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Breakfast with Frost
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Prime Minister Tony Blair
On Sunday 26 January 2003 Sir David talked to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The programme also included a discussion about the Olympics between the former 100-metre champion Linford Christie and Gerald Kaufman MP, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

The Sunday newspapers were reviewed by Carol Vorderman and Gyles Brandreth.

Tell us what you think about the programme by using the form at the bottom of the page.

The Prime Minister told Sir David Frost that United Nations weapons inspectors must be given "whatever time they need" to complete their task in Iraq - but he said that if they did not get full co-operation, and were unable to do their job, then Saddam Hussein must be disarmed by force.

"The time the inspectors need is not time to play a game of hide and seek with Saddam, the objective of the inspectors is on the basis of a full and honest declaration by Saddam of what he has, then to shut it down," Tony Blair said. "The time they need is in order to certify whether he is fully co-operating or not."

Mr Blair said he was "very focused" on securing a second United Nations resolution, should military action become necessary. "There is only one set of circumstances in which I've said we'd move without one," he said. "That is the circumstance where the UN inspectors say he's not co-operating and he's in breach of the resolution...but the UN, because someone, say, unreasonably uses their veto, blocks a resolution."

Asked whether he could win over public opinion to a war against Iraq, Mr Blair agreed it was difficult because "people don't perceive an immediate threat". But he said Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction was a serious danger to Britain: "Unless we take a stand...it is only a matter of time before international terrorism and these types of weapons come together," he said.

The Prime Minister also addressed many of the issues currently at the top of the domestic political agenda. On the problem of illegal immigration, he said the present situation was "unacceptable" and that if necessary, ministers would "fundamentally" re-examine Britain's obligations under the Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Blair also talked about the government's controversial reforms of university funding, including plans to create a new post of "access regulator" to check that higher fees do not deter students from poorer backgrounds. He denied the regulator would restrict universities' freedom to award places to students purely on academic merit. "There is going to be no positive discrimination in favour of people from particular incomes and against people from other incomes, that is not the way the access regulator will work," he said.

Despite reports of a row within Cabinet over university "top-up" fees, Mr Blair said his relationship with the Chancellor, Gordon Brown was "extremely strong", and that Mr Brown did "a fantastic job".

On the subject of whether Britain should bid to stage the 2012 Olympic games, Mr Blair said it would be "a great thing for the country". But he refused to pre-empt the decision due to be taken in Cabinet this Thursday.

"The two basic issues are going to be affordability and have you got a good fighting chance of winning, because you are going to have to spend a lot of money and time in mouinting the bid," the Prime Minister told Sir David.

Click on the highlighted links to read the full transcripts.


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