10/06/2011 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday.


We've had the hearsay and the gossip, now we have the documentary


evidence - the project to replace Tony with Gordon.


Can the Government's work programme get a million unemployed people


back to work? We'll be asking the Employment Minister.


And figures record a huge increase in crime in the Palace of


Westminster - the mystery of the missing iPads, golf clubs and


And with me for today are the political editor of The Spectator,


James Forsyth, and chief political commentator of The Independent,


Steve Richards. Now, I'm taking delivery of a new


car today - a Volvo. But I read this morning that "Project Volvo"


was the codename of a Gordon Brown rebranding exercise, part of the


push to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister. Umm...I might be


regretting my choice of car. The Daily Telegraph has published a


dossier of memos, apparently belonging to the current Shadow


Chancellor Ed Balls, detailing the moves against Tony Blair amongst


Gordon Brown's allies. One document, dated 19th July 2005, just two


months after the 2005 election when Ed Balls and Ed Miliband became MPs,


appears to set out the structure for a Gordon Brown leadership


challenge to Tony Blair. It mentions a "GB transition


storyline" and a "first 100 days policy plan". A small group of


attendees are mentioned, including Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas


Alexander. Another strategy document for the campaign, heavily


annotated by Ed Balls, is dated 21st July 2005 - the day of the


failed terrorist attack on London's transport system. Issues that need


to be addressed include "Who is GB?", "Lawyers - a list we can


trust", and establishing a "handling plan" for supporters.


Other memos exchanged between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown illustrate


the animosity at the top of Labour. On a letter from Mr Blair


discussing a possible transition deal, Mr Brown scribbled the words


"shallow", "inconsistent" and "muddled". In an interview last


year, Ed Balls was asked about his conduct during the Blair


premiership. Do you regret these years of


plotting and scheming to undermine Mr Blair? The thing is, this is


based upon gossip and rumour and anonymous briefings. If you had


been in politics like me or David or dead, we always get this stuff.


You did try to undermine Mr Blair. A untrue. You wanted him to go.


thought it was right... You did your best for him to go. Himself


had announced he would go. Don't tell me you didn't want him to go.


The tis very easy for you, in a quite lazy way, to repeat this


innuendo and gossip based on no substance about what people claim I


have done. It is so near. That was Ed Balls talking to Andrew during


the Labour leadership election. Joining us from Birmingham is Liam


Byrne. Are you surprised to learn that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were


planning to replace Tony Blair with Gordon Brown as early as July 2005?


I haven't looked at the Telegraph's story. Take it from the. 2005, very


clearly, 19th July, there were documents, papers, working groups,


a whole infrastructure set up to replace Tony Blair. I think a


couple of things. Firstly, most importantly, this stuff appears to


me to be some time in the past. The relationship between Tony and


Gordon is pretty well catalogued now. From what I have made up from


what you have said to me today, these documents are about


discussions in Gordon's team that actually date from after when Tony


have said he was stepping down. In that time when Gordon, as he did,


aspire to lead the Labour Party, would have been thinking about the


leadership contest after Tony had finally steps down. You are right,


it is after the time he said he would step down, but he did say he


wanted to serve a full term of office. If you look at the


documents, and I have them here, we have lists of what people are going


to do, and these people are now operating at the top of the Labour


Party, including the leader. Do you think it was right that those


people, so pays to be working within a government under Tony


Blair, were devoting much of their time to trying to get Gordon Brown


to be Prime Minister? From what you have described, you have a group of


people talking about how Gordon would face up to a leadership


contest in the late Bish - Labour Party in the time after Tony


Blair... You think it was right that there was this infrastructure


set up while Tony Blair was still serving, detailing his weaknesses,


his failures as prime minister, people supposed to be working under


him, they were trying to get Gordon fine? I think it is an honourable


ambition to want to lead the Labour party and want to be a Labour Prime


Minister. When you confront a situation in politics where the guy


at the top has said he is stepping down, it is not very unnatural for


people behind any particular camp to start thinking about how their


guide is going to confront the leadership contest that could


decide the future Labour leader and the future Labour Prime Minister.


But this stuff is quite old now. Yes, it might be quite bold... --


old. Most of the figures are still there. Ed Balls, Ed Miliband,


Douglas Alexander, they are at the top of the current party, are you


saying it doesn't have any implications at all? What I have


learned about politics in my career in Westminster is that voters are


more interested in the future than the machinations of the past.


about the denials? Ed Balls has repeatedly denied being involved in


any insurgency. Whichever way you look at it, it was an insurgency.


