Gerry Steinberg MP "Gerryisms"


Many epithets have been applied to Gerry Steinberg during his long political career, some more complimentary than others."Forthright", "no party stooge", "outspoken", "belligerent" and even plain "rude". Never one to call a spade an item of Soil Penetration And Digging Equipment, it is true to say that Gerry always said what he meant and meant what he said. Always his own man, he fought for what was best for Durham City and the country.

Below is a collection of just a sample of such "Gerryisms" gleaned from Hansard over the years.

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): "I am allowed to make a speech on my views; I never heard Tory Members doing that from this side of the House. They always said what they were told to say by their Whips. The Whips are not telling me what to say. I shall say exactly what I want." (House of Commons Monday 2nd June 1997)

[And he did! Read on...]

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): "The most vociferous supporter of the PFI bid, has done a runner. I am told that he has gone to a job with neither promotion prospects nor a wage increase. He has gone to Carlisle. Who would go to Carlisle when he could stay in Durham?" (House of Commons Tuesday 21 Jan 1997)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): "Often I, too, think it is a damn good idea to give certain children a good hiding, but ultimately it does not work. The children who are chastised are the ones who keep coming back for it, time and again. Moreover, if a teacher gave a child a good hiding, the child's parent is likely to come into the school and give the teacher a good hiding. That must not be overlooked." (House of Commons Wednesday 29 Jan 1997)

Mr. Bercow: "Go on. Go for it."
Mr. Steinberg: "I do not want any comments from the hon. Gentleman, who has a big mouth and should learn to keep it shut occasionally."
(House of Commons 6 April 1998)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): "Can anyone really argue that the hereditary peers are representative when 45 per cent. of them went to Eton; when, of the 635 sitting in the House of Lords, only 16 are women; when 42 per cent. had careers in the armed forces; when 60 per cent. claim land management and farming as their occupation; and when only two--a staggering 0.31 per cent--are from ethnic minorities? Is that truly representative of the people of this country? I am sure it is not."
(House of Commons 16 March 1999)

Mr. Gerald Howarth: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr. Steinberg: No, I have given way enough, especially to you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman has not given way at all to me. He must use the correct parliamentary language.
Mr. Steinberg: I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. To be frank, the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) gets under my skin and makes me forget proper parliamentary language.
(House of Commons 16 March 1999)

Mr. Steinberg: "As the civil list is public expenditure, has the Prime Minister thought about allowing the National Audit Office to audit the accounts and letting the Public Accounts Committee investigate the result?" (House of Commons 4 Jul 2000)

Mr. Steinberg: "Fur coats are worn by beautiful animals and ugly people." (House of Commons 15 May 2000)

Mr. Steinberg: "The hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) compared the pretentious wearing of fur coats with the wearing of Armani suits by Labour party poseurs. Can the Minister tell us how many Armanis it takes to make a suit, and how are they killed?" (House of Commons 15 May 2000)

Mr. Steinberg: " We have seen what happens when such cuts are made. The taxpayer was ripped off by the sale of Railtrack and the traveller now receives a declining service from it. I do not want to go into its record, but it is clear to everybody that there is a great deal of worry in respect of safety on the railways, basically because of lack of investment." (House of Commons 25 November 1999)

Mr. Steinberg: "I carry a picture of my Staffordshire bull terrier around in my pocket and I hate cruelty to animals. I am thinking of putting a picture of my wife in my wallet, but the Staffordshire bull terrier currently takes precedence. .... Fortunately, my wife does not watch the pantomime that goes on in the House on the television. Neither does she listen to it on the radio, so I am pretty safe." (House of Commons 20 Dec 2000)

