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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2008, 15:09 GMT
Miliband: No Treaty referendum
David Miliband
I don't believe this Treaty meets the bar of fundamental constitutional reform that should be the basis of having a referendum
David Miliband

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has categorically ruled out a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty, as a Bill for its ratification begins its passage through Parliament on Monday 21 January 2008.

In an answer to clarify the situation, David Miliband said: "The reformed Treaty is there for parliament to scrutinise and then to pass.

"Obviously, people will put down an amendment and parliament will have to decide, but I don't believe this Treaty meets the bar of fundamental constitutional reform that should be the basis of having a referendum."

In a final clarification to Jon Sopel's questioning on the referendum, the Foreign Secretary said: "On this Treaty no, absolutely not."

More power

Mr Miliband also said that the Treaty would actually give "more power to Britain":

"I think the more that people look at this Treaty, the more they'll see that the myths that are being propounded that we'll lose our seat on the UN Security Council, that we'll give away our power to Brussels, actually, turn out to be myths.

"The reality is, this Treaty gives more power to Britain, it reforms the European bureaucracy, it prepares Europe to be able to deal with 27 countries working together and that's why, whether it's overseas aid charities or children's charities or environmental groups, they see this Treaty as a step forward for Europe and a step forward for Britain."

Mr Miliband was also asked about his reaction to the recent theft of a laptop from a Royal Navy officer which contained the personal details of 600,000 people - did this raise questions competence?

"I think that it raises concerns, is the way I would put it," he replied.

"But people are also pretty savvy about these things - they want to get to the bottom of the details - we don't know the details yet. But of course, no one wants this to happen whether you're in government or out of government."

NHS 'wasted' millions defended

Professor Boyle
There's always going to be a number of patients who would always warrant having the more expensive drug. Our challenge is to reduce that number to a bare minimum
Professor Roger Boyle

The National Director of Heart Disease, Professor Roger Boyle, defended GPs being able to prescribe expensive statins, the drugs which help to reduce cholesterol:

When asked whether central government has the right to tell the local Primary Care Trust what to do and should a Doctor just be able to say to a patient, "I'm sorry, I'm changing your drugs", he said:

"We do know that probably, it's a debated point but maybe one in six people would need the more expensive ones either because they were the only ones effective for them or because they've had side-effects with the cheaper ones.

"There's always going to be a number of patients who would always warrant having the more expensive drug. Our challenge is to reduce that number to a bare minimum."

Taking a risk

Rick Haythornthwaite
Zero risk tolerance is neither desirable or achievable
Rick Haythornthwaite

The government's "Risk Tsar" urges civil servants and ministers to put an element of risk back into policy making.

Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of the new Risk and Regulatory Advisory Council said: "You can change culture the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is you pick on every incident - the easy way is you create a different successful model of behaviour.

"That's what we'll do. You don't need many examples, provided the leadership picks that up and says, 'that's the way I want you to work as Ministers and Civil Servants', it will flow down through the system very quickly."

He went on to say: "Risk can be a very good thing. This isn't to pretend that regulation doesn't have a place in a civilized society, it does.

"But actually, zero risk tolerance is neither desirable or achievable. Leave risk in our lives - make a sensible decision who should manage that risk, individual or government."

The Politics Show is on BBC One at 12.00pm on Sunday, 20 January 2008.

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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has categorically ruled out a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.


Professor Roger Boyle defends the NHS spending on statins



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