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

It does push the balance out of kilter. The balance then is out of kilter. It is exactly why I regarded it as important, if action is taken, that there is a two-party consensus at least, and a three-party consensus if possible. Something may be right, but it may not be possible to enact.

One of the reasons -- the principal reason, at the end of the day -- not the only reason, but the principal reason, at the end of the day, why we were unable to enact Calcutt is that we could not have got it through the House of Commons. If you cannot get something through the House of Commons, you are powerless. That is the difference between -- a government with a large majority can force something through. A government with a small majority -- and in the 1990s, we had a small majority to start with and it shrank to a majority of one -- makes you very dependent upon the whims and fancies of a handful of Members of Parliament in your own party, quite apart from the opposition you can expect from parties other than your own.

And so it isn't something -- in the real world of politics, the political position and whether you can carry something isn't something you can lightly brush aside. If you advance on doing it and you are defeated, then the government just looks weak and incapable of carrying its legislation, and the truth of the matter, it is, in the literal sense, weak, because it doesn't have the votes. That is always the problem with no majority, and we, at the time, had no workable majority.

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