CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

LABOUR GOVERNMENT & PETER MANDELSON – 2 November 2000

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the right hon. Lady [Margaret Beckett] find time for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland [Peter Mandelson] to make a statement on last night's Herbert Morrison lecture, which he gave and in which he said that Labour had exaggerated what was possible in its first term of government and that one of the key lessons of that first term was

"the need not to over-claim ...?"

He also said that members of the Government were

"all a bit guilty of letting some of our sense of the possible get out of sync with the pace of change on the ground."

There are hon. Members on both sides of the House who would feel that, in the case of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, that is an example of confession being good for the soul.

[Mrs Beckett: I have heard only brief reports of the speech to which the hon. Gentleman refers. I am not clear to what extent my right hon. Friend is being quoted directly and to what extent a spin is being put on what he said.]