Examination of Witness (Questions 1-42)|
Rt Hon Sir George Young MP
10 November 2010
Q1 Chair: Sir George, welcome
and thank you for coming. We have received your letter, which
I have distributed to the Committee, where you give us an update
on a number of issues. We are pleased that, in paragraph 7, you
actually agree with our assessment on the subject of the sitting
times of the House that the best way forward would be for us to
present to the House a series of options for the House to then
decide on, and that is actually how we intend to proceed. We agree
that we should take evidence and views in the new year on this,
so that new Members are used to our sitting times before they
decide where they want to be with it.
Sir George Young: I am very hopeful
that the move will be welcomed by the House.
Q2 Chair: Good. On the question
of ministerial statements, would you like to set out your case
before we go to questions?
Sir George Young: Very briefly.
Ever since I have been here, this has been a source of controversy
between the Executive and Parliament. I am delighted that the
Procedure Committee is looking at this, and I very much hope that
we can come up with a fresh settlement that is acceptable to Parliament
and to the Executive and that recognises that the media operates
in a slightly different way than it did when I first got here.
The Government are committed to the principle
set out in the Ministerial Code that, in the first instance, all
major announcements of Government policy should be made to the
House when it is sitting. We have sought, in this Parliament,
to make more oral statements than before and to keep the House
informed with written ministerial statements, but if we can do
better with your assistance, we would be very delighted to do
so. Basically, I put forward a number of propositions that might
make it easier for the Government to put forward both oral and
written ministerial statements.
Q3 Chair: When the House debated
this on 20 July, you suggested that the House may be able to find
a way of insulating the time taken up by statements from eating
into other business, and yet, in your memo to us, you don't make
any suggestion in that regard. Is that something that you have
reflected on and rejected?
Sir George Young: I think the
House puts a premium on the certainty of knowing when business
will end. At the moment, business ends at 10 o'clock or 7 o'clock
or 6 o'clock on a Thursday. If we were automatically to allow
injury time for statements, the value of that certainty would
be eroded. In certain circumstances, we have added injury time,
I think, to the Report stage or the Committee stage of one of
the constitutional Bills.
The alternative solution, which is one that
I put forward in the paper, is that we get the certainty by having
parameters around the statements, so we know roughly how long
they will take, and perhaps some might be shorter. The Government
would prefer to proceed by addressing the issue of the length
of time of statements, rather than exempting them and having the
business running on beyond 10 o'clock, which raises a whole host
of other issues that you might touch on in your proceedings on
Q4 Mr Gale: Before I move on to
the time limit, Sir George, can I pick up on your reply to the
Chairman? Why do you consider that it's more important to have
certainty about the exact duration of the sitting times than to
properly examine the statements?
Sir George Young: I think the
House puts a premium on knowing when the House will rise. If you
allowed injury time for statements, the certainty that the House
will rise at 10 o'clock or 7 o'clock would disappear. My perception
of the House is that they quite value knowing when the House will
stop sitting. It enables them to plan their lives. With some of
the constraints that you are familiar with, Mr Gale, there is
a premium on knowing when the moment of interruption will come.
The problem with putting in injury time is that that certainty
Q5 Mr Gale: That leads me straight
on to the time limit issue. Surely, however convenient or otherwise
it may be for Members of Parliament isn't really the issue. The
public expect us to do a job. If that job entails sitting for
half an hour or three quarters of an hour longer because of injury
time allowed because of questions on a statement, should we not
be doing that?
Sir George Young: I very much
hope it wouldn't have the opposite effect of making it more difficult
for the Government to make statements because colleagues would
know that an inevitable consequence was that the House would sit
later. Some statements last up to an hour and a half, which would
add significantly to the sitting time of the House. I would want
to reflect long and hard before I moved away from the position
where we are at the moment, which is, by and large, that the House
rises at the times that are fixed. There would be a huge element
of uncertainty if we automatically added injury time every time
we made a statement. It might have the perverse consequence of
Q6 Chair: But one option would
be, would it not, to make injury time not automatic and to give
it to the discretion of the Speaker?
Sir George Young: Again, it raises
the issue of uncertainty for Members in planning their lives,
not knowing whether or not the Speaker would allow injury time
for a particular statement. The Speaker might not know until that
very day whether or not there was going to be a statement. My
own instinct is to try and address it the other way around by
looking at the statements and seeing if one can put some parameters
around it which both allow adequate time for statements and allow
the House the time it needs to deal with the business for the
rest of the day.
