29/06/2011 Daily Politics


29/06/2011

Andrew Neil and Anita Anand present live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions and the top political stories of the day. Guests include Hilary Benn and Nick Herbert.


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Good morning, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. We have had the

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rethink on sentencing, but his Ken Clarke's Bill still too soft on

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criminals and too hard on those wanting justice? Protests on the

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streets of Athens as Greek MPs prepare to vote on the austerity

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package. Are we will bring you the latest, live. The Argentines had

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been ramping up the rhetoric of what they call Las Malvinas. We

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will be asking a Falklands MP how worried he is. And Blur drummer

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David Rowntree is going to be telling us why the Government's

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housing changes could do more harm than good. A government argues they

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can move into shared properties, but there are not properties

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available. For vulnerable people to move into shared accommodation with

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All of that coming up in the next hour and a half. And, of course,

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Prime Ministers questions. For the duration we have a top team. For

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the Conservatives we have police and Justice Minister Nick Herbert.

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From Labour, the Shadow Leader of the House, Hilary Benn. Welcome to

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you both. There seems little prospect that

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tomorrow's strikes by public sector workers can be averted. Just as

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well that Tory MP didn't take that better, otherwise he would be out.

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Teachers in England and Wales and civil servants across the UK are

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due to walk out in a dispute over pensions. Among them, in Grecians

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and customs staff, the ones that allowed him the Islamic extremist

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who was banned from this country. UK Border Agency has advised

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travellers not to fly tomorrow. The Labour leader has spoken out

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against the action, calling on both sides to continue to negotiate as

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opposition leaders usually do we aim these circumstances. Will you

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be crossing a picket line tomorrow? I shall be at work. I think while

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negotiations are continuing, the strikes are a mistake. But the

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Government has handled this really badly. For tell him how. Pensions

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are really important to a lot of people. You've got to negotiate.

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It's no good pre-empting Lord Hutton's report. It's absolutely

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not clear in relation to teachers' pensions whether what you are sick

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-- seeking to do is about deficit- reduction or an issue with the

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affordability of the scheme. Ministers have repeatedly refused

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to answer the question. Maybe you would like a shot at answering a?

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think he is trying to have it both ways. We are certainly not pre-

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empting Lord Hutton's report. That is why we asked John Hutton to do

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this work, to look at the affordability of pensions. Of

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course people are living longer, that a good thing. But as a

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consequence, the cost of public sector pensions has risen

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substantially. It has increased by a third in the last 10 years to

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well over a �30 billion. We've got to strike a fair balance between

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the taxpayer and those that are benefiting from schemes. That's why

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we are saying that we think across the board, in terms of public

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sector pensions, it is important that we achieve that rebalancing.

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But the talks continue and that is important. Maybe what Hilary Benn

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has in mind, neither Frances Maude on the Today Programme or Justine

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Greening was able to answer it this morning. The Hutton Report shows

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the cost of public sector pensions as a percentage of GDP going all

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the way into the future, it actually falls. It falls from now

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until the end of the graph. So, why cannot be unaffordable if it is

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falling as a share of national resources? Because people are

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living longer. But that is factored into the equation. They are living

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longer and the cost has already risen by a third over the last 10

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years. You have already seen a situation where there is an

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existing imbalance over what the taxpayer is paying him and what

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people are paying themselves. That has widened considerably. But it

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falls by a third again, just so that there is no confusion, it

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falls from just shy of 2% of GDP, down to 1.4%. That's about a third.

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But Lord Hutton looked at the figures and said there was an

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unfairness that needs to be dealt with. I'm sorry to push she won

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this, it's quite important. People are going on strike tomorrow. --

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I'm sorry to push you on this. It shows there is a substantial fall,

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and there may be other reasons for reforming pensions, even Labour has

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said there should be some changes, but on the issue of affordability,

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if it is falling substantially as a percentage of GDP, from now until

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about 2030, why have you got to do as much as you do? Well, Lord

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Patten was clear that we had to. That graph is from the Hutton

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Report. You can't partially quoted him, he also said there was a need

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to take action. We already have this imbalance. Three-quarters of

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the workers are not in the public sector. Their taxes have been

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funding the increase in payments that needs to be made because

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people are living longer. The tax payer has picked up a bigger share

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of the burden. It simply to ensure that we have fairness going forward

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across the board. It's also a question of making sure that we

