09/06/2011 The Record


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Hello and welcome to The Record. The main headline:


David Cameron has addressed the Northern Ireland Assembly at


Stormont. He told Assembly Members the constitutional future of


Northern Ireland did not rest with the Government but now rested with


the people. Also on this programme: What are the lessons of the


explosion at the nuclear plant in Japan?


And MPs react to news that the Attorney General has found no


evidence to support conspiracy theories about the death of the


scientist Dr David Kelly. His statement today should put to


bed some of the outrageous and fallacious speculations that


members of our security forces might have murdered Dr Kelly.


But first, David Cameron has become the second Prime Minister to


address the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont since the


signing of the Good Friday Agreement 13 years ago. He was


driven to the Assembly building on the outskirts of Belfast shortly


after 2.00pm, meeting officials as he arrived, before stepping inside


the famous and historic building. A short walk through the building,


and then Members of the Assembly got to their feet as the Prime


Minister entered the chamber. David Cameron spoke first about some of


the history of the building. Can I say what an honour it is to stand


here and speak in this historic chamber? Of course, I recognise


this is not a place without controversy. In the past it was for


some a guarantee of their place within the Union. For others, a


symbol of a state and a system from which they felt excluded. They do


not intend to ignite that debate, but I am reminded of the words of


King George V when he opened the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921,


and his appeal to all Irishmen and women to stretch their hand of


forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and to join in


making for the language they love a new era of peace, contentment and


goodwill. -- the land which they love. He said it was time to start


moving beyond the peace process. Given the history of Northern


Ireland I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge. But it is a


depressing fact that since the 2006 St Andrews agreement, the number of


so-called Peace Walls has in -- increased from 37-48. It is


disappointing that in too many places Protestant and Catholic


communities remain segregated, sharing the same space but living


their lives apart. According to one survey, the cost of division


through the duplication of public services alone is around �1.5


billion each year. But this is not just about the economic cost. It is


about the social cost, too. It is these divisions that helped to


sustain terrorism and other criminal activities, particularly


within deprived communities. It was time to revive the private sector


and attract investment. Northern Ireland is simply too dependent on


the state for economic activity. According to one report, three-


quarters of your GDP is accounted for by a state spending. At a time


when we are dealing with the biggest budget deficit in our


peacetime history, that is unsustainable and has to change. We


recognise the difficulties facing Northern Ireland as you chart a new,


more sustainable economic future requires us in Westminster to act


responsibly. That is why we made sure that Northern Ireland did


proportionately better than other parts of the UK in the Spending


Review. By the end of this Parliament, the Northern Ireland


resource budget will have gone down by 6.9%, 1.7% per year.


concluded: let's work together to make


devolution a success. Let us work together to revive the economy. Let


us work together to build a shared future. And in working together, be


assured that you have a Prime Minister, a secretary of state and


a government that will always stand by the people here in Northern


The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has rejected calls for an


inquest into the death of the Government scientist Dr David Kelly.


It was in the summer of 2003 that the body was discovered of the


scientist who was at the centre of a row between the BBC and the


Labour Government over the details of intelligence on Iraq. The Hutton


Inquiry in 2004 found that Dr Kelly had committed suicide. But a group


of doctors have mounted a long- running campaign for the inquest to


be reopened, claiming the evidence did not point to suicide. Dominic


Grieve spoke about the large amount of paperwork he'd received about Dr


Kelly's death. Having given all the material that has been sent to me


the most careful consideration, I have concluded that the evidence


that Dr Kelly took his own life is overwhelmingly strong. Further,


there is nothing I have seen that supports any allegation that Dr


Kelly was murdered, or that his death was the subject of any kind


of conspiracy or cover-up. In my view, no purpose would be served by


my making an application to the High Court for an inquest. Indeed,


I have no reasonable basis for doing so. There is no possibility


that at an inquest a verdict other than suicide would be returned.


turned to the theory that the body of Dr Keme had been moved at the


area where it was found. -- Dr Kelly. If it had been moved, why,


by whom and for what purpose? This issue has been fertile ground for


imaginative speculation. In fact, all of the evidence provided by the


careful forensic examination of the scene at the time, and a detailed


review which exceptionally I have undertaken, supports the view that


Dr Kelly died from -- died where he was found and from the causes


determined. There is no evidence I have seen that would suggest any


other explanation, or suggest any cover-up or conspiracy whatsoever.


