The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

  • LORD BROOKE (sworn).

  • Lord Brooke, could you confirm to the Inquiry, please, your full name?

  • I am Peter Leonard, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville.

  • I understand there are some corrections and additions that you would like to make to your witness statement before confirming its truth and accuracy. Can we turn first of all to page 5?

    Looking at the bottom of the page at subparagraph (xix), am I right that you would like to insert between the words "of" and "EDH" on the first line the words "selected ministers from"?

  • And that you would like to correct the date at the start of the second line from July 6 to July 8?

  • I would like to do that too.

  • We move now to page 10 and to subparagraph -- do I have this right? Page 10, is there a correction you wish to make there?

  • I need to look at that.

  • It may certainly be right.

  • Yes, paragraph (xlvi). It's in relation to the draft White Papers. You've referred in paragraph (xliii) to a revised White Paper completed on 30 June, and then again you refer to a final draft at paragraph (xlvi). Did you want to make clear that there were differences between the document of the 30th and the document of 14 July?

  • I think it would be helpful if I did. There were about 12 paragraphs in chapter 2 and a further 12 paragraphs in chapter 4 where they were either amended or rewritten, and the order of the chapters was also reversed, so that chapter 3 on July 30 became chapter 4 on 14 July and vice versa.

  • Over the page on page 11, the paragraph 2(a) to (c), a third of the way down that paragraph, did you want to replace the phrase "nearly 20 years ago" with "in 2005"?

  • Yes, I would very much like to do that. I can only assume that the word 20 is the thing which has caused the error.

  • Then if we go back to page 6, subparagraph (xx), which refers to a flurry of interdepartmental correspondence in the period 9 to 15 July 1993, did you also wish to make reference to a meeting on 28 July?

  • Yes, I did, because it -- I indicate that I was not quite clear what was happening. It was quite clear that the meeting which the Prime Minister and I should have had on July 21 got moved to the 28th and the Home Secretary joined it, and it was quite clearly by that stage Parliament had risen and we were elided into the recess and we were therefore discussing how we would take matters further in the recess. I did actually cite four -- there was an agenda of four items which we were going to cover, which I can let you have afterwards, if you wish.

  • Thank you. Subject to those amendments and clarifications, are the contents of your witness statement true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?

  • They are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

  • Lord Brooke, thank you very much. I take all that. I'm very grateful to you for going back in your memory to revisit these activities. You'll probably appreciate that we've taken you slightly out of order, so that your successor came yesterday, but we'll be able to fit it in. Thank you very much.

  • Lord Brooke, you were a Member of Parliament between 1977 and 2001. You were a member of the government between 1979 and 1994, with positions in the Whips office and the Departments of Education and Science, in the Treasury, in the Northern Ireland office and, of particular relevance for the Inquiry's purposes, you were Secretary of State for National Heritage between September 1992 and July 1994; is that right?

  • You then moved to the Lords in 2001 and became eventually the Chairman of the Association of Conservative Peers; is that right?

  • That is also correct.

  • You've also been the Chairman of the Conservative Party between 1987 and 1989?

  • Can I thank you for the clear and detailed account of your consideration of events concerning the media while Secretary of State for National Heritage. It will enable me to take that as read and simply to pick up on some particular points of interest. Pursuing that approach, can we start first of all on page 2 of your witness statement. I'm looking now at subparagraphs (iii) and (iv), where you tell us that in July 1992 David Mellor announced the appointment of Sir David Calcutt to assess the performance of self-regulation and then shortly afterwards, in September, David Mellor resigned and you replaced him.

    We know that during the intervening period, Mr Mellor was the subject of very considerable press attention, that ultimately the matters raised by the press led to his resignation. Are you able to help us one way or the other as to whether there was any feeling that the press were exacting revenge because Mr Mellor had asked Sir David Calcutt to review self-regulation?

  • I can see that that might well have been ventilated as an idea. I can't remember having had a single conversation on the subject during that summer, and the people who were most involved in the developments of those events were, of course, the executive of the 1922 Committee.

  • Moving now to the response to Sir David's second report, the report was published on 8 January 1993, and you made a statement in the House of Commons six days later, on 14 January 1993. Could you help us, please, on whether or not the response you produced was the subject of Cabinet discussions before you made your statement?

