Sustainable Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 5th February 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:31 pm, 5th February 2003

That was another pitiful contribution from the right hon. Gentleman in his attempt to become the leader of his party. He does not have much to beat, I agree, but I do not think that he will do it with contributions like that.

First, I shall deal with the right hon. Gentleman's complaint, because I take these matters very seriously. I did not leak any of these proposals to the press. I have said that to the House time and time again. I make great efforts to come to the House to make announcements. No evidence was given to back up the right hon. Gentleman's claim. He quoted a Cabinet letter, which was leaked—a problem that plagues all Governments from time to time.

I heard that the right hon. Gentleman had made a complaint about information being given to the press, so I looked into the matter. I found that the only paper with any information about today's statement was The Daily Telegraph, where it appeared in an article by Charles Clover. I went through that article, and I have to tell the right hon. Gentleman that every fact was wrong, except those concerning housing numbers, which I announced last year. Hon. Members may think that I have briefed on the wrong facts, but I like to think that as I know what is in the statement, they would have been the right facts. The right hon. Gentleman's allegation is untrue, and I hope that he will withdraw it or provide evidence of anything in the press today which shows that I leaked anything in this report. I give him the chance to intervene—does he want to withdraw or to provide evidence?