Mr. Steinberg: "I do not present as sleek a figure as I had hoped following the obesity report. Obviously the recommendations are not working." (House of Commons 24 Jan 2002)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Will the Secretary of State give way?
Mr. Milburn: I shall do so in a moment, but let me make a little bit of progress, if I may.
Mr. Steinberg: That is one more vote you have lost.
Mr. Milburn: I give way. [Laughter.]
Mr. Steinberg: It is still not certain that my right hon. Friend will get that vote, to be quite honest.
(House of Commons 7 May 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "If there is an unforeseen problem because of underfunding in Durham, who will take the blame? Who will be responsible - an efficient fire authority that has done its best in difficult circumstances, or Ministers who won't damn well listen?" (House of Commons 29 Apr 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: "We [Public Accounts Committee] have a right to be taken seriously and for our questions to be answered, even if Departments would rather not answer them or would prefer them not be asked" (House of Commons 12 Feb 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: "He [Head of the Civil Service] complained to the NAO about my aggressive attitude, and Sir John Bourn passed the complaint on to the Chairman of the PAC who, I can assure hon. Members, has reprimanded me. However, perhaps Sir Andrew should take note of his Departments rather than worrying about what Committee members have to say and ask. He should look at the number of cock-ups over which he presides and the wasted taxpayers' money that goes down the drain each year that could be used to fund better public services. We are not talking about millions of pounds, but billions. ... Frankly, I think that he had some cheek." (House of Commons 12 Feb 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: "I have raised the matter [hunting] many a time with my hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment. In fact, I have stopped buying him drinks because of his attitude towards it." (House of Commons 30 Jun 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Most adults in England are now overweight; that includes myself, although I would not go so far as to say that I was obese." (House of Commons 29 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Parents must learn that a trip to McDonald's is not so much a treat as a health hazard." (House of Commons 29 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Conservative Members do not like to hear such information because they enjoy seeing the killing and the cruelty to animals. They will vote for that this evening." (House of Commons 16 Dec 2002)

Now for the hard stuff - Public Accounts Committee...

Mr. Steinberg: "I haven't got a large farming constituency, but there are a lot of farmers in it who wrote to me, and I couldn't get responses from DEFRA for nine months. That causes me a huge amount of embarrassment and makes me look a prat to be honest, which I'm not. I'm being let down by a government department and it makes me look as if I'm not doing my job, which is unfair. I've waited nine months to say that." (PAC 6 March 2002)

Mr. Steinberg: "You are waffling; you are not going to give me a 100% guarantee, are you?" (PAC, 3 July 2002)

Mr. Steinberg: "I think you are getting away with murder, frankly, because I think this is absolute incompetence on the part of your Department, which I think needs saying. What is unforgivable is you were given advice and you ignored that advice and you pushed that aside." (PAC 4 Nov 2002)

Mr. Steinberg: "I am saying why did you not say 'This scheme is crap. It is going to fail. The taxpayer is going to be robbed blind but we will still make our lucrative contract out of it?.' How much profit did you make out of this?" (PAC 4 Nov 2002)