I wish to emphasise that my conclusions and decision are, as


they must be, entirely my own, based on my assessment of the


evidence. I have received no representations of any kind from


the Prime Minister or any other ministerial colleague on this


decision. The Attorney General's decision also substantiates the


findings of a postmortem and toxicology reports conducted


following Dr Kelly's death and published by the Ministry of


Justice last October in the interest of maintaining public


confidence in the inquiry into how Dr Kelly came by his death. The


opposition, therefore, accepts the decision today, on the basis that


he has very carefully and clearly outlined his detailed reasons for


not applying to the High Court to request an inquest into Dr Kelly's


death, due to the lack of new compelling evidence that Dr Kelly


did not commit suicide. As a member of the foreign affairs committee


that took evidence from David Kelly in 2003, I have never doubted that


he committed suicide. I always believed Lord Hutton was right on


this, even though his conclusions on the war have subsequently been


challenged. I have known the Attorney General for many years and


I know he will have done a thorough and diligent job. Will he accept


that the evidence on this is clear and it is time to bring closure to


this matter and move on? Will he know that when, along with


intelligence and security colleagues, I questioned Dr Kelly


two days before he died, I formed the view that a very distinguished


public servant was deeply distressed by the situation in


which he had placed himself. But although I am not persuaded by any


of the theories that have been put forward as an alternative to


suicide, could the Attorney what he thinks would be lost by allowing


the process of inquiry to be completed by an inquest? Well, the


first problem, have to say to my right honourable friend, is that


there is no basis on which the High Court could possibly order an


inquest. So in my judgment, if I were to go to the High Court and


make such an advocate -- application, it would be dismissed,


and dismissed, have to say, on the basis of my reasoning, with a


certain amount of irritation. the Attorney General agree with me


that his statement today should put to bed some of the out Regis and


fallacious speculations -- outrageous and so fallacious


speculations that members of our security forces might have murdered


Dr Kelly? Can I welcome his statement. He will know that this


will do nothing to discourage the paranoid conspiracy us so. On the


other hand, even if an inquiry had gone ahead, they would not have


changed their mind just because of the existence of evidence. Talking


of paranoid conspiracy theorists, when the parliamentary secretary of


state for transport told the media last year at the Hutton Inquiry had


cut corners, was he speaking on behalf of the government?


I am quite sure he was not speaking on behalf of the Government. In any


case, the Government, as far as I'm concerned, does not have a position


on this matter. I do, based on my review.


The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has again been criticised for


