07/02/2012 Newsnight


Jeremy Paxman chairs a debate on faulty breast implants and the cosmetic surgery industry with former page 3 model Katie Price. Plus the latest from Syria.

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Every one of these women has had silicone implants inserted into her


breasts, the process was certificated safe, in many cases it


certainly wasn't. Who should pay for them to be removed? Most women


had their breasts changed, not because they were ill or suffering,


but because they wanted to look different. If they pay to have them


put in, should they also have to pay to have them extracted.


would never think that somebody would put something in your body


that shouldn't be there, that is dangerous. You know, but even if


you pay for it either. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of


women in this country have had these things inserted into their


bodies, but why? The former page 3 model, Katie Price, once boasted


she was "famous for my tits", which she has variously enlarged and


reduced. Naomi Wolf wrote the book that expectations about women's


appearances are a form of tyranny. Also tonight, the Russian Foreign


Minister arrives in Syria, to a huge pro-democracy demonstration,


he hopes to stop the violence, is The immediate questions raised by


the scare over breast implants are pretty clear. One, is there any


need to have them removed, and how urgently? And two, who should pay


for that operation. 95% of women who have had them, have done so for


cosmetic reasons, in private clinic, the NHS medical direct to doesn't


even know who they all are. He told a committee of MPs today, there was


significant uncertainty about whether the PIP implants were safe


or not. The NHS is only offering to remove implants it inserted, but


should the taxpayer also foot the bill for taking out something put


in for purely cosmetic reasons, to make a private company money.


Before we talk this through with our guest, we report.


I'm really angry, really angry. That anybody could be so negligent


as to put these in womens' bodies. They wanted to change the way they


looked, and opted for cosmetic surgery, but now they are angry,


like hundreds of thousands of women around the world, they were given


breast implants made from silicone that should not be inside their


bodies. The implants came from a French


company called PIP, it turned out, its founder, Jean-Claude Mas, had


been dodging inspectors in France, filling the implants, not with


biologically compatible silicone, but an industrial grade, normally


used to fill mattresses. Emma Bennie paid �4,000 for her implants


in 2009. She told us they changed her life. About 3,000 of the 40,000


or so women in the UK who had PIP implants, are thought to be NHS


patients, fitted after cancer surgery, but the vast majority


chose to go through the operation for other reasons.


I felt inadequate as a woman, you know, things like going on holiday


or taking my kids swimming, you know, feeling really self-conscious


about putting on a swimsuit, going into the water, even being married.


Feeling inadequate as a wife, really. So I really, really wanted


to get it done. I'm glad I did. She wants to go ahead with new


implants, but wants the PIP ones taken out. I wouldn't have liked to


be walking around another day with something that's poisonous inside


my body, because it is a scary thought.


Emma is one of the luckier ones, the implant furore erupted a few


days before Christmas this year, when French -- last year, when


French authorities recommended women should have their implants


taken out, because they had a higher than average rupture rate.


Emma's clinic, Nuffield Health, said it would remove and he replace


implants for free. This allows me to remove her


implant, and her implant is intact, and is in pretty good condition.


So Emma's in the middle of her operation, she is having her PIP


implants removed and replaceed with a different brand. This is the one


that has just been taken out. The surgeon is looking for rupture or


leakage, this one is fine. Jean- Claude Mas, who founded the PIP


company, was arrested last month. He has since been charged with


causing bodily harm, and faces a separate fraud trial. But are there


others who let these women down? What about the regulators?


The warning signs had been there for years, the company itself had


faced court action for at least a decade, French investigators have


been looking into PIP for the past two years, reported last week, they


found that French health authorities were sent an anonymous


tip-off back in 1996. The regulator here in the UK is the medicines and


healthcare products regulatory agency, or MHRA, in 2009, lawyers


warned the agency they were receiving reports of problems. It


was not until 2010 when the French found unauthorised material in the


implants and banned them, that the agency began testing the gel.