Mr. Steinberg: "When I read the report it was difficult to find anything to criticise you on, which is a great pity because that is what we are here for." (PAC 15 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "I think that most of the trouble in hospitals at the moment is because of clinicians interfering." (PAC 15 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Your answers are very long and I only have ten minutes." (PAC 22 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "I do not think you understood what I was talking about but never mind - a lot of people do not!" (PAC 22 Jan 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "I sit and watch the television and I have got to an age now where I sit and argue viciously with the television screen. I shout at it." (PAC 3 Feb 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "I have tremendous faith in my doctor and I suspect that everybody else has as well." (PAC 5 Mar 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "For a contract of less than £100,000 you do not check them, you do not take any evidence, you do not check whether it has been done properly, you do not know whether they have carried the jobs out. It seems so lackadaisical, everything seems to be on the side of the contractors and, frankly, the taxpayer seems to be getting ripped off here." (PAC 19 Mar 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "My wife always says to me that I see the jug always half empty, never half full " (PAC 24 Mar 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): So where are we getting the wool pulled over our eyes, then?
Mr Gershon: On what?
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): On PFI. It cannot be as good as all this, can it?
Mr Gershon: The debate that has taken place previously around PFI has not focused on these aspects of it.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Well, it is brilliant! We are told here that price increases are due to changes in specifications requested by the Department, so it is not the contractors to blame when the prices go up. The department is to blame - you are to blame. We are even told that some of the construction companies are losing money on the deals because they are paying for these changes themselves. It is fantastic, is it not?
Chairman: You are supposed to ask difficult questions!
Mr Gershon: I have this horrible feeling --
(PAC 24 Mar 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "So it is possible they will legislate that a pint equals 95% of a pint?" (PAC 26 Mar 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): As for the Treasury, your answers to Mr Bacon were appalling, frankly, because in fact you are being ripped off, as I see it. You are saying if you sell a pint of beer, and 5% of that beer can then be sold again, you are losing the duty on that, surely?
Mr Molan: I have promised to provide a note to the Committee.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Am I right?
Mr Molan: You may be right, Mr Steinberg. I honestly do not know the answer.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): It just seems to me if you sell a pint of beer, and you in fact do not sell a pint of beer but you keep 5% of it back, then you sell that 5% on, out of the barrel that you have sold you are selling more beer than is actually in the barrel, which is impossible, but if you do do that, you must be losing the tax on that.
Mr Molan: I understand what you are saying.
(PAC 26 Mar 2003)

Q56 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): So an academic comes along and he asks to see the archives and out of my taxes I pay a contribution of £123 for him to do that.
Mr Wootton: He pays something as well.
Q57 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I do not care how much he pays. He should pay the lot. Why should I pay for that?
Mr Wootton: From our point of view, the reason we have research viewings is that it is an obligation of ours to make that available so people can write about film history and can research into film history. It is an important part of making a particular kind of access.
Q58 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): It is not important at all. It is irrelevant. It is somebody doing some academic work who comes along to you and you find something for him, or you allow him to go in to research, to do some viewings and the taxpayer ends up paying £123.
(PAC 7 May 2003)

Q67 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You are not really answering the question. You are flanneling quite honestly. What I say to you is: how do you justify £12.07 a time when I do not have a cinema in Durham, my constituents are not necessarily very rich, certainly I would not have thought the vast majority of them are diversely sexually orientated, but they have nowhere to go to see a film because the cinema is closed down because it was worth more on the open market for development. How can you justify subsidising that and my constituents are paying for it who cannot go to the pictures on a Saturday night if they want to?
Mr Wootton: I would not ---
(PAC 7 May 2003)

Q71 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Could I suggest that if I ask the chief executive of my local authority to contact you he could look forward to receiving some sort of grant from you?
Mr Woodward: He could look forward to a sensible and serious conversation, absolutely.
Q72 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I am not interested in sensible and serious conversations, I am interested in screens to show Harry Potter in my constituency.
Mr Woodward: I should be happy to take that up with him.
(PAC 7 May 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "He gives one hell of an answer, does he not? You ask a very small question and he goes on for 20 minutes. No wonder I do not have a lot of time." (PAC 4 Jun 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Is it not unfair that you can pump £22 million into Sadler's Wells to keep it going in the capital but my little theatre in Durham, which was struggling for about half a million pounds, could not get that?" (PAC 10 Sep 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "Instead of me putting a press release out which makes me look like a plonker, you could have taken a front page advert out in The Northern Echo. They would see that and they could make an application. You are not prepared to do that. You want me to make a fool of myself." (PAC 22 Oct 2003)