Q7 Chair: But would you accept
that that does rather lead to the accusation being made that you
are seeking to protect Ministers from prolonged questioning by
Sir George Young: I think some
of the proposals that I have made in this paper deal with that.
It would be easier for Ministers to make statements if we knew,
for example, roughly how long they were going to take. We might
be able to get two statements in if we knew that the total time
was an hour and a half, whereas if we thought they might both
run on for a long time and that would do injury to the rest of
the business, we might not make the second one. If you can look
at some of these proposals, you might find you got more oral statements
from Ministers rather than fewer.
Q8 John Hemming: What's your view
on statements in Westminster Hall?
Sir George Young: I think that's
an interesting propositionwhether it would be acceptable
to the House for statements, particularly the sorts of statement
that we are talking about today, to be made in another forum,
presumably when Westminster Hall was not sitting and dealing with
the debates that it has at the moment. It also raises the question
at what time those statements might be made. Would they be made
when the Chamber was sitting, or would they be made at another
time of the day?
Q9 Mr Gale: You said that it would
make life easier for Ministers if they knew how long it was going
to take, but I'm not entirely certain that the House of Commons
is there necessarily to make life easier for Ministers. Can we
come to the proposals for time limits? Can you explain to the
Committee why having some time limit on not only the statement,
which could be quite long, with the consequent reduction in the
time available for questionsbut questions as well is any
better than leaving it to the Chair, who, historically, has always
done the job very efficiently, in the light of the number of people
expressing an interest?
Sir George Young: It could act
as a disincentive to make a statement at all or to make two statements,
because one has to strike a balance between the time taken up
on the statement and the time taken on the rest of the business.
The more statements you have, the greater the risk that the House
does not have adequate time to deal with a Second Reading, or
whatever the remaining business is, which is why I put forward
the proposition that, if there were an element of greater certainty
as to how long the statements would last, one consequence might
be that the Government were more willing to make those statements,
rather than risk two statements of, say, an hour or an hour and
a half each, then doing serious injury to the business for the
rest of the day.
Q10 Sir Peter Soulsby: Isn't it
the job of the Chair to strike the balance that you've described,
rather than the Government?
Sir George Young: It's also the
job of the Government to decide whether or not to make a statement.
When we decide whether to make a statement, we look at the remaining
business. For example, we would not seek to make a statement,
if we could avoid it, on an Opposition day. So it's a decision
for the Government in the first instance as to whether they volunteer
Q11 Sir Peter Soulsby: But surely
it's a matter for the Chair to strike the balance between the
importance of the statements and the numbers of Members who are
interested in it and the business that is to follow.
Sir George Young: Certainly, once
a decision has been taken to make a statement, the decision as
to how long it runs is one for the Chair, and rightly so. The
decision whether or not to offer a statement initially is
one for the Government.
Q12 Mr Gale: Forgive me, Sir George,
but you're suggesting that it shouldn't be a matter for the Chairthat
it should be preordained that there will be a time limit that
wouldn't allow the Chair the flexibility to say suddenly,
"I've got 30 Members standing and there's obviously a great
interest in something to do specifically with the north-east of
England. I've a lot of Members who want to ask questions and I
have to accommodate them, as the Speaker or Deputy Speaker."
Sir George Young: A consequence
of an open-ended series of statements is reluctance on the part
of the Government to make statements, because of the injury it
would do to the business for the rest of the day, which may well
be about holding the Government to account or a serious debate
that the Government want to spend time on.
Q13 Mr Gale: You've made another
proposal, which is that less significant issues might perhaps
be time-limited. Who will decide which issues are less significant?
Sir George Young: We've proposed
that there could be a gradation. For example, if there is a flood
in one part of the country of enormous interest to a small number
of MPs, there might be a 30-minute statement. Other statements
would run for a much longer time. What we've proposed is that
there should be a discussion with the Speaker about how long a
statement would last. The average statement is about 49 minutes.
If you knock out the very long statementsthe Budget statementit
is about 45 minutes, so 45 minutes might be a parameter that one
would consider. That would inject an element of certainty. But
some statements might take less time and if we knew that a statement
would take less time, there might be a greater probability of
the Government's offering a statement on that particular subject
on that day.