There are now widespread questions about the way the MHRA goes about


its job. The editor of the medical journal, the lance set, foark, has


said the whole PIP scandal, was an inevitable result of paralysis at


the healthcare regulator. He said their whole approach was to do


nothing until something goes wrong. Nuffield Health was the first


clinic to offer patients free removal and replacement. They want


to see a new registry and better regulation. Andrew Jones is a GP


and their group Medical Director. He's concerned that more might have


been done sooner. Providers were notified in the form


of a medical device alert in March 2010, that is when we took the


decision to write to patients to call them in to see their


consultants. Its clear in subsequent correspondence we have


had with the MHRA, there were issues known about these implants


as far back as 2008. The MHRA says it took up concerns in 2008, before


Back at Emma's operation, and her surgeon has now removed her second


implant. There is some leakage, which used to happen with older-


style implants and common with PIP. This implant has a little gel bleed,


it is getting slimey on the surface. No-one can yet know the long-term


effect of this leakage of industrial grade gel, that is even


from implants that have not ruptured. What about the private


clinics that made profits from PIP implants. A surgeon from


Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital told us in 2005, she was


so appalled by one patient's ruptured PIP implant that she wrote


to the plastic surgeries' Bible, the British Institute of Plastic


surgeries about the case. response to that article, a letter


came back, another surgeon saying it is a problem, I have seen more


of this. There must have been other people out there beginning to think


there was a problem. The clinics that were putting in thousands of


those, I think, they must have been knowing there was something going


on. If they were following up their patients at all, they must have


been aware. Alison Hope told us she has wanted


implants since she was about 20. She had the operation in 2008, but


now wants them taken out. Her clinic, The Hospital Group, wants


her GP to arrange a scan, to see if they are ruptured. If I have them


replaced, whether I pay for them or not, I have to sign a wavier to say


that I won't sue the company, and I won't take it any further.


contacted the Hospital Group, to ask why they are doing this, they


have not responded. Her lawyer is one of a team bringing a group


action against the clinics. Do you want to have the operation or not,


in which case you sign away all your rights, or do you hold on and


hope that at some point in the future somebody will pay for the


operation to be done privately. It is a terrible position for the


women to be in. Has the Government done enough? The


Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has insisted there is no need for


routine removal, even as other countries have said the opposite.


He now recognises women's anxieties and says NHS patients and any woman


let down by her private clinic can have them removed, but not replaced,


on the NHS. Alison's lawyer, Richard Langton, wrote to Mr


Lansley last month, suggesting a way to avoid the estimated �100


million or more it could end up costing the NHS. He has not had an


answer. The main issue here is to get the insurance industry, suring


all the clinics, to accept their responsibility, to indemify the


clinics and pay compensation to women, so they can have the


implants removed and replaced. Emma's operation has been a success.


Tests may have shown there is no risk of cancerer from this gel, but


many women have been left feeling less than reassured about possible


long-term health effects, and in a state of limbo.


We asked the larger clinics and hospital groups, who carried out


PIP breast implants, if they talked to Newsnight. Nuffield Health were


in that report, but none of the others we asked was available to


come on the programme this evening. To discuss this now we are joined


by women from all over the country who have had PIP implants, and the


Health Minister, Anne Milton. Gemma, why did you have this? Personally,


myself, I breast fed two children for two years, and it affected me


greatly by doing that. I was uncomfortable in front of my


husband getting changed, I was very, very depressed, I considered going


to the NHS and requested their help and decided it wasn't fair to do


that, I saved up and went privately. How much did it cost you? Near


�5,000. Was it easy to get that money? Up until a couple of months


ago we were still paying it off, to then be told I may have to pay that


again, was obvious low not going down very well. Laura, why did you


get your's done? I had mine done when I was 21 years old, I just


felt quite inadequate and not very feminine, I thought long and hard


about it, and researched the various different clinics before I


made my decision. I got recommended to go to the particular clinic I


went to by some friends of mine. you regret it? Yeah.


