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bootfair

Sellafield - Parliamentary Rigging Investigation

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I've been checking BBC website since this story broke, but it doesnt seem to be on there.

Perhaps less important than their leaders of Britains being "Bored But HappY"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/22/sellafield

A government decision to rush through a scheme indemnifying a US-led private consortium who took over Sellafield from any liability for a nuclear accident is to be investigated by the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin.

He has accepted a complaint from Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport, that former energy minister Malcolm Wicks had not properly consulted MPs when he granted the consortium, made up of the American company URS Washington, French firm Areva and the UK company Amec, an indemnity.

Wicks used emergency procedures – and informed two select committee chairmen just before the parliamentary summer recess – because he said it was urgent to sign the deal. The consortium had threatened to walk away unless Britain waived its rights to charge companies the first £140m for the costs of any accident.

The contract is worth £6.5bn over five years and could be renewed for a further 12 years.. His action was strongly defended by his successor, Mike O'Brien, when the matter was debated last month.

Now following the release of 140 pages of emails under the Freedom of Information Act by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority it is revealed that civil servants were aware three months before the application was made to parliament they would have to apply for the indemnity.

Flynn said: "This was a deliberate, cunning, planned conspiracy to ensure that parliament could not comment or ask questions. We were gagged. It the worst example of rigging parliamentary procedure I have experienced in 21 years."

Today he was joined by David Heath, the Liberal Democrats' shadow leader of the house, who claimed they had been an abuse of procedures. He said MPs were not been able to properly scrutinise the granting of the contract to run the nuclear processing site.

MPs would normally be given 14 days to object to public liabilities of more than £250,000, but were not able to in this case because the parliamentary recess meant politicians were not informed until 75 days after the last chance for them to oppose the deal.

Heath said of the episode: "I think that is an egregious abuse of the house and its procedures."

He called on leader of the Commons,Harriet Harman, to undertake a "proper investigation" and report back to MPs. "We simply cannot have the financial scrutiny afforded to members of this house diverted in this way by ministers," he said.

Harman said he should raise the issue with the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Ministers have not commented on the decision since the Speaker decided to investigate.

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We have conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and the report will be published shortly, the main areas

covered found no improper behaviour by any members of the house and proper procedure was followed.

However due to concerns voiced by a small minority we will be reviewing the process by which future projects

involving Public Liability are handled, this report will be made available to members of the house at the first

opportunity.

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GOsh yes that was thorough, THe story only broke day before yesterday.

I fail to see how, if parliament is supposed to approve any indemnity above 250K, that £140MILLION! can go through without approval..

Still, they know best. Of course.

We have conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and the report will be published shortly, the main areas

covered found no improper behaviour by any members of the house and proper procedure was followed.

However due to concerns voiced by a small minority we will be reviewing the process by which future projects

involving Public Liability are handled, this report will be made available to members of the house at the first

opportunity.

Edited by bootfair

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We have conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and the report will be published shortly, the main areas

covered found no improper behaviour by any members of the house and proper procedure was followed.

However due to concerns voiced by a small minority we will be reviewing the process by which future projects

involving Public Liability are handled, this report will be made available to members of the house at the first

opportunity.

Exactly, we already know what the report will say.

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GOsh yes that was thorough, THe story only broke day before yesterday.

Will be something like that anyway, it's suprising how bold the Labour Government have become as Sellafield shows, although it is a Labour MP who is asking for an investigation, although Milliband refused permission under emergency powers recently.

The whole thing is a disgrace but nothing will change.

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The Guradian was bit slow then. However, a search on the BBC on the name of this MP give absolutely NOTHING on this story from the archives...

I'd have thought £140 million and the shocking comments by the complainants- one from Gvts own side - would have warranted a bloody mention at least.

A little bit of research would show that this is not "news". This from the Independent, 3 weeks ago:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/polit...up-1224473.html

The BBC website only has so much data capacity you know. ;)

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I suppose the news is that the Speaker has now agreed to investigate, following the complaint from Labour MP Paul Flynn.

No chance of a cabinet or department job for him now I suppose, not that he'd want one at the moment!

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