  • Yes. The report reached me on the 8th, which must have been the previous Friday. I held a meeting in my own offices on the 11th to discuss what our next actions were going to be. I wrote to the Prime Minister the same day, saying that I could either make a statement on the 14th or the 19th, we had verified that there were gaps, but I did not allude to the 19th in the witness statement because the Cabinet selected the 14th as being preferable.

    On 13 January, which would have been the Wednesday, the day before Cabinet, there was a meeting of relevant ministers to confirm the line I was proposing we should take and which I had written to the Prime Minister in the statement the following day. It was then discussed again in Cabinet on the morning of the 14th and then I delivered the statement in the afternoon.

  • Were there any pressures on you to get a prompt response out to Sir David's report?

  • I think it was reasonably well-known that his review was going to be handed over to us, and he -- as he did the previous week. It was subject to a leak. The Daily Telegraph advised us that they had considerable detail of the contents, and that put a certain degree of pressure on us to advance matters.

    It was also the case that there were -- two stories emerged in the tabloid press between the end of the previous week and my giving the statement which looked like stories which had been brought out of cold storage, having waited there for a suitable occasion. Whether it was in fact tabloid competition or whether it was that they were just sighting shots to warn everybody that life might be becoming exciting, I don't know, but the combination of all those events were that we wanted to make a statement as early as we could.

    On the previous occasion in 1990, when the first Calcutt 1 reported, there was about a five-week gap between publication and the Home Office statement about it. I'm not in any way comparing those two facts, because the original report, Calcutt 1, was that of a full committee under Sir David, whereas the review was simply Sir David himself, but the combination of all those things was why we moved as fast as we did.

  • Thank you. A feature of the statement you made to the House, and we have a copy at tab 2 of your bundle, is the position that the government took on the question of statutory regulation of the press. I'll just read from your statement:

    "We are conscious that action to make such a body statutory would be a step of some constitutional significance departing from the traditional approach to press regulation in this country. In the light of those considerations, the government would be extremely reluctant to pursue that route. A most persuasive case for statutory regulation would need to be made out."

    Although the government didn't completely rule out the option, it would appear that right from the very outset of its consideration of Sir David's report it showed extreme reluctance to pursue that route. Is that fair?

  • It would be very difficult for me to dissent from the words that I actually used. The press has been not subject to statutory interference, to choose a word at random, since 1695. The first time it happens, it's going to be a very significant event, and the government -- any government is going to have to know absolutely that that is what it wants to do at that time, and we were certainly giving ourselves time to allow both -- the proceedings on Mr Soley's bill, which were due to start at the end of January, and also for the National Heritage Select Committee to make their report, which actually gave us something of a breathing space for further consideration. But you're quite right, we were very firm at the beginning, not least because if we had not been very firm, all sorts of questions would have been asked of us in the intervening period before we were ready to report.

  • Would it be fair to say then that the strategy was to give the press a further chance to regulate itself, but not ruling out that if in the long term they failed to do that, statutory regulation might be back one day on the agenda?

  • That would be correct. We did have the advantage -- I suppose it was an advantage -- of knowing that Sir David himself had found the arguments fairly evenly balanced before he came to his conclusion.

  • But having said that, you did make it abundantly clear that the government considered that self-regulation under the Press Complaints Commission as presently constituted was not satisfactory.

  • That is absolutely correct, and patently it had to improve.

  • Could you help us, please, Lord Brooke, with why the government chose to oppose Clive Soley's bill, which would have introduced an independent press authority with considerable power over the press?

  • I think probably three reasons. Any government looks at every single Private Members' Bill that comes through in order to verify whether it wishes to see such a piece of legislation on the statute book, and no bill -- it would be very, very unusual for any Private Members' Bill to get to the statute book unless the government were prepared to support it.

    I think I used the word draconian in terms of my description of Mr Soley's intentions, so there was a view about the government, about the bill anyway. But beyond that, if we were going to be responding ourselves not only to Calcutt 2 but also to the National Heritage Select Committee in due course, there was no sense at all from our point of view in having other legislation cluttering up the deck.

  • Can we move now to page 5 of your witness statement, please to subparagraph (xvii). Here you're minuting the Cabinet Committee on Home and Social Affairs, the Chairman, about the White Paper that's being investigated, and you say:

    "... since we preferred a voluntary route, self-regulation should continue to be evolutionary, and a non-statutory ombudsman appointed by the newspaper industry assisting in the investigation of complaints would be a further step on this route."

    Could I ask you, please, to expand upon the thinking behind an ombudsman?