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continue to have really good public sector pensions which will be

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better than those you get in the private sector, that will still be

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a defined benefit. That's why it's important that the unions continue

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to sit down and discuss this. I thought there was a general

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agreement that it needs reform. got around my question by saying

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that you were going to work, but the common security guards are

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probably going to go on strike. As you go to the Commons tomorrow,

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will you cross the picket line? will be standing in the House of

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Commons at 11:30am tomorrow, asking George Young... So you will? The

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Labour leader in Wales, the First Minister Carwyn Jones, he has asked

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Cabinet ministers in Wales not to cross picket lines. He does go on

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to say that ministers will continue their work across Wales. I don't

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know how you square that? Well, it's for each individual to take

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their own decision. In relation to the strikes taking place tomorrow,

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we have been very clear. While negotiations are continuing,

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because it is the only way this will be resolved, striking is not

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the right thing to do. Now, the snappily named legal aid sentencing

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and punishment of offenders Bill for England and Wales will be

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debated by MPs this afternoon. It was the scene of a serious road

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traffic offence last week, Wensum accused the Justice Secretary of

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performing a skidding U-turn. Anyway, the manoeuvre as they did

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some, but not all critics. -- placated some.

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Ken Clarke has done all of the big jobs in government, but he's never

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faced such a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, he is under orders

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to reduce the amount of cash we spend on banging people up. But he

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also has to reduce the number of prisoners, court costs and

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reoffending. The initial plan to allow prisoners to serve half their

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sentence if they plead guilty nearly caused a riot on

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Conservative backbenchers. It led to a hasty rethink of the situation.

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Then it was announced that house holders would have new rights to

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defend themselves against intruders. Despite all of that, some of Ken

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Clarke's right-wing critics are still unsatisfied, concerned that

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he still wants to scrap indeterminate sentences, hold fewer

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defendants on remand arm send fewer of those convicted to prison.

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Britain's solicitors are also uneasy. They are concerned about

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his other cash saving initiative, cutting �350 million from the legal

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aid bill, including most civil cases, things like medical

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negligence. Here is Desmond's -- Desmond had some of the Law Society.

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It will reduce social cohesion, it will make our society a much less

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fair place to live. It will close off access to justice for many

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hundreds of thousands of citizens. The Law Society has put forward a

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package of cuts worth more than Ken Clarke is looking for, yet he will

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not engage widows to debate the wisdom, merits or otherwise of

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those cuts. By the merest coincidence we have the Justice

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Minister here to talk about such matters. A triumph for our planning

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department. The first they have had this year! Ken Clarke says it is OK

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to hit a burglar with a poker and that the all lady can stab and 18

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year-old. -- an old lady. Can I? Why cannot the old lady do it?

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old lady cannot stand and 18 year old unless there is reasonable

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cause. If she wakes up in the middle of the night and there is a

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burglar in her house, there is a knife by the bed, she stabs him.

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That is OK now? What we have always said is if a burglar comes into

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your house, they cross a line. Across a physical line, but in the

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view of most of the British people, they cross another line as well. We

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think it is right that people, when they seek to defend themselves,

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should know that the law is on their side. That they can use force

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to protect themselves will stop in these circumstances, an old lady

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can stack and 18 year-old? I'm not sure what circumstances you are

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saying. -- Stan at an 18 year-old. The law should be on her side if

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she is trying to defend herself. If it is the person whose home was

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invaded, when the they were arrested and dealt with idyllic in

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credit -- an appropriate manner, we want to send a clear message that

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we expect that the law should be on the side of the law-abiding.

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these circumstances, can Anita do it? Do what? Stab and 18 year-old

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that breaks into her home. You just ask it in that fashion. Excuse me,

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Minister. The Justice Secretary is the one that has given the examples.

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He's the one that said it's OK to hit a burglar with a poker and for

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an old lady to stab at 18 year-old. I defer to the Justice Secretary in

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all things. The law should be on your side, you should be allowed to

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use force in protecting yourself should somebody coming to your

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property and put you in fear of... You should leave it at that?

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intend to clarify that, to make sure, beyond doubt, that the legal

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position is backing what reasonable people want to see. Can I suggest

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that you should leave it at that broad definition, and not going to

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old ladies stabbing 18 year-olds all whacking burglars with pokers?