Q14 Mr Gale: A discussion with
the Speaker about a time limit and what is significant and what
is not is the only proper way that this could be done. If the
Government gave an early enough indicationperhaps midday
for a 2.30 pm sitting or 9 am for a 10.30 am or 11.30 am sittingthat
they were going to make a statement, it would allow Members with
an interest in the subject time to notify the Speaker that they
wish to raise questions on it, which would give the Speaker a
better idea of how long was needed. Should it not be left to the
Speaker in that way?
Sir George Young: The proposition
set out in paragraph 6(a) of the evidence that I have submitted
says that the Committee might consider such measures as "introducing
a new category of time-limited statements for some less significant
issues, the use of which would be agreed with the Speaker in advance,
at the request of the relevant Minister. This might involve a
shorter time limit on the statement itself, as well as on the
subsequent questioning". If you had, say, 30 minutes, the
opening statement by the Minister might take five minutes rather
than 10. The thrust of this is to make it easier for the Government
to offer statements to the House to keep it informed about the
direction in which the Government are moving.
Q15 Chair: If the statement is
not market-sensitive or sensitive in any other way, what is your
objection to the Minister making his statement available to Members
before he rises to his feet? If that happened, could you not then
have the Minister in the House answering questions on his statement,
removing the necessity for him or her to read it?
Sir George Young: One proposal
in the paper is that, for certain statements, a written ministerial
statement should be made available first. For example, a very
long statement like the one on the revenue support grant or a
statement on road investment should be made available and MPs
should have an opportunity to look at it. Subsequently, there
would be an oral statement at which the Minister would not have
to repeat what was already in the public domain. MPs would then
be able to ask the Minister questions on the basis of what was
in the public domain. Therefore, the question and answer session
might be better informed. That option is well worth exploring.
Q16 John Hemming: So you put out,
say, a paragraph of the oral statement and shorten the statement
by that much. Does the Government have a clear policy on when
supporting documents are made available to Members?
Sir George Young: They should
be available as soon as possible. Some are made available after
the Minister has sat down.
Q17 John Hemming: Is it better
to make them available beforehand, because it informs the questioning?
Sir George Young: In some cases
it makes sense to have them beforehand, particularly in cases
such as the detailed ones that I have just mentioned. It makes
sense in those cases for the House to have them in advance.
Q18 Chair: It does make sense
for the House to have them in advance, but is there not a policy
not to do that?
Sir George Young: Again, you have
to strike a balance. If you make it all available in advance,
you have the media running the story, because you put it in the
public domain through whatever means, before the Minister has
come before the House to make his oral statement. You have to
strike the right balance between informing the House and giving
them an opportunity to cross-question the Minister.
Q19 Chair: At present, is it not
the case that in many instances the Vote Office will not release
papers until the Minister sits down?
Sir George Young: Those may well
be their instructions. I am happy to look again at what the instructions
are about the release of relevant documents, if the Committee
feels that it is a barrier to information, particularly if there
are some specific examples where you believe that it would have
been helpful to have them earlier.
Q20 Sir Peter Soulsby: I'd like
to take you to written ministerial statements. In your memorandum,
you draw attention to the difficulty with the requirement that
the Government give prior notice of written statements, particularly
in the gap between a Thursday and a Monday. That means, in practice,
you cannot get written ministerial statements most Mondaysthat
doesn't make sense. In response to that, you suggest that the
time for giving written ministerial statements should be brought
forward to 7 am and that it should be possible for the Government
to give those statements without prior notice. I can see how that
helps to get over the Thursday through to Monday issue. However,
in other respects, does it not significantly disadvantage the
House, particularly Opposition Members who will not have had prior
notice, and particularly Members who have an interest in the subject?
Sir George Young: The proposition
is that we will continue to give notice when it is possible so
to do. If something happens after Thursday night and we want to
make a written ministerial statement on Monday, at the moment,
as you rightly say, we can't. We would like to have the freedom
to do that. The option then is either to make an oral statement,
or to wait until Tuesday for a WMS. As Select Committee reports
can be launched at one minute past 12 without any notice to the
House, the Government are making a proposition that is not quite
so radical, which is that we should be able to make written ministerial
statements without having given any notice the night before.
Q21 Sir Peter
Soulsby: But I think that, if I understood your memorandum
correctly, you were suggesting that it should be possible to do
that more generally, and that it should be possible to do that
without giving notice at all. Am I misunderstanding that?