  • Yes, the Select Committee had raised the subject of an ombudsman in the middle reaches of their own deliberations and the Lord Chancellor, I'm not quite sure whether they invited him or he invited himself, but he did give evidence to them as a witness towards the end of their inquiry, and he specifically answered a significant number of questions about the whole concept of an ombudsman about which, in a voluntary capacity, he felt would be a significant -- of significant lubrication help to the Press Complaints Commission in terms of doing their job, and it was on the strength of that that he was himself -- the Lord Chancellor was himself keen that we should in fact make further progress with that idea.

    I have to say that there was no evidence that the Press Complaints Commission themselves were excited about having an ombudsman, whether statutory or voluntary.

  • Can I explore a little further this concept of evolutionary self-regulation. What was the thinking first of all on questions of independence?

  • The position both in Calcutt 1 and 2 and in the government about how the Press Complaints Commission should develop were, I think, fairly close together. What you had to do was steadily build up, allow the Press Complaints Commission to build up -- be allowed to build up by the industry a whole series of different instruments which they could deploy in order to be more effective, but it was not a big bang solution.

  • Were you envisaging that at some stage that would involve investigatory powers?

  • I doubt it. It would, in the context of a complaint -- I mean, if there was a complaint to the ombudsman, then he would quite clearly have to do a certain amount of investigation. We were not envisaging that he would have any responsibility for fining. We were hoping that the Press Complaints Commission could see their way for him having access to a small sum of money, not a large sum of money but a small sum of money, so that private individuals who were in genuine distress about the way they'd been treated by the press could, if the case was found in their favour, have something to show in terms of compensation for what they'd been put through.

  • Was it envisaged that the combination of the PCC and an ombudsman would deliver regulation in the sense of both a supervisory section and a complaints function?

  • There was -- they were certainly separate. The ombudsman was directed effectively towards privacy. This quite separate discussion we were having about criminal charges related to intrusion.

  • And if I am forgiven for dwelling on the word "regulation", was it part of the government thinking that the PCC would be a regulator?

  • I think I'm going to give you a Delphic answer and say I think we were envisaging that they were going to be a self-regulator.

  • I ask you that because we've had some evidence that the PCC as it developed was not in fact a regulator. Would that be a cause for concern for you?

  • I think -- now you are taking me back into waters which 20 years ago are --

  • I'm not asking you about 20 years ago. I'm asking you, bearing in mind the thinking 20 years ago, does it concern you that this Inquiry has heard evidence that the position that we ended up in was a PCC which was not regulating?

  • I think that is a fair comment.

  • I'm going to just pick you up on your word, Lord Brooke, if you don't mind. What did you understand by a self-regulator?

  • I -- I produced a Delphic answer in order to extract myself from a position I did not particularly wish to be in.

  • All right. I won't press you if you prefer not to.

  • I wouldn't go to the stake for the phrase.

  • Can we move now to page 8 of your witness statement. I'm looking now at subparagraph (xxxi). This subparagraph concerns or refers to a consultation which had taken place over a number of months between the summer and autumn of the previous year and you say:

    "The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Scotland invited EHD to agree there should be a statutory remedy for infringements of privacy, arising from their conclusions on their July consultation paper that the civil law relating to privacy should be put on a sound statutory footing."

    Can I take it from that that the outcome of the consultation in 1993 found that there was a public view in favour of a privacy tort?

  • Overall, their consultation led, I think, to 124 replies, but overall, and particularly if you took out the media responses which were not universally hostile but were substantially hostile, if you took those out, I think my recollection is that there were -- 58 respondents were in favour, 29 had no clear view and 16 were against. If you take out the ones who had no clear view, which was frequently because they were only looking at particular aspects of the proposition rather than the whole proposition, then the majority in favour of going ahead, leaving out the media, was something like 4 to 1.

  • Yesterday we heard evidence from Mr Dorrell about the reasons that were finally given to not proceeding with the privacy tort, and they were in substance that there was no public consensus in favour of a privacy tort. Would you like to comment on the seeming significant change in position?

  • I obviously don't know the background to it because I was not -- I was no longer in the government, but you could certainly defend his wording if you were to put the media responses back in, because, as I say, they were almost all opposed.

    My own reading of the documents, of his package, was that at a later date, after I had gone but after Lord Wakeham had become the chairman of the PCC, we achieved something else, which the Lord Chancellor had been equally enthusiastic about, which was to get the tort written into the code of practice of the Press Complaints Commission. I don't think that would -- I have to say, as an individual, I don't think that would have happened unless you'd had a Parliamentarian acting as Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, who could see what the benefits were going to be if it were done, but the fact that the Press Complaints Commission were prepared to do that and to have the tort incorporated in the code would of course immediately have affected the attitude of the government to the alternative of their own action.