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There will be debate as we introduce the measures. There is a

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strong view in the country that we need to address the balance. I

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think that the people want to see a clarification. That is what we are

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seeking to give. Let's move on to another issue with strong views, is

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is still the Government intention to cut the prison population

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question not no. The Prime Minister was clear. When he gave his speech

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and we launched a consultation, the response to the consultation, we

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said that it was not the ambition to cut their prison population. We

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need to stabilise at. Ken Clarke has said there are too many people

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in prison? You can make this point, the rates of reoffending not so

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high that if you go into prison, an adult offender leaves after a year,

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half of them are likely to reoffend. It's breaking that cycle. Half of

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all crime is committed by people that have already been through the

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criminal justice system. That a problem with what happens after you

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have been to prison. I don't understand how Ken Clarke can save

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them are too many people in prison in this country and it is not your

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intention to cut that? We want to stabilise it. By definition, that

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would still leave too many. If there is too many, you are going to

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stabilise it, you will leave too many. The prison population is who

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the court sent to prison. The important thing is that we deal

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with the cycle of reoffending. We are putting people in prison, they

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are not being properly rehabilitated, they are reoffending.

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Reoffending rates, in some areas, where rising under the previous

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government because the prisons were so full. But you're not going to

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cut that? We are looking at purposeful regimes of work in

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prison, that a drugs treatment to get people off drugs in prison. We

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are looking at a radical system of payment by results. So we pay

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people to get prisoners going straight, rather than just walking

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out of prison and reoffending. All of these things are the right way

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to reduce the prison population and make the population say they are.

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Ed Miliband said he was not going to criticise Ken Clarke for being

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soft on crime when the Tory backbenchers were. Then he said he

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should be sacked for his comment about rape sentences. What is

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Labour policy? I think we had just heard it from Nick, about the

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complete state of confusion that is the Government policy on Criminal

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Justice. Can we get to your confusion? No, there is no

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confusion on our part. On the question of reasonable force to

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defend our homes, the law has been very clear for a long time. It

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seems to me that what Ken Clarke has said this morning has just

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created confusion. As your question demonstrated, is the Government's

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aim today that it is going to change the existing law? Or was Ken

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Clarke just trying to restate the law? It would be helpful to have an

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answer. Let's ask the minister. do think Darryl areas where the law

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itself may need changing. There have been these attempts in the

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past to give greater clarity. We don't think there has been public

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confidence that the law is on their side. I think the public do wish to

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see a change. So the law will be changed? What is Labour's position

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on sentencing? Did you agree with Ken Clarke's original changes?

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the 50% reduction, no, we didn't. The Prime Minister forced him to

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abandon those. But they were fundamentally about trying to save

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money. We don't agree with the changes to demand. We think it

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should be left to the courts to decide whether someone should be

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Do you think in retrospect that the previous government put too many

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people in jail? No, the courts decide who should go into prison.

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We made a number of changes including more community penalties.

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I do believe, as a former prisons minister, if you can improve public

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confidence in community penalties, we do need to tackle the problems

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of reoffending. I think when people see people out on community

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sentences, doing work in the community, that helps to build the

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confidence. The fundamental truth about our record in government is a

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crime felled by 43 % after years and years of people saying you can

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do nothing about crime. That is a very solid record of achievement.

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The worry now is the government is put in its deficit reduction

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against protection of the public. We are already seeing signs that

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the crime rate in London is rising. I think they are in a state of

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utter confusion and I think they have made a mistake in proposing

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originally the 50 % reduction and I think they made a mistake on remand

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sentencing and the changing public perception. People will not forget

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the fact that Labour mismanaged the prisons in failing to provide

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enough capacity and you are forced to release 80,000 prisoners early.

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18 days early. People went on to commit serious offences during that

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time, including the murder. We have got to get some sense back into the

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system, the community penalties you talk about have not been rigorous

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enough and that is one of the reasons why there is a drift of

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people into prison sentences. We have got to reform the system and

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do so in a sensible there -- a sensible way which focuses on

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reoffending. We have to leave there. Thank you.