failing to force banks to lend money to small businesses. Some


months ago, Britain's four biggest banks agreed to increase lending in


an arrangement known as Project Merlin, drawn up to deal with a


shortage of loans following the recession. But new figures show the


banks are already falling short of their lending targets by several


billion pounds. Vince Cable faced MPs during questions to the


Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Figures published in


May by the Bank of England show the UK's five largest banks lent �16.8


billion to UK small businesses in the first quarter, failing to meet


the targets. It is obviously disappointing and we will monitor


lending closely over the year. We reserve the right to revisit the


agreement if banks can such -- continue to miss the target. Many


small businesses in my constituency complain that when they ask the


banks for funding, they are told not to bother applying because they


will only draw interest to their existing facilities and may have


those withdrawn. What can the Government do to stop banks doing


this? And then claiming they cannot meet their targets because of a


lack of applications? There is a genuinely difficult problem of


trying to get previously highly over-extended banks to lend to


small and medium-sized businesses. The Secretary of State was very


critical of the last Government's performance on this issue, saying


the banks ran rings round that Government. But given that the


first indications of project Merlin show a �2.2 billion shortfall


between what the banks are doing and what the Government agreed they


would do, how would he describe the performance of his Government on


bank lending? Of the leading banks, two of them have met the targets,


which demonstrated that the demand is there for the banks that are


able and willing to change their culture of lending. Of course,


where we have taken on the arrangements which the last


Government had was bringing in the private banks, which are not owned


wholly or partly by the taxpayer, in to this agreement. They are


undoubtedly taking it seriously and we are making clear that we expect


this agreement to be delivered, and that the volume of lending to small


and medium enterprises will increase. Will he reassure us that


he is ready to do more than just monitor the situation? In


particular, not allowing banks to get away with the excuse that the


demand is not there, when it is the price of the loan and the terms


attached that so often is too difficult for struggling small


businesses who need the credit? must realise the Merlin agreement


is a busted flush. There is no good coming from it. The continued


failure of the banking sector to meet the minimum targets set,


meaning no new lending, is really not acceptable. The terms and


conditions, as his own right honourable member has said, under


which those loans that are made are made are really very penal, very


often. Can he not get into that? There is no point monitoring, we


want him to examine what is going on and come forward with concrete


proposals to improve it. The Forum of Private Business are calling for


a return to the traditional bank manager model. Some banks are now


doing that. What can we do to encourage banks to give small


business the individual attention and increase the autonomy of bank


managers to make decisions and get rid of this culture of computer


What we are dealing with here is a long-term issue about how you


change the culture of the banks. Some of them, or one in particular,


has been changing its relationship in terms of management. There are


new banks entering the market and competition will help solve this


problem. A Secretary of State or surf mentioned that pay for chief


executive officers. How would this be delivered? Banks of failing to


meet their obligations. In relation to the wider question of meeting


lending objectives, we were assured when the agreement was signed that


the incentives of senior executives would mean their remuneration board


be greater than the share of small lending on their balance sheets. We


are now trying to establish exactly what that means for individuals.


Cabinet minister as hit back at the Archbishop of Canterbury over his


attack on the coalition's policies. Sir George Young said the


archbishop should praise the government on overseas aid and


funding for poorer school children. The archbishop accused the


coalition of rushing through radical policies that have not been


voted on. In February the Prime Minister proclaimed we will soon


publish a white paper setting out aware approach to public service


reform that will signal the decisive end of the old-fashioned


top-down model. Bold words. What has happened? Nothing. First it was


put off until May and now it has been delayed until July because of


another coalition split. One Lib Dems said that Nick Clegg does not


want there to be any sense that the public sector cannot provide good


public services. And finally, Baroness Thatcher famously possess


no reverse gear, but this Prime Minister has a car stuffed full of


them. It does make us wonder what exactly goes on inside Number 10


when the Prime Minister approves of all these promises in the first


place, only to reverse in the opposite direction when his


pollsters tell him just how unpopular they are. After another


week of chaos on this coalition, is it any wonder that the Archbishop


of Canterbury is now on his knees in despair? On the question of the


Archbishop, I have not seen the full text of what he has said, but


I hope he has found time to balance any criticism of the Coalition for


accommodation for some of the things we have done. For example,


the commitment on overseas aid, making sure the poorest people in


the world do not bear the burden of solving our problems. I hope he


also finds time to commend aware action on more resources for the


NHS, taking lower income people out of poverty. The archbishop said


that we were rushing things through, which is not the case. The UK's


nuclear industry has lessons to learn from the Fukushima nuclear


disaster, according to the chief nuclear officer. The power station


was hit after the devastating Japanese tsunami. Radiation levels


have now risen considerably near the plant. The Inspector Mike


Weightman said the UK's industry needed to be better prepared for


extreme weather events. He said the failure of back-up electrical


services in Japan had been a key factor. They lost all offside power.


They lost their switch gear. Effectively, they left Auk on site


power. -- they lost all onside power. When they do try to take


readings, people were taking batteries out of cars to try and


fix them up to instrumentation. There were also having to find ways


of putting waters into -- water into the reactors. However, they


did not have enough electricity for the pumps. He wanted all nuclear


power stations prepared for the possibility of a lent the loss of


power. Very simple means need to be put in place to keep things safe.


Even if there is onside power, it needs to be in the by-play said


that the pumps can work. One example is laying power cable by


hand. A previous issue was that if they have been a pump that would


put the water straight into the reactor, that would have helped.