  • Moving to the next paragraph, subparagraph (xxxii), this is 19 January 1994 and it refers to a meeting held by Lord Wakeham with the Lord Chancellor, the Home Secretary, the Solicitor General, the Deputy Government Chief Whip and yourself on Calcutt issues. Lord Wakeham reported the discussion to the Prime Minister as being:

    "... highly productive, with a common view on a number of key issues -- the proposed privacy tort, the criminal offence ([subject to] loose ends remaining in workability) and [press] self-regulation."

    Having been --

  • Press self-regulation.

    Having been through the history, this appears to me to be a high watermark in terms of a consensus to take action in relation to the tort, the criminal offence and press self-regulation; is that fair?

  • I think it is fair. It was obviously -- the meeting was called because of the meeting of EDH which was going to appear on 8 February, and it was to roll the wicket in advance of that, but it also gave a green light to my department that further work on the preparation of a White Paper itself was in fact potentially -- going to be potentially productive, because agreement was breaking out.

  • If that was a high watermark, perhaps we can try and trace where the tide starts to go out again. Could I ask you to go over the page to page 9, please. If we start at subparagraph (xxxix), there you refer to Number 10 writing on 7 March 1994 " say that the Prime Minister wished to consider the draft White Paper further before agreeing to proceed with publication." Is it right that you've not in fact seen the letter?

  • Yes, it is right, and I had a -- there were -- I had assumed that it was simply an amber light that we shouldn't mount up all speed with what we were already doing and that we were going to hear more thereafter.

    There is a tinier point which is perhaps worth making here, in relation to the Prime Minister's own witness statement, in which he says that he wrote to me in March of 1994 and asked me a number of questions about the PCC and what was happening. Now, I have not -- in the files that I have been exploring, in both DCMS and the Cabinet Office, I have not seen a copy of that letter, and I can only assume it's actually the letter which I refer to as the March 7 letter, which contained this other question mark as well, otherwise I don't -- I'm not in any way resiling from what is said in the Prime Minister's statement, it's just that it's not in the documents that have been available to me.

    If it was so, then it was so, and I'm perfectly happy to stand by the answer I gave to the question which I still have to regard as hypothetical in the correspondence, in his statement.

    Then he wrote on the 31st and it was obviously quite different. We in the meantime, as you will know, had asked for permission to publish on March 15.

  • It's to the 31st that I wanted to turn next, because on this date Number 10 writes to enlarge on the earlier letter and commend continuing pressure to improve self-regulation, but it also asks that you recast the draft White Paper to set out the case for legislation but balancing it with the arguments against, acknowledging the need for wide defence provisions against charges of criminal offences, but also the unworkability of the offences with such defences included, and that although a privacy tort was under consideration, the PCC including its provisions within its own code of conduct would be even better, and in both cases draft clauses should also be published.

    Can I pick up on that, first of all by asking: this does begin to mark the turning of the tide, doesn't it, and a falling away from the position in January where consensus appeared to be emerging?

  • The straightforward answer is yes. We were basically being asked to put the draft White Paper, which we'd got ready for March 15, into a drawer and effectively go back to the drawing board.

  • The new thinking appears to emerge from Number 10. Is it your understanding that it was the Prime Minister himself who was responsible for this change of tack?

  • I cannot think of anybody else who would have been responsible.

  • In terms of timing, the requirement to introduce draft clauses into the White Paper, we see at paragraph 41 that the Lord Chancellor was in favour of the proposed tort, but warned that the preparation of draft clauses would take longer than redrafting the White Paper. So is it right that that was going to set back the timetable significantly?

  • Well, it certainly took us -- I mean, even without the complication of the draft clauses, it certainly took us from March 31 to June 30, which was a three-month period, to produce the revised White Paper.

    I should probably say in parentheses that if you go back to paragraph 2 of my own witness statement, I do say in the final sentence of that paragraph that we were also preparing a White Paper on the BBC, and in a department as small as DCMS, you would have had the complication of -- we really got two tasks going forward simultaneously. That may have slowed us down a bit. There's no question at all that the draft clauses were a complication.

  • Was the Lord Chancellor's concern in this regard shared by the Home Secretary?

