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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
The Blairs in conversation

Based on their public statements, Panorama has constructed the sort of debate that might take place between Tony and Cherie Blair on civil liberties and anti-terror legislation.

The following is a full transcription the Panorama dramatisations of these debates. Below each part is the source which forms the basis for that piece of dialogue.

Tony Blair's parts in the conversation are all taken from his press conference on 5 August 2005, a transcript of which is available on the Downing Street website.

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Cherie Blair's parts are taken from four speeches she has given in her professional capacity:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


INTERIOR. BREAKFAST ROOM, PRIVATE QUARTERS, DOWNING STREET - DAY. TONY and CHERIE are having breakfast. Piles of NEWSPAPERS,CEREALS.

CHERIE: But my worry is it's too easy for us to respond to 7/7 in a way which undermines our commitment to deeply held values. We'd be cheapening our right to call ourselves a civilised nation.

"It is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation." - From "The Role of the Judge in a Human Rights World", speech to Malaysian Bar Association, 26 July 2005

TONY: Well, I'm proud of our justice system here. Of the British way of life. Treating people fairly and welcoming those who are fleeing persecution

"We are very proud of our justice system here, and we are very proud of the British way of life, and we're proud of the fact that we treat people fairly, that we welcome in people who are fleeing persecution"

[A look from Cherie]

TONY: But if people want to come here as refugees or seeking a better life, then they have to play by our rules and our way of life. If they don't then they are going to have to go because they are threatening people in our country and that's not right either.

"We will go through a proper judicial process with proper assurances from countries to which they are going to be returned, but if people want to come here as refugees fleeing persecution, or as people seeking a different or better way of life, they come here and they play by our rules and our way of life. If they don't then they are going to have to go because they are threatening people in our country and that's not right either."

CHERIE: Actually, the judges'll have to be the guardians of what's right. For society and for the individual.

"... The responsibility for a value-based, substantive commitment to democracy rests in large part on judges. The importance of the judiciary in this context is that judges in constitutional democracies are set aside as the guardians of individual rights." - From "The Role of the Judge in a Human Rights World", speech to Malaysian Bar Association, 26 July 2005

"... Judges are now required to assess the protection of rights within the framework of the community interest. The legitimacy of the aim pursued by the legislation, or decision in question, must now be considered openly and expressly by the court in all cases that come before it." - From "Human Rights and the Catholic Faith", Annual Tablet lecture 18 December 2003

TONY: We'll go though the proper judicial process.

"We will go through a proper judicial process with proper assurances from countries to which they are going to be returned"

[Another look from Cherie]

TONY: Look, we welcome people who are peaceful and law-abiding, who want to share our values and our way of life. But if you come to this country, don't meddle in extremism or you're going back out again

"We welcome people here who are peaceful and law abiding. People who want to be British citizens should share our values and our way of life. But if you come to our country from abroad, don't meddle in extremism. If you meddle in it or engage in it, then you're going to go back out again."


INTERIOR PRIME MINISTERIAL LIMO - DAY TONY and CHERIE are sitting side by side. TONY finishes a call on his mobile, while CHERIE is dialling out on hers. He talks to her, resuming their debate.

TONY: We've got to take them head on in the view that there can never be anything acceptable about deliberately killing innocent people for the purpose of furthering a political cause It's like ... revolutionary communism; the type of battle that we are engaged in and the roots run very deep, have risen up over many, many years and I am afraid that the only way we will deal with this will be over many, many years.

"... You have got to take them head on in the view that there can ever be anything acceptable about deliberately killing innocent people for the purpose of furthering a political cause. And I don't mean to go into the rights or wrongs, even of revolutionary communism, but it is that type of battle that we are engaged in and the roots of this go very deep, they have arisen over many, many years and I am afraid that the way that we will beat it will be over many, many years."

CHERIE: But for however long that battle rages, what's vital is that a judge in his decision, in his interpretation, will have the chance to narrate the values that underpin the very essence of our humanity.

"... Judges providing purposive interpretations of their country's most fundamental rights are an important component of any true democracy. As judges embark on constitutional interpretation they are afforded the chance to narrate the values that underpin the very essence of our humanity." - From "The Role of the Judge in a Human Rights World", speech to Malaysian Bar Association, 26 July 2005

[A look back from Tony]

TONY: Look, you and I both know the views of the British people, the clear views. They want to keep the country together: respect the Muslim communities, but deal with the extremists in our ranks because that is a way of maintaining our society and that is honestly the only way we can solve this problem.. this.

"If they don't then they are going to have to go because they are threatening people in our country and that's not right either. The way to protect our way of life is to respond very clearly to that clear view of the British people, that yes we have responded to the 7th July attacks by saying that we want to keep our country together, and to respect all our communities, including the Muslim community, but we also want to deal with the extremists in our ranks because that is a way of protecting our way of life and that is honestly the only way you can deal with this."

CHERIE: Whatever the dominant majority says and thinks, they don't do much to protect the weak, the outsider, the marginalised. Those people's liberties are for the judges to uphold.

"When the dominant define rights, the definitions are often self-serving. In these cases the rules and norms often protect positions of strength and privilege and do little to enable and protect the weak, the different, the marginalised, and the poor." - From"Human Rights and the Catholic Faith", Annual Tablet lecture 18 December 2003

"It is the duty of the State authorities, especially in democratic systems, to stand up for and protect fundamental rights, often against majority opinion" - From "Common Wealth", address to opening day of 13th Commonwealth Law Conference, 14 April 2003

TONY: If we come across legal obstacles then we may have to create new law.

"So it is important to test this anew now in view of the changed conditions in Britain. Should legal obstacles arise, we will legislate further including, if necessary, amending the Human Rights Act in respect of the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights."

