ON his return to an understandably subdued Prime Minister's Questions yesterday David Cameron put two important questions to the Prime Minister.
The first suggested that talk implying that Northern Ireland is “staring into the brink” or “standing on an abyss” is inaccurate and unhelpful. Mr Cameron is right; there have been some irresponsible scare headlines in the media since the killings earlier this week. Yesterday's impressive demonstrations in Northern Ireland were not by frightened people but by citizens determined to safeguard the peace they have had for the past decade.

Mr Cameron's second question was a request to the prime minister for a rapid independent judge-led inquiry into Binyam Mohammed's allegations that Britain had a role in the torture which he claims he suffered while in American hands at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. The government is being evasive on this issue - the Foreign Secretary especially - and Mr Brown's reply that the Attorney General is looking into the matter was unsatisfactory. The Attorney General's position is difficult, as both a law officer and a political appointee. The prime minister has always been very clear that he opposes the use of torture and that unequivocal position should encourage him to see that Binyam Mohammed's claims are investigated in the most transparent way possible. The use of torture is abhorrent whatever the circumstances. It is sickening that some voices are still heard defending it. The British government should not leave any doubt about where it stands on this issue.