  • The Home Secretary -- and I know that this correspondence exists, but I did not include it in my witness statement because in the very considerable amount of paper moving that DCMS is having to do at the present time, for perfectly obviously honourable and legitimate reasons, the particular correspondence became mislaid, but in the beginning of June 1994, the Home Secretary wrote and said that he would like to go back to the idea that the White Paper might be published without draft clauses. He wasn't pressing it, but he was simply saying it would be much easier if we didn't have to produce the draft clause, and Number 10 within a week had said that this really was not the time to be producing a suggestion of that sort.

    So there's no question at all that the draft clauses were a complication.

  • Turning now over the page to page 10 of your statement and looking at subparagraph (xlii), amongst other things you tell us that Lord Ackner, the former Law Lord, tabled a new clause to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill, which would, had it been enacted, have brought into effect the totality of Sir David Calcutt's proposals in his second report.

    First of all, are you able to help us at all as to why Lord Ackner felt it necessary to introduce this new clause?

  • Well, Lord Ackner was one of the comparatively few retired Law Lords we had in the House of Lords at that time. He has, of course, since died. He enjoyed teasing governments by introducing, particularly into this sort of legislation -- I won't describe them as mischievous, but things that were certainly going to make the government sit up and pay attention. I don't know what his precise motivation on this occasion was. He may have been a close personal friend of Sir David. There may have been a university connection, I don't know at all.

  • He may even have thought it was the right answer.

  • It is perfectly true, he may well have thought it was the right answer. Given the speed at which the government were moving, it would have been a perfectly reasonable observation on his part that it was sensible to actually set the government the problem directly revealing why they weren't doing it.

  • In the result, though, the clause was not enacted, was it?

  • It was not enacted.

  • A final question in relation to the whole period that you were dealing with this matter, the response to Calcutt 2: were you the subject of any lobbying by the press?

  • I certainly cannot recall any lobbying at all. I do -- I did reveal in the third document which I submitted that I had had a historic relationship, going back into the 1960s, with Sir Frank Rogers, and I had some conversation with him, but he would have regarded that as social rather than lobbying.

  • Looking back, would you regard the events following Sir David's second report as being a missed opportunity?

  • I personally -- I indicate my regret in the closing paragraphs of the witness statement. I think it was a great pity that we were not actually able to reach agreement between us, among us, and go forward, because although the government might have been able to sleep better at night because it had not crossed the Rubicon, the fact is it might have been a better thing if the Rubicon had been crossed.

  • Moving to the present day, and of course events have moved on very considerably, do you have any views as to the shape which future regulation or self-regulation of the press should take?

  • I find that an embarrassing question because you could very reasonably say I should have spent the whole of the last 30 days thinking about it. I'm afraid the examination which you set me was sufficient for a bear of very little brain. It was sufficient testing that I haven't spent as much time thinking about the future as I should. If you want to ask me some direct questions, I'll certainly try.

  • I should say I'm certainly not going to suggest that you're a bear of little brain, on the contrary. I should also make clear that these examination questions are optional questions. But in terms of whether regulation of the press should be independent, do you have a view as to whether it should be independent of the press or not?

  • I think my answer to that would be that having a majority of independent participants in whatever body is doing it is all for the good. I can see some disadvantages in not having any members of the press because then you're actually carrying the thing too far in the opposition direction.

  • Nobody is suggesting that the government should regulate the press, so I'm not going to ask you that perhaps obvious question, but there is a difficulty as to how one devises a system which includes all of the press, because the situation at the moment is that there are elements of the press who sit outside the PCC. One mechanism for ensuring that everyone falls under a future scheme would be to have a statutory underpinning to an independent regulator. It's not the same as statutory regulation of the press, a statutory underpinning for an independent regulator. Do you have any views on that as a way forward?

  • I just want to make sure that I'm understanding correctly. Given the period since 1695, to what degree are we -- I'm sorry, I shouldn't be cross-examining you. I need to know to what degree we are trespassing into areas of statutory activity which we have otherwise foresworn.

  • You're asking for a clarification of the question, which is entirely proper. We're talking about a system which in no way trespasses on the freedom of the press or the freedom of expression, but is designed to allow a regulator to enforce agreed ethical and professional standards, effectively the PCC code, but enforced by an independent regulator, which, because it has a statutory underpinning, is able to regulate all of the press.