Insurgency? Any project to replace penny Blair with Gordon Brown. Do


you believe him? -- Tony Blair. you don't mind me saying,


insurgency is rather a grand term for what looked like a group of


friends coming together... Liam Byrne, you are making out this was


some sort of school boy friendly group. We know it wasn't for more


of the evidence given by both sides. Are you saying it is right that Ed


Balls has denied being involved in any of that when his fingerprints


are all over it? I just think you might be putting a bit of a class


and a bit of an interpretation on what sounds like a number of


documents that are minutes of meetings about how Gordon Brown it


is going to go into a leadership contest for the leadership of the


Labour Party. The ambition and the aspiration to lead the Labour Party


and to want to be Labour prime minister and through that office


and through the force of that office to change our country for


the better is an honourable thing to want to do, surely. Did it work


in your mind? Replacing Tony Blair with Gordon Brown? Was it a


success? It is no secret that I was a strong supporter of Tony Blair,


his kind of politics were my kind of politics, I think they are good


politics, they have worked well for my constituency. But he came to his


own decision to step down at the time needed. I remember at the time


that I was sad about this because I thought he was a great prime


minister, but I also worked closely with Gordon Brown, I thought he was


a super prime minister and a superbly doer of our country at a


time when we faced one of our maximum set of dangers in the


recent past. -- Super leader. were disappointed that these


documents have come to light? The implicate the Brownite so,


particularly Ed Balls. Is this a bad thing for the Labour Party or


not? Well, I don't know, autumn and the these other things voters judge.


Voters will look at this kind of thing and think shock, horror,


documents and minutes of meetings from five years ago. For most


people, looking at the problems they have today a looking at the


way the current government is leading an -- leading us in the


wrong direction, most voters will not mind. You don't think it


affects a Ed Balls's credibility? He is a superb Shadow Chancellor.


The message he has set out over how George Osborne is cutting back too


far and too fast, the way he is leading our recovery into the slow


lane, at a time when unemployment is falling much faster... All right.


Are you surprised about the paper trail? The fact that these papers


were left on a desk in Ed Balls's department with political


annotations all over them, setting up a replacement structure? He was


supposed to be the education secretary at the time and this was


what he was spending his time doing and then he left the papers all


over his desk. With respect... would know all about that. I think


we will have to wait and see what Gus O'Donnell. Ed Balls have -- has


said they were found in his department. They were left in the


desk in his office. I just think it may be a little bit early to second


guess where these documents have come from and how they found their


way into the newspapers. Where did they come from? Who leaked them?


The interesting question is the people who benefit from this, the


people who don't want Ed Balls to be leader of the Labour Party,


those who don't like him. That leaves a certain list of candidates.


Do we have any idea who that might be? They will be on the Blairite


wing of the party, maybe recently arrived. Do you agree with that?


Talking to Liam Byrne, who is trying to say these documents are


historical and don't have much impact, that all it showed was a


fairly natural plan to succeed Tony Blair, is that how you see it?


are topical in the sense it is an operation to damage Ed Balls, and


that is clearly what it is about, it is not an attempt to have a


debate about the familiar story of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. That


is the aim of the operation. Reading them and remembering the


context of the time, 2005, 2006, when people knew Tony Blair was


going to go, I think if you reverse this and say imagine if they were


not planning for this, for urging him to go to give them space, given


that we all knew they wanted him to take over, it would be absurd. I am


genuinely not surprised... You are mentioned in one of the documents.


Did you go to one of the meetings? No. This was about the image of


Gordon Brown. It shows how precarious some of that planning


was. I can unequivocally assure you are did not go to the meetings.