Sir George Young: The House would
have to be given notice that it was happening. At the moment,
many people do not discover that it has happened until they come
into the House. It is available in the Vote Office at 7.30 that
there will be a ministerial statement, but the statement then
comes out at 9.30. In practice, the notice is of no relevance
at all for many people, because they get here and there is both
the notice and the answer. We would like some flexibility to put
in the public domain certain written ministerial statements before
9.30, which is a freedom that the select committees have but,
at the moment, the Government do not have.
Q22 Sir Peter Soulsby: But surely
the way to respond to that is to look at changing the way in which
that notice is given, rather than to remove the requirement to
Sir George Young: In the Lords,
no requirement at all is needed to give a written ministerial
statement. We would like more flexibility to be able to give the
notice and make the statement, without having had it on the Order
Paper the night before, simply because sometimes things happen
between a Thursday and a Monday morning.
Q23 Chair: Wouldn't one simple
solution be that you can give notice on any Friday, whether it
is a sitting day or not?
Sir George Young: Give notice
That you intend to make a written statement on the Monday.
Sir George Young: A general catch-all
one, without saying which Department? I'm not sure.
Q25 Chair: No, you were saying
that the problem affecting Departments was that we don't sit every
Friday and that therefore the specific notice had to be given
on a Thursday. Would it not get round that problem if notice could
be given on a Friday, whether the House was sitting or not?
Sir George Young: It would solve
part of the problem. You have still got the Saturdays and the
Sundays where something may happen and you still have the issue
of the recesses. It would solve part of but not all the problem.
Q26 Chair: Can I go back to your
answer to Sir Peter? If you were to change the time that the details
are issued from 9.30 am, when most Members and their staff are
in their offices, to 7 am, when I would venture that Members'
staff have not yet arrived at work, would it not significantly
inconvenience Members if their regional media telephoned them
while they were still in bed to ask for their comments on something
that had been announced at 7 am?
Sir George Young: At the moment
that could be the position with select committee reports that
are released at one minute past 12. We would propose that MPs
should have access to both the notice and the written ministerial
statement itself. Modern means of communication are available
to MPs, so they can get access to written ministerial statements
without physically being in the building. They could, for example,
go on the House of Commons website when they are released by Ministers.
Q27 Chair: I am not sure that
your analogy with select committees is necessarily a good one.
Most select committees put out press releases to tell the whole
world when the report is coming out. Secondly, their reports are
only recommendations anyway whereas, in many cases, ministerial
announcements are about executive decisions that have been taken.
Sir George Young: I think that
select committee reports do generate a lot of media interest.
Certainly the one on Tuesday from the PAC on railway overcrowding
generated a lot of interest. That was released at one minute past
12, and I am sure that colleagues were rung up by regional media
without necessarily having seen the report.
Q28 Mr Gale: From a news management
point of view, I can see a huge advantage to the Government in
being able to release information in time for the breakfast radio
and television programmes. What is the value to Members of Parliament
in releasing it at 7 am rather than 9.30 am?
Sir George Young: I think the
Government has an obligation to inform the public about what they
are doing, and they are entitled to use the media in the same
way as anybody else to reach out to people. At the same time,
one has to safeguard the interests of the House of Commons and
Parliament. The proposition to make it simultaneously available
to the media as a whole and to the House reflects the Government's
wish and need to communicate, particularly early in the morning
when a lot of the news is made, while at the same time respecting
the wishes of Parliament.
Q29 Mr Gale: Let us go back to
Mr Hemming's question and your answer to him. Why would it not
be possible to fix, depending on the sitting of the Houseso
10.30 am, 11.30 am or 2.30 pma time for the release of
all statements? That might be 9 o'clock in the morning on days
there was a 10.30 am sitting; 10 o'clock in the morning on days
there was an 11.30 am sitting; and midday on days there was a
2.30pm sittingfor the media and for Members of Parliament
simultaneously. That would give Members the opportunity to go
to the Speaker to ask for a UQ on the relatively rare occasions
when it might be relevant. More specifically, it would give Members
the opportunity to prepare lines of questioning in response to
oral statements based on the information contained in the statement
to be made. Everybody would then be on a level playing field.
I cannot see any justification for your argument that it should
be brought forward from 9.30 am to 7 am, other than the convenience
of the media.