  • I'm not sure if my answer is going to be coherent, but I am struck both by the way in which -- I'm now talking about the evolution that we've been experiencing since the war, though I can't help remembering the famous story of the Westminster bar election in 1931, when Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister made his famous remark about the press barons, which suggested that not all was peace and light prior to 1939.

    But in the period since 1945, I observe that quite extraneous events, like a Private Members' Bill, actually have had the effect of moving the story on quite a lot. In the case of the 1949 Royal Commission under Sir William Ross, there was a proposal that the press should have a general body of their own, and they showed no sign at all of doing anything about that until a backbench MP called Mr Simmons in 1952/53 brought in a Private Members' Bill, whereupon effectively almost instantly the press came around to the original recommendation in the Royal Commission.

    In the same way, in 1989 -- I noticed the text of Mr Dorrell's account of how the Calcutt 1 was set up, but its actual genesis was the report stage of Mr Worthington's bill entitled "Right of Reply" in 1989, and the government minister responding at the dispatch box on that bill basically foreshadowed Calcutt 1 in his response.

    So these things happen as a result of different, frequently unrelated episodes. The other Royal Commissions and Lord Younger's Commission weren't quite so fruitful, but then there wasn't a Private Member around to help.

    In the same way, another instance which I would quote from my own time, the episode of the Mirror in the first week of November 1993, when the photographs were taken of Princess Diana working out in a gymnasium, had a very powerful effect on the behaviour of the press immediately, because they had been resisting anything that in any way related to -- either to Calcutt or to ourselves and indeed others, and then suddenly changed their minds when they realised that an episode as absurd as the Mirror episode, where the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission rebuked the Mirror -- the Sunday Mirror, in fact -- rebuked the Sunday Mirror for their behaviour, first led the Sunday Mirror to walk out of the Press Complaints Commission, and then to come back, and it was clear that some of the things that were being said to them about the degree of control that they had were actually being proved by reality.

    So on balance, partly because of the way in which things have happened in the past, I think that the suggestion you've made may well be very constructive.

  • My final question is to ask you whether any of the following activities would be objectionable if carried out by a future regulator of the press: investigation, power to fine, to award compensation, to require an apology to be made, to require corrections, to handle complaints in a quick, cheap and non-legalistic way?

  • Again, I must ask for an explanation. Are we going back to the hypothesis you put to me a moment ago?

  • Yes, a regulator of that format doing those things.

  • Well, I have to say my own instinct would be reform of the House of Lords also takes a very long time. I wouldn't want to do a big bang. If you were going to do that, I would move his powers up perhaps steadily, but I wouldn't try and do it all at once.

  • When ever will there be a willingness to engage with these issues again? The trouble is that your history amply demonstrates that there is press disaster, clamour for change, some movement forward, slipping back, press disaster, clamour for change, moving forward, and here we are yet again.

  • I'm happy to take the rebuke, sir.

  • It's not a rebuke, it's not a rebuke.

  • No, no, sorry, I'll take that back.

    I think, as in almost all other human affairs, it depends on certain people having a lot of courage. I can't help remarking that -- I make some allusion to it -- that the one person in the narrative that I lived through who was absolutely clear about what he wanted to do is the present Minister for Justice, and who urged on those of us who were directly involved to take steps which were way beyond those that the collective wills wanted to do, and I don't want in any way to rewrite -- well, to write the history of the period in which I served in government, but I was always of the view that Mrs Thatcher belonged to that school of people identified by Ronnie Knox, the theologian, who said, "History is changed by people who say 'I believe'", and if you're going to do it in a big bang, then it's going to have to be a big person to do it.

  • And you're nominating the Lord Chancellor?

  • I'm not nominating the Lord Chancellor, because I had dinner with him not -- quite recently, and he did say he was finding red boxes at night slightly more trying than he had done in his youth, so how long he will be willing to be in a front line political position I don't know, but all I can say is he absolutely never wavered on the positions that he had on these particular subjects, and of course he was doing them from the difficult position of being Home Secretary, which is where part of the problems lie.

  • Thank you, Lord Brooke. Those were all my questions.

  • Lord Brooke, thank you very much indeed. Is there anything you want to add or feel that we haven't sufficiently covered?

  • I don't think so, sir. I think that's grand.

  • Thank you very much indeed.

  • The next witness needs to come in, but if we could rise for about a minute?

  • Yes, we'll certainly rise for a minute and allow Lord Brooke to leave and the next witness to come in. Thank you.

  • (A short break)

  • Sir, the next witness is Mr Michel, please.