Mr. Steinberg: "I do congratulate you there, that you had the guts to say that the lawyers were wrong, and mostly they are, are they not? I have a daughter who is a lawyer and a son who is a barrister and more times than not they are wrong." (PAC 27 Oct 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): If you go with BT you can have BT Standard, or you can have BT Standard with Domestic & International Friends & Family. If you are not happy about that you can have BT Together with unlimited local calls. There again, if you are not interested in that one you can have BT Standard with Domestic Friends & Family. There again, you do not need to have that because you can have BT Working Together. On the other hand, if you do not want BT Working Together you can have BT Together. On the other hand, if you do not want BT Together you can have BT Together with Friends & Family. Which is the best one? How do people know? Do you tell them which is the best one?
Mr Edmonds: I do not think that is the job of the regulator.
Q28 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Of course it is the job of you to give people the information to know which way to go.
(PAC 10 November 2003)

Sir Nicholas Montagu: I have to be thankful for small mercies, Mr Steinberg. Fox hunting is not a subject about which you write to me." (PAC 3 Dec 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I am not interested in them. I am only interested in what has gone wrong. It is nasty, but that is the fact. (PAC 3 Dec 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Come on, Mr Eland, you are flannelling. I do not want any flannel. The fact of the matter is that after two years you had to renegotiate a contract which has cost the taxpayer £500 million and within two years you were re-negotiating and it is costing the taxpayer £900 million.
(PAC 5 Dec 2003)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Sir Kevin, I am very disappointed with the meeting this afternoon, I find your attitude not only arrogant and complacent but I think soldiers may have died because of some of the failures that your Department and the military failed to do. We are entitled to find out if those mistakes were made and people died because of them. Quite frankly I know it is beneath you to come to this meeting because you have been to other ones that are far more important but as far as I am concerned when you come here you should give us the courtesy of answering our questions, which I do not think you have doing as you should have been. How many people did not get the body armour that they needed?
Sir Kevin Tebbit: I cannot answer that question, I do not know if the General can. I can give you some information round that issue.
Lieutenant General Robert Fry: I cannot give you a definitive answer as far as that is concerned. When you talk about casualties this is not a trivial issue for me, I am soldier and it is something which matters to every -
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): If I was a soldier led by some of the hierarchy [I see round these tables] I would be bloody worried, to be quite honest.
(PAC 21 Jan 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): In 1999 200,000 sets of body armour were issued yet there was a shortage, where did they go to?
Sir Kevin Tebbit: To the units throughout the armed forces.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Why did every single soldier not have body armour?
Sir Kevin Tebbit: I really have tried to answer your questions and I am very disappointed you should speak to me in those tones.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I have to say that it is not just my feeling.
(PAC 21 Jan 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): All you have said is that I am right, nobody knows where it is. The press made out that our soldiers were fighting a battle with a lack of ammunition, when you read the Report that is not what was happening, that is not accurate, what was happening was they could not carry the ammunition, there was plenty but they could not carry it to the front because they had nothing to carry it in. The Report says that.
Sir Kevin Tebbit: That is not true.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): There was a lack of ammunition on the frontline, it was sitting there.
Sir Kevin Tebbit: I am not denying it.
(PAC 21 Jan 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You accused Mr Trickett of not listening to you, you are not listening to me, I said that the press gave a perception there was no ammunition but there was plenty of ammunition. The reason why there was no ammunition on the frontline was because they could not get it there.
Sir Kevin Tebbit: No, no, no. It was on the frontline. The ammunition was on the frontline, Mr Steinberg.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): That is not what it says in the Report. Am I stupid or what? It says this, "it significantly limited the ability of the logistics unit to move ammunition to the frontline...ammunition shortages". They did not have it because it was not there it was because it was back in storage because they could not get it to the frontline because there was nought to carry it in.
Sir Kevin Tebbit: I can only go by what the commanders report.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You signed up to this Report, Sir Kevin, and it says it.
(PAC 21 Jan 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): The performance is not very good at all, is it? You are presiding over an organisation that is perhaps one of the most used organisations, public services, in the country. If you want to drive a motorcar you have got to go through your organisation. Quite frankly, you are antiquated, you are old-fashioned, you are non-consumer friendly. (PAC 9 Feb 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Why can you not pay at the supermarket?
Mr Bennett: Sorry?
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Why can you not pay at the supermarket?
Mr Bennett: That is another channel. It may well be that there are other channels but at the moment I thought the issue we were talking about was financial, the credit card issue.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I am giving you examples of how you can become more consumer friendly. If you can buy Lottery tickets in the supermarket, why can you not tax your car?
Mr Bennett: It is a good point but at the moment ----
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You will be able to vote in the supermarket very shortly. Why can you not pay your car tax?
Mr Bennett: Because at the moment it is the Post Office.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): It is the Post Office's fault?
Mr Bennett: Sorry?
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): It is the Post Office's fault?
Mr Bennett: The Post Office has mechanisms established and the consumers, contrary to what you have said, actually like the Post Office.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I do not. I have got to go to the Post Office but I would rather pick up the telephone on a Sunday afternoon and just press a few buttons to pay my bill.
(PAC 9 Feb 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You are not very MP friendly either. When we have complaints it is very difficult to get through to somebody who can take it up, or who will take it up over the telephone. When we phone up the Department of Work and Pensions or the Inland Revenue there is always an MPs' line that we can go to but when I have tried to take up a complaint about DVLA I can never get through, all I get is a ----
Mr Bennett: I am disappointed to hear that. I will look into that because that is important. In terms of written correspondence we have a very good hit rate.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You could have an MPs' helpline, could you not?
Mr Bennett: It is a thought. We will have a look at that. I genuinely think it is worth looking at that.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Good answer.
(PAC 9 Feb 2004)

