Debates from the houses of commons and lords, this shelf dating back to 1853.
"Neither Cobbett nor Hansard ever employed anyone to take down notes of the
debates, which were taken from a multiplicity of sources in the morning
newspapers. For this reason, editions of Hansard are not to be absolutely relied
upon as a guide to everything discussed in Parliament."
Nowadays, "Hansard (the Official Report) is the edited verbatim report of
proceedings in both Houses" available online at 8am the next day, but initial
reports are available online about three hours after "real time".
Here's a thrilling extract from today.
Adam Price (Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr) (PC): I agree, and I pay tribute
to courageous Members on both sides of the House who have declared support
against their party line. Some things are genuinely more important than party
politics, and it is a good day for parliamentary democracy when we see beyond
party loyalty and look at issues of principle.
Ian Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Adam Price: I have been generous, but I must make some progress because we
need to hear as many Back-Bench speeches as possible.
I want to return to some of the Prime Ministers statements that were out
of kilter with much of what he was being told. To give just one example, on 3
April 2002 he said:We know that heSaddam Hussein
has stockpiles of major amounts of chemical and biological weapons.
But in the previous month, the most that the Joint Intelligence Committee
could come up with was:
We believe Iraq retains some production equipment, and some small stocks
of chemical warfare agent precursors, and may have hidden small quantities of
agents and weapons.
So may became we know and small quantities became major stockpiles;
that was the pattern in the presentation of the case. Small changes in
emphasis and the selective use of intelligence were repeatedly used to transform a
threat from minor to dire and doubtful to definite, and caveats and caution
to blood-chilling certainties.
Evidence that would have undermined the case was held back. The Prime
Minister frequently cited the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Husseins
son-in-law, and his admission in 1995 that Iraq had indeed had an extensive WMD
programme. However, what the Prime Minister omitted to tell the House was that
Hussein Kamel also told UN inspectors in 1995 that he had personally ordered
the destruction of all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and that that
Most indefensible of all was justification of the war in Iraq on the basis
that it would reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack, even though the
intelligence services were saying the opposite at the time.
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) (Lab): Does the hon. Gentleman also
concede that any inquiry should look in some detail at the circumstances under
which the UN weapons inspectors, led by Hans Blix, were withdrawn from Iraq in
January 2003 and not allowed to go back, having confirmed that they believed
with 99 per cent. certainty that there were no such weapons of mass destruction
Adam Price: Absolutely. I entirely I agree with the hon. Gentleman.
Several hon. Members rose
Adam Price: I need to make progress[Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman has said that he has to make
progress. He is not giving way.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Hall, it is not your function to heckle an hon.
Member constantly, especially when I have given an instruction. I am looking at
a few other Members who should behave themselves as well.