When did you start regreting it? When I found out about the PIPs,


over the Christmas period. That was this year, they have been in you


some time? They have. I have just found out on Friday mine have


actually ruptured. What does that mean? They have broken inside my


body and it has gone into my lymph nodes. Have you seen the doctor


about that? My GP doesn't know about the long-term health effects


of that, that is a major worry for When you went to your GP, Sian


Clarke, what were you told? Sorry Rebecca Ashton, what were you told


when you went to see your GP? was fantastic, I went about four


weeks ago, he referred me for an MRI scan, a letter from the NHS


saying MRI testing and all these things. He was going to help me get


the testing that I needed. everybody had the same experience


with their GP? No. No. What's your experience? My experience initially,


although my GP did refer me for a scan, my clinic went into


administration. They seemed dismissive about it. One of the


laidios I spoblg to recently, her GP -- spoke to recently, sorry the


NHS member of staff she saw for her scan, that she was a waste of their


resources. You are a waste of our resources. Was any explanation


again given -- given for that response? No it was a member of


staff giving her opinion, a human being that needed help. Do you


think these women are a waste of NHS resources? I feel sorry,


talking to some of the women before we started. There is a very mixed


picture. It is really good to hear where GPs have responded, and a


couple of you have said you have been threeted excellently, but


there is no - treated excellently, but there is no room for comments


like that. For a lot of women, not just those with PIP implants, there


will be concerns and they need to talk about them and, if necessary,


have scans. Do you think pip pim implants are dangerous -- PIP


implants are dangerous? evidence at the moment is they are


not, but it doesn't stop women worrying about them. There are two


things we need to look at, whether the regulations work properly,


these were something kite marked. One further thing, when you can


come back. Should they be removed? I'm not a doctor, so I'm not in a


position to say. You are supposed to know what is going on? I'm not a


clinician, I don't know. As I say, the lady who went to her GP,


referred for a scan, that is good. Two days before my actual scan and


testing, I got a letter from the NHS saying everything was cancelled.


I rang the NHS and asked why have you cancelled, I were heartbroken,


they said go back to your doctors in two weeks and they will know why.


To get a letter the day after saying I was going to have a


routine scan. There was no sorry, or I can help. She asked for my


name, the details would be on the screen, she never let me know and


put the phone down on me. Gemma you wanted to come back? Whatest iting


has been done, to what extent has this testing been done. There is a


lot of testing in France, which is why it all came about. The testing


done there has found that 6% they have taken out are ruptured, and 2%


are bleeding. As much as if they rupture there will be trouble, it


is the bleeding, it is a chemical, a mattress filler that should not


be in the human body. What this lady is raising, it was in the last


few days the European Commission saying there is no evidence to date.


What I am saying is it is really important in a situation like this


that we collect research as we go along. That uncertainty is what is


really, really hard for women to live with. We are not being told,


that is my question to you, who is doing this research, what research


is actually being done. It needs to be filtered back to all of us. It


feels like nothing is being done. That's right, I think that point is


important. Which is why we put adverts in the paper. There was a


lot of uncertainty in the middle of January. Even then that was three


weeks too late, this came out 23rd of December, it wasn't until the


18th of January before we got the first advert. The NHS is pretty


stressed, why should tax-payers pay for this. When you go back to the


clinic that did the operation, have they been helpful? Rose? I had done


my privately, a cosmetic place, where I went, they went into


liquidation, they dissolved and opened up as another company, I


went to them and said are they PIP implants, they said, yeah, they


can't do anything about it, they are a new company, they have


dissolved. I have nowhere else to turn to. I don't really want the


NHS to pay for it, I want the company to pay for it. You have


your hand up at the back? I don't want to get forgotten about. I want


to ask a question about why you think they are safe, when so many


of us women, who have the PIP implants, all have the same health


problems, and all the same symptoms, and they are not, there is not


little problems, they are bigger problems. I'm getting menopause


symptoms, I'm 26 years old. Why are all these tests not being done to


find out what this stuff is doing to our bodies. Can I add, a lot of


women who have gone back to surgeries, I showed my surgeries


the difference in my shame and what I looked like -- shape and what I


looked like, I had mine done in 2004, they weren't normal, I they


sent me away, and it is more than two years. There are two issues, we


heard in that report of a clinic that is acting really responsibly.