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There has been some pretty fiery rhetoric coming from the

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Argentinians in recent weeks about the status of what they call Las

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Malvinas and we call the Falklands. Argentina has always claimed the

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islands but this flare-up in the dispute has been -- has prompted

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David Cameron to reiterate the British position that the islands'

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sovereignty is non-negotiable. Here is the Argentine President last

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week. TRANSLATION: Just in the last few hours, the Prime Minister of

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the United Kingdom, in what has been defined by the Argentine

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foreign ministry, as an arrogant gesture, and what I define as an

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expression of mediocrity and almost stupidity, he used the words. To

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refer to our islands as if you can put an end to our history. I want

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to tell you in the name of all Argentines that the Argentine

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people do not believe in. When it comes to the sovereignty of our

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islands. We are going to get them back through international rights

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and three peas. They should have no doubt. So, have no doubt, we are

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going to get them back. With us now is Dick Sawle who has something to

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say about this, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the

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Falkland Islands. It is pretty fiery at the moment, are you

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sleeping comfortably in your beds at night? I think we all sleep

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comfortably knowing we have a strong defence in the Falkland

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Islands and I do not think there is a likelihood of any military action.

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What we saw on the screen just now is the rhetoric we get from

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Argentina on a very constant basis. It is coupled with some high brass

:19:28.:19:33.

concerns in the military as well. I will quote you something that

:19:33.:19:39.

Admiral -- Admiral Sandy Woodward said, without American support the

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Falklands, the reclaiming of which cost 253 brave British lives, are

:19:44.:19:51.

close to being indefensible. He thinks there is little that can

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be done. I do not know, really, but I doubt that Argentina is that

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capable of mounting any military action against the Falklands. We

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have four typhoons, a type 44 destroyer, a minesweeper and forces

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on the ground. We are a lot better defended now that we wearing 1982

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and I think that defence is pretty secure. So the man who knows the

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lie of the land, Admiral Sandy Woodward is wrong? No, he is

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talking from a different perspective. I'm talking of someone

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who lives -- I am talking of someone who lives on the islands.

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Was he talking about the loss of aircraft carriers? A few others

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have been relating it to cuts which have been proposed by the

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government. So, you're not worried about military action but are you

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worried about diplomatic actions. I know you were in New York recently.

:20:49.:20:53.

It does seem like the international tide of opinion may be turning on

:20:53.:20:57.

the future of your islands. I think it is the opposite. I think the

:20:57.:21:02.

tide is turning in our favour. We are going out into the

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international forum, we are speaking more vocally about our own

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position and our wishes which are the most important thing. The thing

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is, America has been a good ally in these things. On 7th June in New

:21:15.:21:20.

York, they signed a declaration calling on the UK and Argentina to

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begin negotiations about the sovereignty of the Falklands. It

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does not sound like a done deal. That message from the United States

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has not changed since about 1940. It is the same message they have

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been putting out for many years. Let's bring Hillary Benn in on this.

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Do you think there is reason to be concerned? The first responsibility

:21:44.:21:48.

of the government is to make sure the Falkland Islands are properly

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protected. We saw what happened when they were not, when a

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dictatorship launched the invasion all those years ago. The government

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has got that responsibility and they must exercise it because they

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are very clear that as long as the Falkland Islanders wished to remain

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British, and they do, we will defend them in that right. When you

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have military top brass saying it could the indefensible, do you also

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wish they would allow you to do the talking and they just did the

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fighting? I understand that there is comment about this which is

:22:23.:22:27.

related to wider defence issues but I agree with Hillary, our duty is

:22:27.:22:32.

to ensure the Falkland islands can be defended. We need to make clear

:22:32.:22:38.

that the sovereignty of the islands is not negotiable and have a clear,

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firm, consistent government approach to that and make it clear

:22:42.:22:50.

to all on the international stage, including Argentina, and then to

:22:50.:22:54.

make clear that we want to engage with Argentina on other issues. I

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think that clarity of purpose is also important. For David Cameron

:22:58.:23:02.

has been clear that the Americans, you say it is a position they have

:23:02.:23:08.

held for some time, in view of the fact there was an invasion, their -

:23:08.:23:13.

- they could be clearer? I cannot speak for the Americans but I can

:23:13.:23:21.

speak for our government. We have sought to give our firm position

:23:21.:23:27.

which is the sovereignty of the islands is not up for discussion.

:23:27.:23:35.