Sir George Young: It goes back
to what I said a moment ago about the Government wishing to communicate
with the public about their intentions and what they are doing.
At the moment, to use the example you have just given, a select
committee can catch the early morning news by releasing a report
but the Government cannot. We have to wait until 9.30 am, which
is when the WMSs are published. What we are seeking to is give
additional flexibility to the Government but, at the same time,
to respect the wholly legitimate interest of the House of Commons
to remain informed of what the Government are doing. Under one
of these options, MPs would have more time to reflect on what
the Government had said through its WMS and to decide whether
or not then to apply for a UQ, because it would have the WMS at
an earlier date.
Q30 Mr Gale: The problem with
that is, unfortunately, that the opinion is then up and running
and shaped by the media before Members get their hands on it.
Members of Parliament generally, I thinkcolleagues around
the House, consistently, on both sides of the House, in government
and in oppositionbridle at the fact that the media tend
to have information where Parliament ought to be sovereign. Surely
the answer to that is to create a level playing field and to say
that everyoneMembers and the mediawill have the
material at the same time?
Sir George Young: The proposition
that I made is that they would both have it at the same time.
The proposition is that it would appear on the House of Commons
website at the time it was released.
At the end of the day, Mr Gale, the Committee
will have to decide whether the proposition put forward by the
Government for greater flexibility is one that it can recommend
to the House, or whether it prefers to stick with the regime we
have at the moment.
Q31 Sir Peter Soulsby: It just
strikes me that it is, literally, an attempt to catch Members
napping. Inevitably, at 7 in the morning, most MembersOpposition
Members who might be interested, or Members with a legitimate
interest in somethingwill likely still be in bed. It gives
the Government a head start. Surely that is the intention, is
Sir George Young: No. The intention
is for the Government to have access to the media in a way that
is unconstrained by the current 9.30 am publication of WMSs. Other
organisations within the House of Commons have that freedom, but
at the moment the Government do not. So, this is an argument for
the Government to be on the same basis as select committees when
putting information in the public domain.
Q32 Sir Peter Soulsby: I will
not pursue this very far, Chair, but surely, Sir George, you accept
that there is a very significant difference between a Select Committee
publishing its report and the Government making an announcement?
Sir George Young: There is a difference
but, in terms of the media, both can generate similar levels of
interest, as we saw last Tuesday with the PAC report, which dominated
the airwaves from 7 o'clock onwards.
Chair: Okay. May we move on to the question
of whether there should be a new protocol and what sanctions should
be applied when a Minister has leaked information to the press
before making a statement to the House? Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Q33 Jacob Rees-Mogg: Sir George,
I think we all realise that Ministers from all Governments, regardless
of party, leak things to the newspapers before telling Parliament.
It is probably unrealistic to expect this to come to a complete
full stop, but what do you think can be done to minimise it, in
terms both of enforcing the ministerial code and of conceivable
sanctions that Parliament could impose?
Sir George Young: Parliament has
a range of sanctions already. If a Minister makes a statement
of major Government policy outside the House, he is then exposed
to a UQ and can be summoned to the House to make a statement.
He is also exposed to the Select Committee that covers his portfoliohe
can be summoned to a Select Committee to explain his behaviour.
If the Select Committee so wanted, presumably it could publish
a report about him and, subject to the decision of the Backbench
Business Committee, time could then be found for that report and
for any vote the Select Committee might want to attach to it.
That is quite a portfolio of sanctions against a Minister who
errs in that way.
Breaches of the ministerial code are a matter
for the Prime Minister. He is the ultimate judge of whether a
Minister has broken the code. Again, he has a range of sanctions
at his disposal.
Q34 Jacob Rees-Mogg: Do you think,
to some extent, it is really a matter for the Government rather
than Parliament? Was it Hugh Dalton who had to resign having leaked
a few words of the Budget? At that point, the Prime Minister thought
that that was simply wrong and therefore insisted on a resignation,
whereas now it is just seen as one of those things that happensit
might be in the code technically, but everyone turns rather a
blind eye to it.
Sir George Young: Following the
sequence of events that I outlined if, at the end of the day,
the House of Commons, in a vote, censured a Minister as a result
of a Select Committee report, I think that that would be very
significant indeed for that Minister's career.