And the story that you have given tonight is what I have heard from a


lot of women, they don't want the NHS to pay, they want the companies


who did this to come up and do what they should do, which is why we


have said that we will take them out. The NHS is a place of last


resort. We are almost alone in Europe in refusing, hang on a


second, the public health service, we are almost alone in not offering


this service to women? The Welsh are offering to use the NHS to


remove them and replace them with new ones if necessary, why not in


England? If we need to take them out we will take them out and we


will go after the companies. What about the depression, the anxiety,


living day-to-day. Shouldn't they get a scan? Anybody with concerns


needing to to their doctor. There are 40,000 women, a big queue, we


are all waiting in the queue, and you think the door is open and then


you are back behind the other 40,000. I know, there is other


women waiting for surgery for other reasons as well, we have to cater


for it all. It doesn't help if they are ruptured. I know you are really


angry and anxious, I can't solve it tonight. We have been clear what we


will do. You could make a ruling, you could make a ruling that anyone


who is anxious and had implants is entitled to a scan at the very


least? We need an MRI scan, we have a scan that tells us that girls


have gone for scans, everything is clear, they are not happy. What


about that? This lady at the back talking about menopauseal symptoms,


the NHS is there available. They are not doing anything. For people


who have got a clinical need. 26 years old. You are saying they


are entitled to an MRI scan simply to set their minds at rest to see


if they will pursue the clinic. needing to to the GP and get the


referral. I have got it and got cancelled off the NHS. The trouble


is I asked talk about your individual situation. I don't know


why they cancelled it. Neither do they, they wouldn't tell me, they


put the phone down on me. It is not getting filtered, there is no clear


line, it is not straight down the line. We need a system put in place.


There is a system in place, I specifically asked the Chief


Medical Officer to write again to GPs. We will put that up on an NHS


Choices website so you can see it. What undertaking will you give


these women tonight? undertaking is the NHS is available,


free for you. They arele telling you it doesn't work. People


stkpwhrrb they are telling you it doesn't work? People want the NHS


just to help. If your clinic won't see you, you need to go to the GP,


the GP can arrange for a scan for you, you need to be able to get the


reassurance you need, or not, or have the implant removed. And some


women have had them removed, some women have been scanned, some have


not. Why don't you ask the Chief Medical Officer or someone to issue


an instruction? I went to the doctor, he said to me, the other


day, he helped me from the beginning he said there is nothing


they can do. Somebody's doctor, who was on one of the for yums laughed


at that letter, and said, gave it back to her. I know you have


guidelines, they are not all following them. I think you have


hit the nail on the head, that's what I have heard before, which is


why we reissued it, which is why we will put it up tonight, so all of


you have got that information. If you are not getting the treatment


you need, you need to contact your local PCT, who will make sure you


will get the treatment, that is what they are there for. I want to


move the conversation on a little bit, if I may, the editor of the


Sun, up before the inquiry into the press today, tried to explain away


his paper's page 3 girls, by saying they celebrated natural beauty. The


point about breast implants is they are not natural, the intriguing


question may be more intriguing to men than women, is why women would


choose to have foreign objects stuck into their bodies. This is


what two of our guests here tonight felt.


When I was younger I always felt very confident about myself. I


never saw myself as having cosmetic surgery in the future.


I started having children at 20, I'm 44 now, I have six children. I


breast fed them all, I looked at my breasted and one seemed different,


and I decided to go ahead and have surgery on myself. Anyone with


children will realise they don't feel the same as they used before,


that feeling that was before, to me was what I wanted to try to grab


back. I think if someone was to say it is vanity and being vain, I


would probably say, yeah, you are right, because this is how I have


been brought up to see myself, I like to go out, and I like to look


good. I like to walk the street and feel confident. So, yeah, probably


a bit of vanity does come into that, what is the problem with that. Just


because a woman wants to look good, we put make-up on to feel good, we


dye our hair to feel good, what is the problem with having surgery to


feel good. I didn't do it for vanity, I did it


for personal reasons. It was what I wanted, to make me a whole person,


make me feel more like a woman. I chose to have breast surgery


because I had a hysterectomy, after I had my two boys. I didn't feel


womanly, because I had no breast tissue after having my two boys. So


I was really depressed, I went into a really deep depression. So I went


to see my GP, and my GP said to me, if it is what you want, and what


you feel is right, then go ahead, if it makes you happy. Sow I did.