Chairman: Thank you, Mr Steinberg. Thank you for telling us about the congestion charge in Durham. I am glad that when I was a student I was not charged for getting my old banger on Palace Green, which I only paid £90 for. It was taxed, of course.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I do not know why you needed to take your car in the first place. You were rich, that is why.
(PAC 9 Feb 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I get bored very quickly. (PAC 8 Mar 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Incidentally, you are a very important person, are you not? You are the Permanent Secretary in Culture, Media and Sport, do you think you could get me a Cup Final ticket? (PAC 8 Mar 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): What do they show in museums in America?
Mr Davidson: Things that have been stolen from elsewhere; but leave that for a moment.
(PAC 8 Mar 2004)

Paxman Mode

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): How many deprived communities are there all together in the country?
Dame Mavis McDonald: The neighbourhood renewal work which the social exclusion unit did described something in the order of 2,000 to 3,000 small areas where there are pockets of deprivation.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): How many actually applied for this particular scheme?
Dame Mavis McDonald: In this particular case we asked local authorities to help us choose the areas for this particular programme.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): That was not the question. How many applied?
Dame Mavis McDonald: They did not apply directly to us. We asked the local authorities to identify within the index of multiple deprivations -
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): How many?
Mr Riddell: It was not an open bidding system. We asked local authorities to identify particular needs.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Just answer the question. How many?
Mr Riddell: Thirty-nine areas are funded and we effectively asked 39 local authorities to put forward areas.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): How many authorities actually asked?
Mr Riddell: We did not invite authorities to bid. We approached authorities which were identified as being needy.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): So in your view there are only 39 deprived communities in this country.
(PAC 24 Mar 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I added up 69 and 17, so my maths is not too bad after all! In fact, out of those 1,845 prosecutions, only 86 were on VAT fraud.
Mr Eland: Yes, that is right.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): And you say you are not complacent! I can tell you 86 people who are defrauding VAT now! I can give you their names!
(PAC 31 Mar 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: If any of these questions look as though they have come from the Sunday Times, they have not. I tell you what; if they had come to me they would have got a better report than the one they put in the paper, that is certain. (PAC 26 Apr 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: Yes, but why should I have to receive a letter saying my government is rubbish because they cannot see a doctor for a week, yet a mile down the road a person can see a doctor within 24 hours. That is not the government's fault; it is the total incompetence of the people who are delivering the services locally. How can government be held responsible for that and why do you not do something about it?
(PAC 26 Apr 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: I have got to say that this Report is so bad it almost became humorous when you were reading it. It is one of the most shocking reports that we have had in front of us. You appear to have policies in place to attack the problem and then you completely ignore those policies.
(PAC 28 Apr 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: If you sat there and tried to defend it, it would have been good fun, to be quite honest, but because you have put your hands up it is very difficult to have a go at you.
(PAC 28 Apr 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: How long have they had water in Northern Ireland? (PAC 28 Apr 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Good, good, it will be very interesting whether you come back again in two or three years' time. Unfortunately, I will not be here but I will watch it on Sky. Still it is better than watching Dad's Army, I suspect. Right. I have been told I have only got two minutes left.
Mr Williams: That was three minutes ago!
(PAC 28 Apr 2004)

