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Departmental Capability Review

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

[Interruption.] Part of the problem is that questions 1, 2 and 3 are followed by question 13. The numbering has changed.

Decisions on the timing of capability reviews of individual Departments are a matter for the Cabinet Secretary.

Is the deputy leader concerned that the review will decide that there is no need for his Department? Does he believe that, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer becomes Prime Minister, he and the Department will be scrapped?

Well, whether we have a Department or a Deputy Prime Minister is a matter for the Prime Minister. That has always been the case. I leave whoever is the next Prime Minister to make that judgment. [Hon. Members: “Oh!”] I am at a rather happy demob stage, so I can say that.

As the right hon. Gentleman talks about the capability review, may I remind the House that he was the official Opposition spokesman on Northern Ireland who, at the time of the Good Friday agreement—on which we may see historic success in the next few weeks—went on holiday? That may have been good for his perma-tan, but it was not good for the agreement, and certainly did not show any capability.