Speaking on the Politics Show, Home Secretary, John Reid, rejected the idea that his department had been responsible for the briefings which lead to front page headlines about the anti-terror raids in Birmingham:
He said: "There is absolutely no indication that it has come from the Home Office, absolutely none, and anyone who maintains that it came from me or from my advisers is not telling the truth."
Dr. Reid also vigorously defended his plans to split the Home Office in two.
He acknowledged that his two immediate predecessors, Charles Clarke and David Blunkett, oppose the plan, but said he thought they were wrong.
He thought the threat from terrorism meant that the Home Office had to be split so there would be a new department dedicated to maintaining national security:
"Having been asked to carry out a terrorist¿ a counter-terrorist review by the Prime Minister my conclusion is that the terrorist threat is here, that our capability needs to be brought up considerably to meet that, that is a matter of some urgency, and that one of the best ways of doing that is to re-orientate the Home Office towards national security and that takes precedence over all other personal, political or departmental considerations," he said.
The Home Secretary made clear his views on the wider issue of community cohesion:
"Let us be quite clear, the dividing line in our community is not between Muslims and others, it is between extremists and the rest of us, the extremists who try to divide us from each other," he insisted.
And he launched a side-swipe at ministerial colleagues campaigning for the Labour leadership and deputy leadership: "I think it would be better to have a conversation with the public, Jon, than with each other."
The Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, also speaking on the Politics Show, criticised Gordon Brown for not doing enough on green taxes:
"Well I think there is a role for government in changing people's behaviour and there would be a role for the Chancellor Exchequer. Indeed I would argue that Gordon Brown should be doing more," he said.
He repeatedly refused to argue that the government should reduce people's flying or driving habits: "Well I don't think it's for a politician to say you shouldn't fly or you shouldn't drive."
However, he did confirm that he was looking at ways of reducing some travel: "There are frequent users of aviation, there are people who fly regularly and as we look at how you might tax aviation in the future, I'm looking at those sorts of things."
Finally, in an exclusive interview with the Politics Show, House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin, rejected criticism that he is ineffective and revealed his tips for keeping order at PMQs.
"One thing I've discovered is that when you get to the stage where you have to stop a member - Members of Parliament can be individuals who can get their own way lots of time - so a good way to do it is to give the member enough rope and then pull them in, that's number one.
"I'm giving you the secrets of the Speaker¿ but the other thing is this, when you're going to speak to a member and tell them they're out of line, or they're out with the rules, the first thing to do is smile at them and that seems to calm them down."
Let us know what you think.
The Politics Show Sunday 11 February 2007 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.
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