PM's change of heart on nuclear power issue

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair admitted yesterday he had changed his mind about the benefits of nuclear power since the Government ruled out a new generation of nuclear stations three years ago.

The Prime Minister denied he had pre-empted the findings of the Government's energy review to be published this month - by signalling his personal support for an extension of nuclear power.

He promised the review would also recommend radical options on energy efficiency and renewable sources such as wind power.

Asked why the Government had ruled out the nuclear option in a 2003 White Paper, Mr Blair replied: "Whereas we left the question open and were very sceptical at that point, I'll be totally honest with you, I've changed my mind."

He said it was due to the "urgency" of climate change and the need to secure energy supplies.

In other exchanges during two-and-a-half hours of questioning by the Liaison Committee of senior MPs, Mr Blair denied his style of governing was dictatorial and defended what critics have called his "headline-grabbing" legislation on law and order. "Legislation is not the whole of the answer, but it is part of the answer," he argued.

The Prime Minister came under pressure to extol the positive benefits of the Human Rights Act and he was also asked if the Government had a population policy. He said "no" but said it did have a migration policy.

The real debate was about how to control migration, he argued. "Most people in the country are not racist and just think there ought to be some rules," he said.