Photo of Mr Jack Straw

Mr Jack Straw (Foreign Secretary; Blackburn, Labour)

I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman and I need to make progress.

Let us be clear: if there had been an ISC, there would have been no need for Franks. Neither the nature of the committee's membership nor its modus operandii removed it from controversy. As well as the criticism laid at its door by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow, I remember, as I was in the House—I double-checked my memory earlier today—a wonderful put-down by my right hon. Friend Mr. Foulkes, who said that Franks was

"an establishment cover-up and a whitewash".—[Hansard, 18 January 1983; Vol. 35, c. 180.]

Such inquiries often do not lay such intense political issues to rest, but merely keep them as running sores.

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