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Breakfast with Frost
On Sunday, 20 July 2003, Breakfast with Frost featured an interview with the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott

John Prescott MP
Premature to call for resignations before the full facts were known

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott today called on everyone involved in the events leading up to the death of Dr David Kelly, to reflect "long and hard" on what had happened.

Speaking on "Breakfast with Frost", Mr Prescott told Peter Sissons that the media had played a part in putting "intolerable" pressure on the weapons expert, who became caught up in the row between the Government and the BBC, about the presentation of the case for the war in Iraq.

Earlier on the programme, the former minister Glenda Jackson repeated her call for the resignations of the Prime Minister, his official spokesman Alastair Campbell and the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

"This tragic human disaster came as a result of the artificial war that had been quite deliberately created in my opinion by No 10," she told the programme.

A highly respected public servant was sacrificed

Glenda Jackson MP

"We have seen a highly respected, innocent, devoted public servant in my opinion being sacrificed as a result of a quite deliberate political strategy to afford a smoke screen, as someone has called it, for the Government."

Prescott rebuttal

Mr Prescott said Ms Jackson was "entitled to her opinion", but said it was premature to call for resignations before the full facts were known:

"That is not the way to conduct (yourself) in such serious situation or indeed to give proper respect to Dr Kelly in the tragic circumstances in which he died."

The Conservative MP, Richard Ottaway, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which questioned Dr Kelly last week, said the Ministry of Defence could have protected the scientist from a televised hearing:

"There is obviously a key question to ask Geoff Hoon here as to why he did not appear on behalf of Dr Kelly." He added that "the naming of Dr Kelly was in truth a distraction because there are still very serious issues being asked here about the case for war."

Mr Ottaway and Ms Jackson took part in a discussion which also included Alastair Campbell's former deputy in the Downing Street press office, Tim Allan.

Lord Archer 'resentful'

Jonathan Aitken
Geoffrey Archer should retain his seat in the House of Lords

Also on the programme, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Jonathan Aitken, talked about Lord Archer's imminent release from prison.

Mr Aitken, who has also served time for perjury, said he personally had found it easier to "get rid of all the past baggage by completely accepting what I had done was wrong".

He said believed Lord Archer still felt deep resentment about his sentence, but advised him not to pursue a campaign against the judicial system.

"I think Jeffrey is a big enough character, whatever feelings he may have and some of them maybe justified about the sentence being too tough and so on, I think what he will really want to do is get on to the front foot, get out, start a new life in a new spirit."

The programme also included a discussion about the dangers to children of using the Internet, between Esther Rantzen, chair of ChildLine, and the Assistant Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Stuart Hyde, the senior police spokesman on child protection.

Sir Frank Williams
Mr Ecclestone is clearly up to something

And on the day of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Peter Sissons interviewed Sir Frank Williams, from the headquarters of the Williams motor racing team in Oxfordshire.

Sir Frank talked about his hopes for the race, and defended Silverstone as a Grand Prix venue, in the face of criticism from the Formula One promoter, Bernie Ecclestone.

"Mr Ecclestone ... thinks the race either should not happen at all or be held somewhere else, but there is nowhere else in the UK that is suitable," Sir Frank said. "Silverstone is a very fine facility. I don't know Bernie's motives are ... but he's clearly up to something and we'll have to wait and hold our breath."

The Sunday newspapers were reviewed by Catherine Meyer, campaigner for a referendum on the new European Constitution, and the political editor of the Guardian, Michael White.


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