Opening Gambit

Mr. Steinberg: Clearly, we are wasting our time this afternoon, are we not, because after four years of absolute chaos, interference from central government, ineptitude in the regions, suddenly, six months later, after the NAO report, everything is perfect. Is that right? (PAC 10 May 2004)

Opening Gambit 2

There is an old expression, is there not Sir Brian, you can baffle people with bullshit, and you have got me baffled (PAC 12 May 2004)

Opening Gambit 3

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Mr Narey, I like you a lot, I have known you for a long time, but you should be a social worker and nothing to do with prisons, to be quite honest.
Chairman: Was that a compliment or an insult?
Q50 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): It was a compliment. He is too nice to be in the Prison Service and that is probably the reason it is the way it is.
(PAC 17 May 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Mr Bowker, I cannot resist this, I am sorry, but there was an article in the newspaper recently which said that you hired Mr Steve Norris to show you how to deal with the Committee of Public Accounts and that it cost £1500 for an hour out of public funds. Was the advice worthwhile?
Mr Bowker: I have to say, and you will forgive me for not being able to resist this, Mr Steinberg, that it is another example of the media being highly selective in their reporting of what happened. It is true that we used the services of Mr Norris in that capacity. It is not true that it was for an hour and, in fact, it involved a very considerable amount of preparation time. I think it is entirely appropriate for us to use external advice where that advice is relevant and where it does not exist internally, which in that case it did not.
Q29 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Did you find that the advice was good?
Mr Bowker: I certainly believe that the advice we paid for represented value for money, yes.
Q30 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): For the taxpayer? ... Can I just give you some information? I am retiring at the next election, and I can honestly tell you that I will charge half of what Norris charged, so I will give you my card at the end of the meeting!
Mr Bowker: I will take you up on that, Mr Steinberg.
(PAC 26 May 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): But you get more than the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister is running the country and you are running the railway lines -- and not very well!
Mr Curry: He is doing better than the Prime Minister!
Q41 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): You want to get back to the Agriculture Committee
(PAC 26 May 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Has the advice that Mr Norris gave you the last time helped you for this meeting and give us an example of how it has?
Mr Bowker: I think it would be very difficult to be that specific.
Mr Allan: That was the example!
(PAC 26 May 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I have always had the feeling, since I came onto this Committee, that doctors are very arrogant.
Chairman: Unlike Members of Parliament.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Unlike Members of Parliament.
(PAC 16 Jun 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Can I claim political asylum somewhere else?
Mr Gieve: Yes.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): In Scotland? I cannot think who would want to go to Scotland, could you? I am surprised they do not come here looking for political asylum themselves.
(PAC 30 Jun 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: You expected IT to work? You were clearly a very optimistic man, were you not? (PAC 30 Jun 2004)

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson: If I could ask you to let me finish my answer -
Q49 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): : If the answer was worth listening to, I would listen to it.
(PAC 8 Sep 2004)

