Mr Jack Straw (Foreign Secretary; Blackburn, Labour)
My hon. Friend Mr. Dalyell was in good company at the time. Indeed, I have been reading the statements that were made in this House when Franks reported. My hon. Friend made an important point. If we are going to find a judge to do such work—I had to recognise that this was the case when I established entirely justified judicial inquiries into judicial matters—on the whole, we have to go for judges who are retired, as others will not be available for the indefinite period for which they will operate. Sometimes, they could be described as old and tired.
Frankly, when we are dealing with subjects that are so intrinsically political, the idea that simply because somebody has been adorned with a judge's wig, they will be devoid of political judgment or opinion, or that that will not seep through into what they say, is nonsense.