10/06/2011 Daily Politics


10/06/2011

Jo Coburn has the top political stories of the day. She is joined by James Forsyth and Steve Richards.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday.

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

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evidence - the project to replace Tony with Gordon.

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

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

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

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

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:00:53.:00:54.

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

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James Forsyth, and chief political commentator of The Independent,

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

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

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

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

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

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dossier of memos, apparently belonging to the current Shadow

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Chancellor Ed Balls, detailing the moves against Tony Blair amongst

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

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

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appears to set out the structure for a Gordon Brown leadership

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challenge to Tony Blair. It mentions a "GB transition

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

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

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Alexander. Another strategy document for the campaign, heavily

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

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

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

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

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Other memos exchanged between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown illustrate

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

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discussing a possible transition deal, Mr Brown scribbled the words

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

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

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premiership. Do you regret these years of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the Labour leadership election. Joining us from Birmingham is Liam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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people talking about how Gordon would face up to a leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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people behind any particular camp to start thinking about how their

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guide is going to confront the leadership contest that could

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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documents that are minutes of meetings about how Gordon Brown it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gordon Brown. It shows how precarious some of that planning

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

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

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

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interesting in revealing their thinking, the policy differences,

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

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

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

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

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

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people's perceptions of the divisions that existed on

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personality and policy? Blairites are bitter about Tony Blair being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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stepped back further and not been so closely associated with what

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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then the contractors will focus their efforts on Cardiff and give

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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everywhere and people will be referred everywhere and will get

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

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

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

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

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

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Responsibility is forecasting an increase in employment over the

:16:32.:16:36.

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

:16:36.:16:40.

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

:16:40.:16:44.

make the same mistakes that previous Government made, whereby

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

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

:16:53.:16:56.

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

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

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

:17:04.:17:10.

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

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

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

:17:16.:17:20.

significant improvement last month. There will be ups and downs

:17:20.:17:23.

throughout the recovery but we are trying through the regional growth

:17:23.:17:27.

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

:17:27.:17:29.

country where there are bigger and employment challenges and whether

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

:17:34.:17:38.

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

:17:38.:17:43.

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

:17:43.:17:50.

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

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There are some very serious voluntary sector organisations.

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

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always knew there would be few organisations in the voluntary

:18:01.:18:07.

sector because they cannot raise capital like the private sector.

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

:18:11.:18:15.

organisations, private sector, public sector, voluntary

:18:15.:18:22.

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

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

:18:26.:18:30.

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

:18:30.:18:34.

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

:18:34.:18:38.

preventing vulnerable people being pushed into in appropriate jobs.

:18:38.:18:41.

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

:18:41.:18:46.

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

:18:46.:18:51.

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

:18:51.:18:55.

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

:18:55.:19:00.

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

:19:00.:19:04.

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

:19:04.:19:07.

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

:19:07.:19:12.

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

:19:12.:19:18.

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

:19:19.:19:22.

will the payment structure work? Will the safeguards be guaranteed

:19:22.:19:30.

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

:19:30.:19:34.

million. Begetters more upfront payment for the first three years

:19:34.:19:39.

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

:19:39.:19:44.

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

:19:44.:19:49.

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

:19:49.:19:53.

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

:19:53.:20:01.

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

:20:01.:20:05.

projection of the growth in employment vacancies, is that based

:20:05.:20:09.

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

:20:09.:20:13.

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

:20:13.:20:17.

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

:20:17.:20:20.

into JobCentre Plus. 1 million vacancies have passed through

:20:20.:20:24.

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

:20:24.:20:28.

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

:20:28.:20:33.

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

:20:33.:20:37.

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

:20:37.:20:40.

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

:20:40.:20:47.

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

:20:47.:20:52.

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

:20:52.:20:58.

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

:20:58.:21:03.

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

:21:03.:21:10.

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

:21:10.:21:13.

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

:21:13.:21:20.

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

:21:20.:21:24.

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

:21:24.:21:30.

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

:21:30.:21:34.

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

:21:34.:21:38.

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

:21:38.:21:42.

of offenders, working with problem families to overcome the hurdles

:21:42.:21:45.

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

:21:45.:21:49.

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

:21:49.:21:52.

we can provide a precedent that changes the way the Government

:21:52.:21:57.

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

:21:57.:22:01.

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

:22:01.:22:07.

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

:22:07.:22:10.

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

:22:10.:22:14.

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

:22:14.:22:22.

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

:22:22.:22:25.

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

:22:25.:22:32.

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

:22:32.:22:36.

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

:22:36.:22:40.

Thank you. Time to catch up the big political

:22:40.:22:49.

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

:22:49.:22:53.

week as the Archbishop of Canterbury slammed David Cameron's

:22:53.:22:57.

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

:22:57.:23:05.

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

:23:05.:23:09.

announced significant changes. will ensure that the competition

:23:09.:23:14.

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

:23:14.:23:17.

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

:23:17.:23:21.

controversial plans to halve the sentence for rapists if they admit

:23:21.:23:25.

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

:23:25.:23:34.

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

:23:34.:23:37.

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

:23:37.:23:41.

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

:23:41.:23:46.

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

:23:46.:23:53.

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

:23:53.:23:57.

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

:23:57.:24:01.

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

:24:01.:24:05.

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

:24:05.:24:10.

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

:24:10.:24:14.

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

:24:14.:24:19.

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

:24:19.:24:24.

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

:24:24.:24:30.

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

:24:30.:24:34.

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

:24:34.:24:41.

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

:24:41.:24:46.

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

:24:46.:24:51.

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

:24:51.:24:54.

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

:24:54.:24:59.

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

:24:59.:25:04.

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

:25:04.:25:08.

parliamentary question. Nobody has been prosecuted this year. What

:25:08.:25:13.

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

:25:13.:25:17.

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

:25:17.:25:20.

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

:25:20.:25:25.

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

:25:26.:25:28.

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

:25:28.:25:33.

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

:25:33.:25:37.

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

:25:37.:25:42.

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

:25:42.:25:47.

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

:25:47.:25:52.

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

:25:52.:25:59.

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

:25:59.:26:04.

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

:26:04.:26:09.

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

:26:09.:26:12.

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

:26:12.:26:17.

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

:26:17.:26:20.

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

:26:20.:26:25.

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

:26:25.:26:31.

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

:26:31.:26:39.

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

:26:39.:26:43.

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

:26:43.:26:50.

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

:26:50.:26:53.

they should be more protection for property in the Houses of

:26:53.:26:59.

Parliament? There ought to be much more rigorous and robust

:26:59.:27:02.

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

:27:02.:27:08.

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

:27:08.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:17.

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

:27:17.:27:21.

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

:27:21.:27:24.

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

:27:24.:27:30.

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

:27:30.:27:36.

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

:27:36.:27:39.

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

:27:40.:27:43.

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

:27:43.:27:49.

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

:27:49.:27:53.

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

:27:53.:27:59.

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

:27:59.:28:05.

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

:28:05.:28:11.

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

:28:11.:28:15.

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

:28:15.:28:19.

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

:28:19.:28:23.

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

:28:23.:28:28.

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

:28:28.:28:33.

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

:28:33.:28:38.

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

:28:38.:28:44.

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

:28:44.:28:49.

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