There are simple things you can think about for these long term


loss of power issues. Also, after 9/11, work was done to figure out


the best way to store equipment off site. If in theory there was a


tsunami that hit Britain, would our work nuclear plants go the same way


as Fukushima do? It would be difficult to say. What we have done


in the UK is it appears we have a different approach to looking at


external hazards. We do not just based it down on -- based it on


what is the largest one we have seen? We look at the historical


data and estimate the worst case scenario. Fortunately, we are not


in a fault line, so aware seismic hazard is not as high. However, if


we did have an earthquake, there would be mass destruction right


across the infrastructure. Would you agree that it would be easier


for you to do your job and draw up a report if there was a widespread


understanding regarding the risks of the nuclear industry? I don't


believe it would make it easier for me to draw up my report. My report


is about saying, OK, this is our bases and we can learn from


Fukushima. It is not about the acceptability of nuclear power, the


tolerance of the nuclear power were industry in the UK. This is simply


saying, here is an accident, it has caused so cycle impacts -- it has


impacted on society. What can we learn about it so we can minimise


anything similar happening in the UK? You are watching The Record.


David Cameron address the assembly in at Stormont and said that the


constitution of Northern Ireland rested with the people. At this


point we say goodbye to our viewers on the BBC news channel.


A former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has set the phone hacking


scandal has shown there is something rotten in the state of


England. In the Lords, he insisted on a public inquiry being held into


the issue. And then you might talk about the Press Complaints


Committee. A body to that is there to hold the media, particularly the


press to account. Even the Press Complaints agency fell to


investigate anything into phone hacking, something that I think it


has an authority to do so. It is worse than that because the share


was fined �20,000 for misleading statements. If that is the body


that has some report, the police should investigate. We are right to


say there is something rotten in the state of England at present and


it is not an acceptable proposition. If you talk about how the media,


you'd better start doing something about the people who are


controlling it who are in content. Regarding the phone hacking that


the noble Lord mentioned, the phone hacking allegations as I have said


before our very serious, but they are matters of the criminal courts


and not for this debate today. the unrest in the Arab world now.


The government has urged British people to leave Yemen where


hundreds of civilians have been killed. Royal Marines are standing


by to help with any evacuation. situation in the Yemen has been


very grave for a long time. I think that we all owe a debt of gratitude


to those members of the Foreign Office who are still prepared to


stay in the embassy in the circumstances, given that the


embassy has come under attack on a number of occasions. But come the


noble Lord assure us, I know this is difficult, but one we know that


demand will be the targets of groups like Al-Qaeda, that in the


eventual possible absence of British personnel on the ground, we


will be able to monitor what is going on in Yemen properly and not


rely solely on Yemen's neighbours to pass information to us? We need


to get high quality information of the best kind. Out to be -- as to


the Al-Qaeda involvement, there is concern that they are operating


there. Getting accurate information is difficult. It is essential for


the government to be even-handed and to which the local population


well. Should that not include Israel? Has the government taken


steps to ask Israeli troops not to shoot at unarmed civilians? This


question is about Yemen. Unfortunately, every country has


different situations that have to be handled differently. We have to


appreciate, respect and understand the end the workings of these


countries to be effective. Now, where have all the tickets gone?


The prospect of sitting in these stadia at the 2012 Olympics does


not seem likely for thousands of people after they found out their


ticket applications were turned down. The Mayor of London Boris


Johnson said he was cheesed off because he did not get his ticket


request and there was another politician on the Labour benches


that did not get what he wanted. Can we have a statement about the


Olympic tickets debacle and in particular why is it they can


devise a system by which a million people did not get anything at all


in the first ballot and people have to do as I do and register on a


French website to get a sensible way of trying to purchase tickets


for the Olympics? Should the committee not be called in, showing


them the instruments of torture and getting them to sort this out?


There were more bitter for tickets and tickets were available, said


they had to be a rational system. There will be an opportunity a week


from today to talk about this and I will give ministers due warning


that the honourable member is on the warpath. So look out for him.


And that's it from this edition of the Record. But do join me for the


Record Review when we not only look back at the week in Parliament, but


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