-- so I did. Then after my surgery, I felt so much better, a lot more


womanly, more whole as a person. Katie Price, the former topless


model known as Jordan joins us now, as does the author of the Beautiful


Losers, Naomi Wolf. You have had -- the beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf. You


have had several operations, what would your advice to the 18-year-


old? If I had my way there would be an age limit, up it to 21. I had my


first boob job at 18, it is too young. You don't counsel against it,


it is a risky procedure? procedure is risky, of course it is,


you are going under the knife, it is anaesthetic. People should know,


any cosmetic surgery, if you are going under the knife, it is a big


risk. Have they made you happy? have had bad experiences, and I was


recommended what was I thought the best doctor. It is not the best


doctor and the best boob job, it is about your body and how your body


takes to it. Having implants, anything foreign you put in your


body your body can naturally reject it. People have problems with


anything. No, I would say I'm happy with them, I should be now, I have


had enough done. I was going to say, to keep on changing you weren't


happy with how they were? trouble is, I don't know about you


ladies how many boob jobs you have had, when I first had my implants I


always knew I wanted them bigger, it took me three sizes to get to


the size I wanted. If they had done them initially it would have been


fine. You had three them smaller? had three kids and they drop, I had


them smaller. How did we get to the stage where women are changing


their body shape to make them happier? It is two different things,


we can talk about the pressure to fit in the one-size-fits-all idea.


But women have been lied to, and by the people who are supposed to


represent them. It breaks my heart. There is 25 years of data, which if


you don't know this, I respectfully don't think you are in the right


job, confirming that these breast implants. You are addressing these


comments to the minister? Of course I am. She is in the wrong job?


she doesn't know this, and millions know it, I wrote a book about it in


1993, that was reported in every major media outlet, and the Food


and Drug Administration in the United States outlawed silicone


breast implants because they were giving the kinds of problems you


ladies were suffering from, will you please puss-like symptoms,


autoimmune disorders, anxiety, jitters, diabetes-like system,


inflamation, swelling, rupt turs. I'm not a scientist, I wrote the


beauty myth when I was 26 years old, I'm aing English major. I saw in


British -- I'm an English major. But I saw in British Medical


Journals, those doctors putting the implants in, were sold insurance


because there is a 35-70% rupture rate, you have to order in


multiples because they will rupture in women. The women's magazines I


was reading was saying it is like changing your dress, and it is


people like you who need to tell the truth. I am telling the truth,


and I resent that. Any operation carries a risk. You said there is


no data, ...I Think it is really important that we will have a


review of the whole cosmetic industry. There is data already.


are in this because we have PIP implants put in our body that


shouldn't have been there. feels there is data around, I'm not


lying I tell what you I know today. Silicone migrates into the human


body and causes these problems. weren't we told about that, if they


are countries know about that. Given from what we know you


believe? It is not my opinion. About female beauty. I'm not


talking about silicone implants, I am talking about the implants, but


not the medical consequences, I'm talking about your beliefs about


women's body shapes and what women do to their bodies to conform to


beauty, what do you think about the women? I think they made reasonable


decisions based on what they knew and experiences and pressures they


were having. And people they trust, like the Government. You heard the


woman on the documentary say she can't believe the Government would


allow something that could cause terrible health problems to be put


into my body. These Harlow street doctors are making millions of


pounds -- Harley Street doctors are making millions. They did it


because they wanted to feel better about themselves or the predicament


in which they found themselves. If cosmetic surgery makes them feel


better about themselves, makes them hatchy, that's all right is it?


think a woman should be allowed to do whatever they want with their


bodies, but they are not children and deserve real information. There


is a double standard, you don't have major industries putting


dangerous, proven to rupture, up to 70% rates, into mens' bodies, there


would be a huge joit cry, heads would roll, women are treated like


guinea pigs in our culture, it is not right. Katie Price, did you


feel under pressure to have the changes to your body that you made?


