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Breakfast with Frost
On Sunday, 6 July 2003, Breakfast with Frost featured an interview with Transport Secretary Alistair Darling MP.

The Transport Secretary Alistair Darling MP admitted that the government was going through "a bit of turbulence", but he brushed aside the latest call from his former Cabinet colleague, Clare Short, for the Prime Minister to stand down.

She has said it before. I don't think it has got any support

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling MP

"She has said it before. I don't think it has got any support," he told Peter Sissons, who is standing in for Sir David Frost during the summer break.

Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling MP
Admitted that the Government was going through "a bit of turbulence"

Ms Short had been particularly critical of Tony Blair over the war in Iraq, accusing him of supporting the American-led action on the basis of "half truths".

She also criticised several of his domestic policies, including foundation hospitals and student fees.

Mr Darling said she was in danger of "downgrading" her own achievements by making such comments.

"Trust is important and trust is something that governments have to fight for every day they are in office," he acknowledged.

"But I think by the time of the next election people will see what we have delivered on the public services."

Mr Darling also talked about the proposed Crossrail link for London, designed to reduce east-west congestion, which the Mayor, Ken Livingstone has said is a crucial improvement to the capital's transport infrastructure, and to a successful bid for the Olympic Games.

Rail link not open before 2012

Mr Darling agreed the 15 billion project was "essential", but said there was no prospect of it being ready in time for the Olympics in 2012.

"The big question is how is it going to be paid for.

"Which is why the next stage will be to consult on the route and then go to the people in London who yes we want to pay, and say this is the time to get your cheque book out, because it will have to get a substantial contribution from the private sector."

Divided clergy

Also on the programme, the Bishop of Hereford reflected on the current divisions within the Church of England on the issue of homosexual clergy.

Rt Rev John Oliver, Lord Bishop of Hereford
"A serious desire to see the Church open, inclusive and charitable"

The Bishop called on the opposing wings of the Church, liberal and evangelical, to accept their differences.

"There will always be people who want the kind of certainties which some evangelical congregations are able to offer, but that is not everybody by any means and I think the general sense of great sadness and disappointment about this particular episode reflects how many people in the country at large have a serious desire to see the Church open, inclusive and charitable," he said.

Restoration of Iraq monarchy?

The programme also included an interview with Sharif Ali Bin Hussein, the cousin of the last King of Iraq who was executed following a military coup 45 years ago.

Sharif Ali has now returned to Baghdad and is campaigning to restore the monarchy. He talked about the new Iraqi Governing Council which was holding its first meeting.

"It's a step forward," he said, "But is doesn't really satisfy by any means the ambitions of the Iraqi people.

It's an appointed council by [the US civilian administrator] Ambassador Bremer and all decisions have to be okayed by him and so it has very limited authority and sovereignty."

Paper reviewers Joan Bakewell and Matthew D'Ancona
The papers were reviewed by Joan Bakewell and Matthew D'Ancona

The other guests on the programme were the Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Javier Solana.

The newspapers were reviewed by the journalist and broadcaster Joan Bakewell and the deputy editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Matthew D'Ancona.


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