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Friday, 3 December, 1999, 14:40 GMT
The Week in Westminster
This week's programme is presented by Steve Richards

Send your comments to The Week in Westminster by clicking here: week.westminster@bbc.co.uk

Westminster is in experimental mood this week.

Power was devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and its new ministers took up their posts and faced the reality of dealing with the humdrum business of departmental politics.

Two politicians who've followed the story closely explain how the new ministers will cope.

And Tony Blair's experiment of closer ties with the Liberal Democrats - two Labour backbenchers on either side of the argument debate the pros and cons of co-operation.

There's also the experimental new chamber off Westminster Hall where MPs are getting used to non-adversarial debate, and John Prescott's week in Westminster went from bad to worse.

Two Prescott watchers give us their views.

All in The Week in Westminster with Steve Richards of the New Statesman at 11.02 on Radio 4 this Saturday 4 December.

You can listen to the latest Week in Westminster broadcast live or afterwards by clicking the link below:



Programme history

The Week in Westminster turned 70 on 6 November.

Initially a weekly broadcast given exclusively by female MPs about parliamentary business, The Week in Westminster was immediately popular with listeners but less so with some politicians who believed it wrong for parliamentary business to be discussed in public.

Such views prompted the BBC's first director general Lord Reith to defend the programme as "chiefly for the benefit of housewives ... shift workers, unemployed, invalids, etc".

Although it has moved around the schedules since it started off on Wednesday mornings - it has recently returned to Saturday mornings - its original aim of giving the public a glimpse of what the people they elected are doing is very much the same.

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