Somebody said, I don't know whether you should be pleased or bewildered


or alarmed. Journalistically, on this thing, I think they are quite


interesting in revealing their thinking, the policy differences,


which were quite profound and are still underestimated, and are still


relevant as Ed Miliband tries to lead what is still quite a


fractious, divided party. In that sense they are interesting and


topical, but they are not surprising or shocking. They are


not surprising, but do they not reinforce, James Forsyth, some


people's perceptions of the divisions that existed on


personality and policy? Blairites are bitter about Tony Blair being


bundled out of the door. Gordon Brown, with indecent haste, moved


him on. He was not allowed to go at the time of his own choosing. That


is back. The other thing that is here is that Ed Balls was destroyed


in the Labour leadership campaign and in some ways he was the most


impressive candidate, but he did not get going because of his past


and he will never be able to escape that past. It will come back again


and again. Liam Byrne, do you think it was a mistake for Ed Balls to


have been involved as closely as he was in any project to succeed Tony


Blair on behalf of Gordon Brown? think Ed Balls had worked closely


for many years with Gordon and I don't think it was dishonourable or


surprising... Do you think it is bad for him now? Is this is seen as


something that will discredit him, in the end should he not have


stepped back further and not been so closely associated with what


some people will interpret as a project to get rid of Tony Blair


earlier than he wanted? I don't understand or accept the premise of


that question. Ed Balls is focused on being Shadow Chancellor and


taking the argument on the economy to George Osborne. Most voters will


think that is the right way for him to spend his time. He might never


become leader of the Labour Party. Ed Miliband is the leader of the


Labour Party and under the policy review I am leading for him, we


will put together a platform which will take us back into government


and then Ed Miliband will be the next Labour prime minister. Thank


And the Government's the work programme scheme begins today with


ministers hoping to get 1 million people off benefits and back into


work within the next two years. Chris Grayling was out and about


this morning meeting people on a scheme in West London run by a


private company, and it is mostly private companies that will operate


the scheme. How much they are paid will depend on how many people they


get back into work. There are concerns that the scheme will not


tell people in the poorest parts of the country. Contractors have large


geographical areas in which they can focus their attention. We are


worried that in areas like Wales, where there are places with a


strong economy like Cardiff, and weaker areas like Merthyr Tydfil,


then the contractors will focus their efforts on Cardiff and give


less attention to Merthyr Tydfil. That will be profitable for them


but it will not help the people that are hardest to reach. Chris


Grayling joins us now. How will it work in places where there will


effectively be less jobs, such as outside the South East? I was not


clear whether we would see a difference in those companies...


you will not if they are profit- making. Would we have as many Big


ears in the North of England, for example, and the answer was yes. --


as many bidders. So I am very confident that we will get coverage


everywhere and people will be referred everywhere and will get


into work everywhere. The providers have to take and provide support


for all of the people referred to them, regardless of where they live.


But the success of the scheme, both in terms of the Government and


getting back to work, is the economy growing and those jobs


being created and it is a gamble. The Independent Office for Budget


Responsibility is forecasting an increase in employment over the


next four years of almost 1 million, even after you take into account


the changes in the public sector. I want to make sure that we do not


make the same mistakes that previous Government made, whereby


most of the new jobs created when the economy was going well were


going to migrant workers. Most of the people on benefits in this


country stayed there and I don't want that to happen in the future.


These jobs of the people on benefits. How can you guarantee


those jobs will be spread, if not even the then relatively so across


the country? -- if not evenly. We have seen a significant increase in


the number of private sector jobs and that has been pretty evenly


spread. There has been growth in Scotland, and Wales saw a


significant improvement last month. There will be ups and downs


throughout the recovery but we are trying through the regional growth


fund to target support at the private sector in areas of the


country where there are bigger and employment challenges and whether


private sector is smaller precisely so that we see growth in the


economy and in jobs. The select committee report noted that 88% of


contracts were awarded to private firms. You have made a big deal


about the voluntary sector. They will be a very small proportion.


There are some very serious voluntary sector organisations.


They may be very serious but the number is smaller than you said.


always knew there would be few organisations in the voluntary


sector because they cannot raise capital like the private sector.


But one of the conditions was that they are assembled networks of


organisations, private sector, public sector, voluntary


organisations, small businesses, charities. We have one extreme, the


Prince's Trust, right down to a community walled garden project in


Yorkshire. So there is a lot of people involved in helping people


get back to work. One of the concerns are about the safeguards


preventing vulnerable people being pushed into in appropriate jobs.


You can put people in jobs for a certain amount of time, but then


they lose their jobs, the project stopped, and they are back on the


dole. We think this approach is very new and has not been done


anywhere else in the world. He does not just provide for people to get


into employment, it pays them in instalments. For up to two years


after they get into work, which makes sure that we have on-going


support, mentoring, people watching over their shoulders so that they


do not drop out of work. If you she won somebody in to a wrong job and


they stay for a short time, the providers do not get paid. So how


will the payment structure work? Will the safeguards be guaranteed


by you? We have a group of organisations investing �500


million. Begetters more upfront payment for the first three years


and then that this appears. -- they get the small upfront payment. They


only get payments when people have been put into the right vacancies.