Q35 Jacob Rees-Mogg: And do you
think a UQ is something that Ministers find embarrassing, or,
as an experienced Minister, did you find that it was just something
that went with the territoryoccasionally you would get
a UQ and it would interrupt your day, but you would not lose sleep
Sir George Young: The background
is very important. Ministers are ready to respond to UQs. The
Speaker has made it clear that he is much more active in responding
to UQs. We welcome that and are happy to do that. But if the background
to a UQ was the one that you have outlinednamely it was
because a Minister had made a statement of major policy outside
the HouseI think that would be very uncomfortable for the
Minister when he appeared before the House. I am not sure that
any Minister would particularly look forward to such an encounter.
Q36 Jacob Rees-Mogg: So, broadly,
you wouldn't recommend any changes to the current situation. You
think that it covers a Minister who briefs beforehand. Does it
embarrass him if it is done under his auspices, rather than directly
by the Minister himself?
Sir George Young: I don't think
Ministers should authorise leaks of major changes in Government
policy. He shouldn't do it himself and he shouldn't do it at second
Q37 Mrs Chapman: I have not been
in the House a very long time, but I have seen Theresa May in
just the situation you are discussing. I don't think that she
was particularly uncomfortable about it. Can you suggest any sanctions
that we might want to consider, given the growing unhappiness,
particularly among backbenchers, about this practice? It does
inhibit our ability to challenge.
Sir George Young: The Home Secretary
genuinely apologised for what happened. From memory, we were going
to make a written ministerial statement and we then decided to
do an oral statement, but the press release for the written ministerial
statement went out. She came along and apologised for that. I
am sure that she was sincere in regretting what happened and that
she would have been much happier if it hadn't happened. I don't
think that that was a particularly comfortable moment for the
Home Secretary. I missed the last bit of your question.
Q38 Mrs Chapman: I just feel that
as a new Member, you want to know what it is that you are going
to be challenging the Government about. If something is leaked
to the press, you get challenged as a Back-Bench Opposition MP,
and you need to have the information in order to do your job.
I find it quite frustrating.
Sir George Young: We have tried
to make more written ministerial statements and we are making
more oral statements than was the case in the last Parliament.
There are nearly 50% more oral statements per sitting day than
there were. We are making a genuine attempt to keep the House
better informed and to make more written ministerial statements.
We would like to do better.
The background of our discussion over the past
half hour has been removing what the Government perceive to be
some barriers to putting more information in the public domain.
The answers have been, "Is this the Government trying to
pull a fast one on everyone else?" and, "What about
the time you make your statements?" We are trying to find
a better settlement that enables us to put more information in
the public domain, but without catching MPs on the hop or doing
injury to the rest of the time available to Parliament.
Q39 Mr Gale: Sir George, this
is not about, "Is the Government trying to pull a fast one
on everybody else?" This is about the playing field that
exists and the teams playing on it, which are on one hand the
Government and the media, and on the other, Members of Parliament
seeking to hold the Governmentany Governmentto account.
It does appear that the Government are seeking greater flexibility
in terms of media management. I was suggesting not that you are
trying to pull a fast one, but that we want a level playing field.
Whenever the information is released, it should be released to
Sir George Young: That is precisely
the proposition that I have put before the Committee, but instead
of everybody getting it at 9.30, it should in some circumstances
be earlier. But everyone would get it at the same time.
Q40 Mr Gale: Give or take the
fact that those of us who are insomniacs and come in at 7 o'clock
in the morning might be available, most Members of Parliament
are not quite so sad and are not here when the "Today"
programme is on air, not to put too fine a point on it.
Sir George Young: It's beyond
my pay grade to answer that question.
Q41 Chair: Have you discussed
any of your proposals with the House of Lords yet?
Sir George Young: No. This is
a House of Commons Committee and I have put evidence without touching
base with the House of Lords. As I mentioned, the procedure there
is slightly differentthey don't have to give notice of
written ministerial statements.
Q42 Chair: If you do enter into
dialogue with the House of Lords and, as a result, your views
change, perhaps you would keep us updated. If, at any time during
our inquiry, you wish to add anything, please feel free to drop
us a line. Indeed, if you wish to subtract anything, let us know.
We are at an early stage in this inquiry and all options remain
open, so feel free to submit any further memos should you want
to do so. Thank you for your time today. Is there anything you
want to add?
Sir George Young: No. Thank you
very much. We are anxious to see the outcome of your report and
its recommendations. I hope that it can build a better settlement
than the one that we've got at the moment.
Chair: Thank you.