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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 04 December 2010

Elinor Goodman looks behind the scenes at Westminster

This week's huge leak of US diplomatic correspondence has big implications for the business of government and diplomacy. If digital information can be leaked and spread around the world so easily, who would dare trust a secret to a computer? Here Jonathan Powell, the former Chief of Staff in Tony Blair's Downing Street, debates the impact on government with Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP who wants a more open approach.

The leaks included an appeal from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He urged the United States to bomb Iran to thwart its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. The Conservative MP, Rory Stewart, knows the region well. A former diplomat, he once walked right across it. Here, he assesses just how worried we should be.

At Westminster, the government's decision to increase tuition fees is causing agony to the Liberal Democrats. They promised to scrap the fees before the election. But their own Vince Cable, now business secretary, is promoting the rise. Here, the Conservative, Mark Field, and the Lib Dem, Don Foster, consider the demands of coalition.

There is much soul-searching too after David Cameron's abortive effort to persuade the international football authorities to allow England to stage the 2018 World Cup. Was he right to devote so much time to the bid? Would his predecessors have done so? Questions for Tessa Jowell, the former Labour culture secretary, and Ken Baker, the former Tory cabinet minister.


4 items
  • Dealing with Government leaks

    With leaks so commonplace, can governments trust computers? Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff in Tony Blair's Downing Street, and MP Douglas Carswell, who wants a more open approach, debate this.

  • Leak implications for Iran

    One leak was an appeal from the King of Saudi Arabia urging the US to bomb Iran to thwart its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. How worried should we be? MP Rory Stewart knows the region well…

  • Demands of coalition government

    Tuition fee increases are causing agony to the Lib Dems, having promised to scrap them before the election. Tory MP Mark Field and Lib Dem Don Foster consider the demands of a coalition government.

  • Cameron and the World Cup bid

    Was David Cameron right devoting so much time to the World Cup bid? Would his predecessors have done so? Former Labour culture secretary Tessa Jowell and former Tory cabinet minister Ken Baker discuss


Westminster Hour

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Radio 4's Sunday night political discussion programme.


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    Week in Westminster

    Top political commentators reflect on the week's political events in discussion with MPs, Peers and…

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