certainly be deported if they refused to leave voluntarily.
From now, applicants will be refused unless they can prove they are legally married, or that they are engaged and intending to marry within a reasonable period of time.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...