No, even when I was at school, I remember at 16 I went to Transform,


and said I wanted bigger boobs, I wore the pads in the bra. Why did


you do that? I don't know, I have always wanted bigger boobs, they


were small for me, they were like a B, a perfect size, but I knew I


wanted bigger ones. They wouldn't do it and said come back when you


are 18. Why? I didn't do it for my job. I did page 3 natural, they had


a debate, when I said I would get the boobs done, the Sun had a


public debate, and the high percentage said don't do it, I went


and did it for myself. You must have thought about it more, when


you say you did it for you? wanted bigger boobs, in clothes I


feel better, they feel better. But people have to remember, you don't


have to have big boobs, some people are happy to have them lifted, time


of the month they change. It is interesting what Naomi raised about


it being a womens' issue, I have heard there are young men having


pec implants, young men having testicular implants, you need have


had a nip and a tuck for all we know. Not yet. There is a lot of


pressure on young men, being irregular in order, actually. Young


men, 16, 17-year-olds are taking body enhancing drugs and going to


the gym. This is something that is crossing all the genders now.


sorry, for give me, the journalist in -- forgive me, the journalist in


me can't bear you are not giving these women a straight answer about


what your Government will do to pay for the health problems they are


suffering because the Government lied to them and didn't engage in


proper regulatory behaviour. You misrepresented, you told them on


national television there is no evidence, that is a lie. Either you


don't know or it is a lie. I think you need to be accountable for what


you said. I take huge offence to you saying that I'm lying, because


I can only tell you the best evidence I have. If I knew


something that I wasn't saying today, I would say it. Are you


aware, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States


of America, outlawed silicone breast implants because of the


health problems they were causing in women.


What tests have you done to ensure that these are safe? To be left in


our bodies? I rely on the evidence that we are given. Can you answer


the question. They deserve an answer to that question. I can give


them. There is a whole body. not give it now. Because I don't


have it on me. Then you are underprepared. There haven't been


any tested. All I can tell you now is the information I have. I have


this information, I'm not lying to you, it is that at the moment there


is no evidence to suggest, what I am saying, if Naomi is raising all


sorts of other issues, and I will look into that. What is interesting


is I haven't heard from them before now. Can I say something. Hang on a


second, please, if everyone is talking at once, we can't hear


anybody. Let's consider what effect this particular event is likely to


have upon the desire of women like these women here, or Katie, to


change their appearance. Would it make you think twice about ever


having a procedure again? Like I say, I'm sympathetic with these


girls, because I'm, touch wood, mine aren't PIP implants, as far as


I know they are fine. Anything you put in your body that is foreign,


there is always a risk, because it is not natural. People should know


that. In their case, you know, I'm...Do You think people will be


put off? I think they will be put off by what they hear, but they


will go somewhere that don't have PIP implants and they will be fine


again. It is just, it is torturing me, because, you know in 1993, you


could see, I was warning everyone in Britain, these things are going


to rupture, and here are the problems. Imen implant in my lower


back, it is a medical device, it has been through rigorous testing,


I said yes to the implant because I was assured that it was not going


to go bad in five years and leak garbage into my body that would


give me will you please puss and autoimmune dysfunction. These women


-- lupus, and auto-immune dysfunction. People put all kinds


of medical devices in their bodies that have been tested. When things


go wrong people are accountable, there are lawsuits, Government


ministers show up to say they are pulling it from the market because


people are getting ill and suffering. Over and over again it


is women's bodies and health, where it is like, let's empathise with


you and not do anything concrete. When I saw my surgeon, and he said


here's the implant, he gave me pins, squeeze it, I punched it, I threw


it on the floor, I did all of it. I was paranoid thinking I want to


know if it is safe. He said you will probably be dead, if you burst


that impact. Why when I put loads of pins in it, and I squeezed it,


it didn't leak. As far as I'm concerned that is fine. We are


going to leave it there. Thank you all very much. Anyone expecting the


Russian Foreign Minister to emerge from his visit to Syria today with


a plan to bring peace to the country will have to wait.


Precisely what he told President Assad we don't know. His claim that


the President was totally committed to stopping the violence, was more


than slightly at odds with the fact that Government troops are still


shelling ebbs are. The quandary for the west is that -- shelling rebels.


The quandary for the west is what are they to do. Lord Owen and the


Tory MP Lord Stuart will discuss that in a moment. First this report.


In Syria's embattled opposition strongholds, they curse Russia.


