As the hon. Gentleman in particular knows, the all-party talks were operating on a good consensual basis until earlier in the summer last year, and I am very reluctant to proceed without a consensus, because the system of party funding should not advantage or disadvantage in a partisan way one party or another. He will also know that the recommendations in the report of Sir Hayden Phillips were "welcomed"—that was the phrase used—by the then Opposition spokesperson, Mrs. May, and it is a matter of concern to us that the Conservative Opposition have moved far away from what was proposed. But it is also clear that there was, and I believe there remains, a complete consensus. Anyone who reads the record going back to the recommendations of Neill, back into the 1980s, and back to the debates on the 1999 draft Bill, which became the 2000 Act, will see that everyone in every part of both Houses believed—indeed, the Conservative Opposition in the other place proposed an amendment to clarify the law to make this clear, although at the time Ministers thought that was not needed—that the 1983 controls would continue to operate and be completed by the national controls that Neill proposed.
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