It is a giant Employment Service, matching the right people to the


right jobs. That is how people will get money about this. He sounds


very upbeat, but will it work, Steve? Can I ask a question? Your


projection of the growth in employment vacancies, is that based


on the revised growth figures all the more optimistic ones? That is


the most recent figure that has come out. One thing I would say,


Steve, every day of the week we have thousands of vacancies coming


into JobCentre Plus. 1 million vacancies have passed through


JobCentre Plus in the last three weeks, but there has been a growth


in the long-term unemployed. We are really focusing this programme on


them. They're always job vacancies, but we want to get the long-term


unemployed into these jobs. I think the mechanism is fine and the


principle is a good one. I agree with the implication of the first


question, that growth is central. It is central to what the


Government is trying to do. But the scheme could fail. It looks fine on


paper, but it won't work, unless there is growth. And growth in


every part of the UK. From the point of view of the taxpayer, we


are only paying by results, when people are back into work. It is


the belief that they can sort out the problem of long-term


unemployment. If they cannot, they are the ones that lose out. You're


talking about paying by results. The risk is pushed on to the


private sector. What other areas of policy which you apply this model


to? This is a real watershed for the way that Government words. We


can look at this again, for example drug addiction, the Rehabilitation


of offenders, working with problem families to overcome the hurdles


that they face. There are obvious areas where the Government can do


much more. I hope that having got the work programme up and running


we can provide a precedent that changes the way the Government


works in many areas. Why do you think that the private providers


will be better than state providers in this case? The Government has


often tried to design programs itself, the New Deal was designed


in Whitehall, 13 weeks in a classroom. We are saying that we


don't know best. You are the professionals. You design what


works, you develop specialist support, and we will pay you went


you are successful and we will trust you to do the right thing. If


you don't, you are the ones losing money. At focuses the industry on


providing real best practice. They will chase what is most successful.


Thank you. Time to catch up the big political


stories of the last few days. The Judgment from a higher place this


week as the Archbishop of Canterbury slammed David Cameron's


big society as painfully stale. David Cameron hopes that is new and


improved plans for the NHS will calm down the critics. He has


announced significant changes. will ensure that the competition


benefits patients. Is that a U-turn or the sound of the screeching


tyres from the Justice Secretary? Ken Clarke has backed down on


controversial plans to halve the sentence for rapists if they admit


their guilt early on. The PM insisted there is plenty of fuel in


the tank of Ken Clarke. A new Mini purred down Downing Street as BMW


announced �500 million in UK car production. If you are looking for


a new vehicle, it might be better than a Volvo. The description of


Gordon Brown's image as papers reveal his plan to unseat Tony


Blair. But two had their hands on the steering wheel of that


manoeuvre? -- who? We have already discussed that. You


cannot trust anyone these days. There have been a spate of thefts


in Parliament, not just from Ed Balls's desk. Keith Vaz, himself


the victim, received a written response from John Thurso, listing


some of the items that have been stolen. They include laptops,


mobile phones and iPad. But also some unusual items, including a set


of golf clubs, a candlestick, an orchid and the cable drum. This


sounds like Cluedo. Keith Vaz joins us now. Are you surprised? I am


astonished by the number of deaths that we have had in the last few


years, but particularly by the number of thefts we have had since


January this year, 25 laptops having been stolen. And the number


that was stolen in May of this year, the month of very high security


because the President of the United States was visiting the House of


Commons. This is a large number of thefts and very few people have


been arrested the according to the information that I received in my


parliamentary question. Nobody has been prosecuted this year. What


prompted this was the fact that my research assistant's laptop and my


iPad were taken from my office. I asked whether it happened to anyone


else and part of the problem is people did not know to reported.


You wonder if it is going on and people are not reporting it.


this was a street in my constituency, such as the one I


have just visited, I would be saying that this was a very serious


crime area. I would be calling a residents' meeting demanding CCTV


cameras. And I would probably set up the Neighbourhood Watch. I have


not ruled out doing this. Are you saying that crime is worth in the


Houses of Parliament and in your constituency? -- worse. It may well


be! 25 laptops stolen in six months, it probably is. Our people nervous?


We are all very shocked. People have been cleared for security. It


is a big process. Your form is very long, you know how long it is. It


takes a while to be security cleared and you have to be a


certain type of person to get the pass to get in. We have also had a


reduction in the number of House of Commons staff. In the building that


I am in, of Scotland Yard ironically enough, they used to be


someone at reception, and that person has been removed. We have


had increased patrols in Norman Shaw North. But the week that there


is a new national crime agency announced, in Parliament itself we


have a major crime problem. cannot blame that! Are you saying


they should be more protection for property in the Houses of


Parliament? There ought to be much more rigorous and robust


surveillance of what is going on. I think it is a good idea to have


CCTV as you enter. We would like to see somebody prosecuted. So many


laptops, so many pieces of equipment in six months. We need


our best detectives on this. I know that Mr Yates is busy doing other


things. Rather than coming in and arresting MPs as they have done in


the past, they should spend their time looking for these criminals.


Is that to good use of resources? A bottle of whisky has gone, a set of


chairs, a pair of shoes. They have probably just been mislaid. It is


an eclectic collection of stuff that has gone missing. It is


bizarre. You can only get into the House of Commons by swiping your


pass. Everybody in their house that pass. As Keith Vaz said, they have


been security cleared. It is odd that they cannot find the culprits


when their past he's on the doors and you know who is in the building


at what time. It is like a mysterious crime thriller, or


comedy perhaps. I do not know what it signified. Something incidental,


or something significant. I am baffled by it. I always lose my


security pass and find it hard to get anywhere they think the


security is very tight. I am amazed that this is going on without any


resolution, frankly. The security is tight. Do you think some of this


stuff has just been mislaid by busy MPs and their staff? I don't think


so. Busy MPs do mislay things but it is difficult in his late 25


laptop computers in six months. grasped that. -- difficult to


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