But on the avenues of the capital, Damascus, they have been cheering


it today. In the city of Homs, centre of the uprising, more died


as the shelling continued. But in Damascus, crowds, estimated by


state TV at one million, welcomed the Foreign Minister of the country


that vetoed a UN resolution to end the bloodshed.


Many were forced to come, the opposition claimed. But they


sounded loyal enough. TRANSLATION: We have come here to


welcome the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the


intelligence chief, and to thank them for the support of Syria.


TRANSLATION: The Russians will be able to see her living in safety,


how the saboteurs have destroyed our country.


Foreign Minister, Lavrov, and President Assad, apparently agreed


on the need for a national dialogue in Syria, and for the Arab observer


mission to continue. TRANSLATION: Russia is convinced of the need to


retain and expand the mission, which is a serious, stablising


factor in Syria. But with tanks on the streets, the observer mission,


currently on hold, and Arab gulf states today Watchdog their


ambassadors from Syria -- withdrawing their ambassadors, time


is running out. It is too late in the game. The opposition doesn't


want to talk to President Assad any more. Part of the international


community, including the west and some Arab states, have essentially


given up on Assad, on attempts to solve the situation, by means of a


peaceful dialogue. There is more and more talk, one hears, both in


the west, and in places like the gulf, of helping the opposition to


topple Assad, and have a regime change in Damascus.


It is easy to see why Russia, which provides Syria's military with arms,


and has a naval supply base on its coast, might want to keep President


Assad in power. But for Moscow, there is also a wider principle to


defend. The Russian leadership does not believe in military


intervention, especially if it comes amid civil war, the Russian


leadership is also against regime change, on virtually anywhere. This


is partly self-serving, they sometimes see themselves on the


receiving end of other people's efforts to effect a regime change.


The Kremlin is determined to limit a new opposition movement in Russia


itself, but it believes -- that it believes is being encouraged by the


west. But in Syria the movements to unseat President Assad may be


unstoppable. It is not just that the opposition


no longer wants dialogue, the experience of this former minister,


I met recently in Damascus, suggests the regime doesn't want it


either. He put forward this proposal for


dialogue with the opposition months ago. He said President Assad met


him once last September to discuss it, but there has been no further


interest from anyone in power. TRANSLATION: Until now, there are


no cracks in the Government, or the top military brass, or the ruling


bathe party, on the other side it is not pos -- Ba'ath Party, on the


other side, it is not possible to talk to people on the streets,


because they have no leaders. Increasingly both sides think force


is now the only way forward. The Free Syrian Army, made up of


defectors from the state's forces, is hoping for arms from countries


such as Qatar, which supplied the Libyan rebels last year. But


geopolitics around Syria are very different.


The Syrian opposition controls no stretch of territory. Let alone any


border or coastline. The country's neighbours include Iraq, which has


close links to Syria's greatest ally, Iran, Jordan, keen to avoid


antagonising a larger neighbour, and lib non-, where the -- Lebanon,


where the Hezbollah is the largest force. Turkey is against Assad, but


Turkish diplomats have told me the idea of a protected buffer zone on


the other side of its border, inside Syria, where the Free Syrian


Army could mobilise, is impractical, politically and militarily.


For all their efforts, then, outside powers seem unable to


ensure either a military or political solution to the crisis.


Tragically for now, there will be more talking among world leaders,


and more shooting on Syria's streets.


With us now is the former Foreign Secretary and the Balkans peace


negotiator. We're also joined by the Conservative MP, Rory Stewart,


who in a previous life was a deputy govern nor in southern Iraq. Given


that -- Govan nor in southern Iraq. Given that western military option


has been ruled out, what is left? There is there are very few options.


There needs to be a regional solution, we have to restrain


ourselves in Britain for trying to believe we are the solution to this


problem. Many of the things we can do we have done. Such as? Sanctions,


we have been through 19 rounds of sanctions, 100 people supported the


opposition and the Arab League. What we can't do, I believe, it


wouldn't make sense to do, is no- fly zones, safe areas, these kinds


of things would be very dangerous. What options do you think are open?


Not many, I think you could persevere with the United Nations,


because you don't succeed in the UN, doesn't mean it is exhausted. You


have to go back time and time again often, until you can get a better


consensus. I think a solution probably does have to involve


Russia accepting that they are party to a UN resolution. I know


that is difficult for some people to accept, but Russia has interests.


