MANDELSON RESIGNATION – 24 January 2001

[Alan Milburn: … We must get away from a situation whereby politicians pronounce things 100 percent safe. We have to talk the language of safest, and assess what the risk is. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Mr Fraser) is laughing –

Mr Christopher Fraser (Mid-Dorset and North Poole): Not at what the right hon. Gentleman was saying.

Mr Milburn: If it was a private joke between the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis), perhaps they will share it with me.]

Dr Julian Lewis: I am delighted to share the joke. When the Secretary of State said that nothing was 100 percent safe, I observed to my hon. Friend that that included the job of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

[Mr Milburn: That was an extremely amusing joke. [Hon. Members: "You asked for it."] I suppose I did – and I got it, as did the whole House.]