CHERIE: Even then , the courts are going to have to tie the government to the international human rights promises it has made.

"What we see, then, are the beginnings of a common commitment by courts to tie their governments to the international human rights promises they have made, largely through administrative law doctrines and techniques" - From "Common Wealth", address to opening day of 13th Commonwealth Law Conference, 14 April 2003

TONY: I'm sorry, but there's no point in kidding ourselves about the nature of this problem. It's there, it's in our communities, and we've just got to root it out.

"I'm sorry, there's no point in us kidding ourselves about the nature of this problem. It's there, it's in our communities and we've got to root it out."


INTERIOR. BREAKFAST ROOM, LATER

TONY: Now look, we can't have someone seeking asylum claiming to be X when they're Y. It's important that we continue with tough messages on that.

"People will come in for example claiming they are an Iranian, and they're not Iranian, or claiming they're from Zimbabwe and not being a Zimbabwean, which is why it's important that we continue with a pretty tough series of messages on it."

CHERIE: Even at times like this, with a threat to national security, the government has to act strictly according to the law.

"... The government, even in times when there is a threat to national security, must act strictly in accordance with the law" - From "The Role of the Judge in a Human Rights World", speech to Malaysian Bar Association, 26 July 2005

TONY: Well, I'm sorry, but people can't come here and take advantage of our good nature and our tolerance, inciting young people to take up violence. If they do that, then they're going back.

"But I'm sorry, people can't come here and abuse our good nature and our tolerance. They can't come here and start inciting our young people in our communities to take up violence against British people here, and if they do that, they're going to go back"

CHERIE: It's against the law to deport people to states that practise torture. Article 3 of the -

This is as statement of fact based on the European Human Rights Convention.

TONY: No, it's the way that the law has been interpreted over a long period that I'm objecting to. And I'm prepared for the battles. Absolutely and completely. To make sure that this happens.

"... there will be lots of battles in the months ahead on this, let's be quite clear because of the way that the law has been interpreted over a long period of time, and I am prepared for those battles in the months ahead. I am also absolutely and completely determined to make sure that this happens"

[Cherie and Tony look at one another over the meal]

TONY (CONT'D): Besides, Article 2 of the European Convention, Cherie, the Right to Life. You've got to be able to protect your citizens and their right to freedom from attack: freedom from terrorism.

"I don't think we should allow ourselves to be backed into an argument where we say when you are protecting national security you are interfering with civil rights or civil liberties. Article 2 of the European Convention is the Right to Life. The European Convention specifically recognizes that you have got to be able to protect your citizens and their right to be free from attack, or free from terrorism."

[Cherie takes a deep breath]


EXT. GARDEN/PARKLAND (CHEQUERS) - DAY CHERIE and TONY stroll, with SECURITY MEN keeping a respectful distance

CHERIE: Human rights require us to accept diversity and enable all groups to participate positively in society and to benefit from it.

"True human rights are not about imposing uniformity. Instead they requires us to accept diversity and to enable all members of all groups to participate positively in, and benefit equally from, our society" - From "Human Rights and the Catholic Faith", Annual Tablet lecture 18 December 2003

TONY: Well, yes, it only becomes a problem where people withdraw from the common culture and the mainstream in a very deliberate way and that is unhealthy in my view.

"I think it only becomes a problem where people, as it were, withdraw from the common culture and the mainstream, I think when they withdraw in a very deliberate way that is unhealthy in my view"

CHERIE: Well, the Human Rights Act itself is about far more than legislation, it's about dialogue, the opportunity for parliament, for the judiciary and indeed individual citizens to debate the role and function of human rights.

"The Human Rights Act is about far more than legislation; it is above all about dialogue. It provides the opportunity for and the means by which parliament, the judiciary and indeed individual citizens can debate the role and function of human rights" - From "The Human Rights Act 1998: the British Experience", speech at Edith Cowan University, 22 April 2003, Australia.

TONY British Muslims are our partners in getting this done. Listen, in the talks I've had they're as desperate as anyone to make sure that this extremism is weeded out and dealt with because they don't want them contaminating their reputation, their great contribution to this country. They don't want a gang of extremists affecting their good name. They want to be part of the solution, with the rest of the country.

"British Muslims should understand that they are our partners in getting this done. We need their help and assistance in getting this done, but in the conversations I have had, formally and informally with British Muslims, over the past few weeks, they are as desperate as anyone else, in some ways more desperate to make sure that this extremism is weeded out and dealt with because they don't want it contaminating the reputation of Muslims. British Muslims make a great contribution to this country, they don't want a gang of extremists affecting their good name."

"What they do want, however, is to have it dealt with, with them part of the solution, partnering the rest of the country, not having it done to them, and that is the important thing."


INT CHEQUERS, DAY. Cherie and Tony taking tea

CHERIE: In a democratic legal culture, decision-makers, and that includes you, have to justify their decisions by showing they conform to fundamental values. Or that they are justifiable departures from those values.

"This principle is properly located within a particular conception of democratic legal culture, the culture of justification, in which decision-makers are obliged to justify their decisions by showing either how the decisions conform to fundamental values - inclusive of human rights - or that they are justifiable departures from those values" - From "Common Wealth", address to opening day of 13th Commonwealth Law Conference, 14 April 2003

TONY: Since 7/7 people understand the terrorist threat is not scaremongering. It is real. We've got to consult. And then get the law in proper shape.

"Since the attacks on 7th July, is that people now understand that when we warn of the terrorist threat this is not scare-mongering, it's real and what we are going to do, and this is obviously the reason for the gap of time now is that we've got to get these, we've got to consult, we've got to get the law in proper shape."

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