The old Soviet Union was a significant power in Syria, and


they are not going to be brushed aside. It seems to me you have to


go on arguing for a plan pretyo similar -- pretty similar to that


offered by the Arab League. The one thing I would like to see involved


more in the dialogue, not necessarily in action, and they are


wise and have real interests, that is Turkey. Has it been sensible to


commit ourselves to one side of what is now effectively a civil


war? In the end we needed to make that choice. Bashir is inlegitimate,


cruel and unpopular, the future has to be one wourt him. That was the


right decision. I think that is an interesting point about Russia,


Russia finally coming on side in Kosovo was very useful. The fact


that Russia starts being non-co- operative, and starts making


trouble, can put it in a strong position to co-operate later.


is the Russian objective in this conflict? Not ob isolated, pushed


aside, and -- not to be isolated, pushed aside and to retain a


measure of interest in a Syria that will probably be a Syria without


the Assads. The Assad family has form, you know, they brutally


suppressed the very city they are now bombing again. I think that we


may well watch and see that. Now, I only have this reservation, never


rule out the use of force, when you are dealing with braual savage


people, there might come a situation -- brutal, ZAFage people,


there might come a situation where you have to use it. I agree it is


not like Libya, I don't see a role for no-fly zones. But there comes a


point, in any civil war, in modern times, when I don't think we are


ready to just simply let it go on. Would you counsel against the use


of force? I think it would be very foolish for Britain, NATO or the


United States, Turkey is the only player that could possibly get


involved. But the Turkish military relations are bad at the moment,


there is no demand for that action. Turkey could be the only one but I


don't see them do it. I was in Ankara last month, there is no


doubt the military leaders were looking seriously at what they


could do. I think honestly they have come up with the answer there


isn't much they can do. It still means in any Contact Group or


discussion group, we should try to get a stronger role for Turkey.


Does this, though, look to you like a regime that is anywhere near


collapse? No. And one of the reasons for that, unfortunately, is


there is too much regional support from players like Iran, to some


extent from Iraq. Even Lebanon hasn't actually been as co-


operative as we would like. It is very, very tragic this situation,


it is a horrible rae regime, we have to be consistent -- horrible


regime, we have to be consistent that it must go. At the moment we


don't have to give the impression that it is on its last legs.


agree with that. Israel is saying nothing, watch carefully there,


they know more about Syria than any of us, they know it inside and


outside. That would completely change the nature of the game?


Israel is very ambivalent about what will happen, they will watch


very carefully, they are not sure which of it hits their interests.


In the final analysis, this is going to come down to a


humanitarian issue, does it get so bad that we just can't stand aside.


At that juncture, would Russia come into some form of joint initiative?


I like to think they would. Thank you both very much. That may be too


optimistic. That's all from Newsnight tonight,


much more tomorrow, until then, much more tomorrow, until then,


Good evening, it is turning into a bitterly cold night out there, it


could get as low as minus 15 on one or two spots of central England by


the end of the night. A cold start to the day. A dusting of snow in


the south-east, compounding the ice issues. More cloud into the


afternoon in the north, strengthening breeze, it will feel


cold. Further snow flurries across the south-east corner, here cold


because of a raw north-east wind, adding to the wind chill. To the


west and across a good part of Wales, it will be a fine and bright


day, long spells of sunshine. It will be a cold one, especially in


the breeze. It is starting to get a strength to the sunshine. It will


feel probably a little less chilly. Northern Ireland though, a


different story, cloud and outbreaks of rain throughout the


day. The rain easing off at times. Same too across northern and


western Scotland, there is a risk of ice in the short-term, in the


east of Scotland it should be destroy and bright. Change is afoot


for the northern half of the country into Thursday. First of all,


you will notice some rain, the temperatures start to lift up, not


much changing further south. Here temperatures struggling to get


above freezing. A bit of cloud as well. The coldest weather there


across much of England and Wales, mildest Scotland and Northern


Jeremy Paxman chairs a debate on faulty breast implants and the cosmetic surgery industry with former page 3 model Katie Price. Plus the latest from Syria.

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