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Dr. Reid: First, the hon. Gentleman asked whether we could debate various matters relating to Iraq. I think that even the worst enemy of this Government would concede that we have made probably more time available to debate Iraq, the run-up to what happened there and its various aspects than any other Government have done previously in such circumstances. Of course, we will try to allow even more time, but we have to balance the priorities of the House.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman raised the question of the security services. I do not know how to make this any plainer to him. The nature of the collection of the intelligence means that thousands and perhaps millions of pieces of disparate information are brought together. Some of them are corroborated, some are not, some are human intelligence, some are technical, some are from above the sky, some are from beneath the waves, some are photographs and some are gossip. All of them are partial and fragmentary, so the job of making a judgment on that basis is a very difficult one, and it is one that I believe our security services discharge with fantastic capability and professionalism.

It is possible for human beings to make mistakes—of course it is—but let me make the distinction that the hon. Gentleman crossed over again in using the term "false pretences". For the past week, the allegation has been that information that the Government and the chiefs of our intelligence services knew to be wrong was put into the public domain. That is not an accusation that we might have made a mistake, but an accusation of dishonesty against the Government and the intelligence services.

Mr. Tyler indicated dissent.

Dr. Reid: "False pretences" repeats that accusation. That is completely and utterly untrue and it is a manifest

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slur not only on the politicians, but on the chairman and everyone involved in the Joint Intelligence Committee, and we reject it. I make that absolutely plain as far as the Liberal party is concerned.

On the Intelligence and Security Committee, of course, on Niger and everywhere else, it will be able to look at the issue in the round and consider the specific piece of information that the hon. Gentleman mentioned in the context of anything else that may be there. That is up to the Committee. He also suggested that it is not adequate. Since he mentioned the former Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), let me use his words about that Committee:

That is what the hon. Gentleman implied. The former Foreign Secretary continued:

All I would say is that I cannot think of a better way of validating the competence, ability and integrity of that Committee. Having asked for an inquiry, we should let it get on with it.

Kali Mountford (Colne Valley): Can the House have an early opportunity to consider the findings of Cancer Research UK, which has found that fewer women are now dying from cancer? In my constituency, women have written to me about how highly they value local services, including not only clinical services, but aftercare. Should we not share those experiences across the House, so that where there is good practice, it can be shared in all constituencies so that even fewer women die from cancer and women get the counselling that they deserve and need?

Dr. Reid: Absolutely. I hope that those sentiments will be accepted throughout the House. I am very pleased that my hon. Friend has highlighted this matter and that the Cancer Research UK report states that deaths from breast cancer are down significantly and that five-year survival rates for breast cancer are improving all the while. According to reports published last year by Cancer Research UK and the European Institute of Oncology, Britain has had the world's biggest decrease in deaths from breast cancer in the past decade. Since 1960, Britain has had the largest decline in breast cancer deaths in the European Union. I therefore hope very much that we will find sufficient time to debate that issue, as well as many other aspects of women's health.

Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West): May I reinforce the request for a debate on the security services next week, which would allow the high opinion that the Leader of the House has expressed to be shared and agreed across the House? Such a debate would also

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provide him with an opportunity to remind the House just how many weeks the Wilson Government lasted after the then Prime Minister announced that he was being undermined by elements of the security services.

Dr. Reid: I always try to find time for the hon. Gentleman, but he need not wait, because he could start to contribute by using his time not to attack those of us who were defending the security services, but to attack those who are spreading misinformation suggesting that the leadership and the security services are lacking in competence or integrity.

Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley): Can my right hon. Friend find time next week or the week after for a debate on the responsibilities of the media and its regulation in particular? He will know that, on 31 May this year, The Guardian ran on its front page an article about an alleged meeting between the Foreign Secretary and his US counterpart in the Waldorf hotel in New York. Today, on page 25, there is a 2-in column retraction of that claim and an apology for it. It is about time that we got some balance in media reporting in this country.

Dr. Reid: My right hon. Friend will not be surprised at all to know that I agree with every word that he has said.

Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell): Will the Leader of the House confirm that, next week, he will be contacting the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, the previous Government Chief Whip, to volunteer information about rogue elements in the security services and to give evidence following up the very serious allegations that he made in The Times yesterday?

Dr. Reid: If anyone wishes to find who is spreading the misinformation, they should speak to people who are claiming that information as the source of the stories. Those allegations were made to undermine the Government and the security forces. I made allegations about people who are unknown and anonymous, and whose position is not known, but on whose word the integrity of our security services and Joint Intelligence Committee is being impugned. I cannot stand by and allow that to happen. Given that the right hon. Gentleman previously held a position in connection with Northern Ireland, I would have hoped that he would be attacking those who are spreading misinformation about our security services, rather than defending those who are maligning them.

David Cairns (Greenock and Inverclyde): Ninety per cent. of the heroin on the streets of Hamilton, North and Bellshill, as well as Inverclyde, originates in Afghanistan. Given that, will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the recent United Nations report predicting that this year's poppy harvest in Afghanistan will be the largest ever? We must take steps now to ensure that the poppy that will be harvested in the autumn does not become the raw opium that becomes heroin on sale in his constituency and mine. Does he agree that cheap heroin on the streets of Britain is not a price that we have to pay for the war on terrorism?

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Dr. Reid: Yes, I very much agree with my hon. Friend, and I shall bring his remarks to the attention of my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary.

Mr. Andrew Rosindell (Romford): Will the Leader of the House find time next week to debate the appalling mismanagement of the European Union's aid budget, particularly with regard to Ethiopia, following the comments of Sir Bob Geldof, who described it as appalling and pathetic?

Dr. Reid: I am always prepared to try to find time for discussions on overseas aid, not least because this Government have a proud record on reversing the cuts that had been so disgracefully imposed by the previous Government. Nevertheless, the hon. Gentleman makes a point about criticism of how the European aid budget is disbursed in some cases and I know that the Government have had their reservations about that. Even if we cannot have a debate in the Chamber, I am sure that there will be an opportunity either in Adjournment debates or Westminster Hall, but I shall certainly seek to ensure that we pay some attention to that matter.

Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): May we have a debate on the role of the oldest political party in Iraq, which was founded in 1934 and includes Sunni, Shi'a, Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians, Christians and Jews, and works with middle-of-the-road parties in trying to establish pluralism and democracy? Should not the role of the Iraqi Communist party be a matter that is considered in the building of a new Iraq, and should not new Labour at least understand the nature of new communism?

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