Sir Kevin Tebbit: I am wondering whether you really want to ask me any questions or whether you want to make assertions and allow me to answer them.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I want to ask some questions and I want some answers, not some of the flannelling that we get every time you appear in front of us. It is quite amazing that every time you appear in front of us this Committee loses its temper. It is not to do with anybody else. It just seems to be your attitude, Mr Tebbit.
(PAC 25 Oct 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): I am not trying to dwell on the past, Mr Tebbit. What I am trying to do is to show how incompetent the Ministry of Defence is: because you ballsed up the Apache; you also messed up the Chinook; you also messed up the Lynx.
(PAC 25 Oct 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Are you saying that you have now learned your lessons after all of this sort of--
Chairman: Just say, "Yes"!
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): --confrontation that we have had?
Sir Kevin Tebbit: I am saying, "Yes".
Chairman: Is that it, Sir Gerry!
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): One of these days I will get a knighthood.
(PAC 25 Oct 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: Frankly, if you read the report, you have never had a strategy, have you? If you look at the report and you look at the pictures in the report - and I am looking at pictures a lot these days because I have a grandson who is one and a half, and he even realised here that, if you look at the report and the pictures, all the trains are different?
(PAC 10 Nov 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): When there was no strategy at all, and you have more or less admitted there was no strategy, and you look here and see the reasons why the system had not been successful, and then you look and see what has happened on the continent, it is no good saying, "Because the streets were wider in Paris". That is a load of rubbish.
Chairman: Say it in French.
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): [Mock French accent] Bol-locks'. [General laughter] They had actually planned it, had they not? You have no planning at all.
(PAC 10 Nov 2004)

Chairman: Thank you very much. We are very grateful to Mr Steinberg's one and a half-year old grandson for coming up with an ingenious solution that the trains should be the same throughout the country. Will we give him an OBE, do you think?
(PAC 10 Nov 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: I have been on this Committee now for about four or five years and, when I listen to some of the answers that I get, it is just pure flannel, is it not? It is pure flannel.
(PAC 15 Nov 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: Big deal. That means that I am quite happy to declare myself guilty of careless driving to get a 100 quid fine when I know if I am brought forward for dangerous driving I might get eight years. I am sure you are delighted that you are getting more successful prosecutions. Get away! That does surprise me!
(PAC 1 Dec 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: I could not care less how many cars are on the road in France and I could not care less how many cars there are on the roads in Holland; all I care about is that when I drive up the Western Bypass to bypass Newcastle and Gateshead I get stuck in a traffic jam which is usually about four miles long. That traffic jam is there virtually every day of life. You get so sick that sometimes you lose the will to live when you are sitting in a traffic jam.
(PAC 8 Dec 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: When my wife goes to buy a new coat, she always tells me I am looking at the bottle half empty!
(PAC 13 Dec 2004)

Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Did they get a dentist?
Sir Nigel Crisp: For emergency and urgent. The figures we have got are something of the order of 94% get it within a short distance. I cannot remember the distance but they are able to access emergency or urgent treatment -----
Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): What is "a short distance", Sir Nigel?
Sir Nigel Crisp: I need to come back to you on that.
(PAC 14 Dec 2004)

Mr. Steinberg: It is easier to win the National Lottery than to get a dentist. (PAC 14 Dec 2004)

Ms Street: I think that, of course, constituency MPs and Members of this Committee will want to look to their own constituencies. From the information I have Durham has benefited a lot, £46 million in the past.
Q62 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): How much did you say the Dome was again?
Ms Street: Several hundred million.
Q63 Mr. Gerry Steinberg (City of Durham): Right.
(PAC 12 Jan 2005)

Mr. Steinberg: There is nothing worse than coming out of your house or going to a car park and you look for your car and it is not there. It is the worst feeling in the world. It is worse than losing the wife. I would much rather know that my car was there when I get up in the morning than my wife. (PAC 9 Feb 2005)

Mr. Steinberg: Never park your car in Sunderland. (PAC 9 Feb 2005)

Back to front page!