Again, the entire country is assigned -- behind us. I used

:23:35.:23:39.

slightly irked that the country, with which you have stood so

:23:39.:23:43.

ardently shoulder to shoulder in international adventures, is taking

:23:43.:23:47.

this line that it is open to negotiation? I think probably we

:23:47.:23:52.

ought to remember that there was a great deal of help, as we know, in

:23:52.:23:56.

retrospect, given by the United States when we sought to reclaim

:23:56.:24:00.

the Falkland Islands so I would not want to characterise my response in

:24:00.:24:05.

that way. I also visited Washington and met quite a few politicians

:24:05.:24:10.

there and to a man, they were extremely supportive. Thank you for

:24:10.:24:14.

coming to see us. Why we have been talking about the

:24:14.:24:19.

Falklands, there have been more clashes outside the parliament in

:24:19.:24:23.

Athens where the austerity Bill is being debated. If it is not going

:24:23.:24:30.

to work outside, we can also report according to the AP wires out of

:24:30.:24:34.

Athens that a Conservative deputy with the opposition has said she

:24:34.:24:40.

will break with her party and back the crucial austerity measures.

:24:40.:24:47.

That gives it a better chance of getting through. It is very close

:24:47.:24:52.

up the moment with 300 deputies in the Athens parliament. No doubt,

:24:52.:24:57.

the new leader of the IMF will be watching that. A very impressive

:24:57.:25:01.

French finance minister. She used to be a synchronised swimmer.

:25:01.:25:08.

not know that, and drew! Public service broadcasting tells you what

:25:08.:25:12.

you need to know. Fierce battle is also receiving this afternoon for

:25:12.:25:17.

the most sought-after of prizes. It is a gladiatorial contest of wills.

:25:17.:25:24.

We are hoping for a British champion, perhaps that Scottish

:25:24.:25:29.

track. Quiet please, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to halt the

:25:29.:25:34.

Daily Politics mark aloft. Keep your eye on the ball. Come on,

:25:34.:25:44.
:25:44.:26:12.

Andy! I meant you! Let's see if you Flyovers ensure that no traffic

:26:12.:26:22.
:26:22.:26:37.

Fine weather was ideal for this jamboree. It was like watching a

:26:37.:26:47.
:26:47.:27:06.

Now, you are showing off if you tried to identify the pianist. He

:27:07.:27:10.

is a clever boy. To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics

:27:10.:27:15.

mug, send your answer to our e-mail address, [email protected] Full

:27:15.:27:21.

terms and conditions are on our website, bbc.co.uk/dailypolitics.

:27:21.:27:26.

Now it is coming up to midday here. We can take a look at Big Ben.

:27:26.:27:30.

Prime Minister's Questions is on its way. There is also a chap in

:27:30.:27:36.

the studio I do not quite recognise. I just thought I would pop in! I am

:27:36.:27:43.

making a documentary, Andrew. did not send flowers. Flowers, did

:27:43.:27:51.

they not come? I am making a documentary about tax spend on BBC2.

:27:51.:27:56.

I am surprised he is talking to us! Interesting for Ed Miliband today,

:27:56.:28:03.

will he go on strike do you think? I do not think he will go on giving

:28:03.:28:07.

up all his six questions on it, but he does know if he does not mention

:28:07.:28:11.

them he will be held up by the backbenchers and the Prime Minister.

:28:11.:28:16.

My guess is he will find a way to say, I am not in favour of these

:28:16.:28:21.

strikes, but I blame the government for cocking up the negotiations.

:28:21.:28:26.

Then he will want to move on. He is in a desperately uncomfortable

:28:26.:28:30.

position. If he did not say what he said, he would be accused by the

:28:30.:28:34.

Tory media and the Tory party of being a friend of the unions and he

:28:34.:28:38.

only got his job because of the unions. If he does say what he says,

:28:38.:28:43.

he risks upsetting the unions. is always difficult, those of us

:28:43.:28:47.

who remember Neil Kinnock's position, it is always difficult

:28:47.:28:51.

for a leader of a Labour opposition to position themselves when it

:28:51.:28:56.

comes to major national strikes. Extraordinarily difficult. You're

:28:56.:29:00.

talking about the miners' strike. It was agony for a Neil Kinnock.

:29:00.:29:05.

They used to be a game if you wanted to tell who was really new

:29:05.:29:09.

Labour, the people who was a Blairite, the people who said in

:29:09.:29:13.

private we took the wrong side on the miners' dispute. We are nowhere

:29:14.:29:19.

near that sort of dilemma. It is relatively easy for Ed Miliband to

:29:19.:29:23.

stand with parents and say, this is difficult for you, but it could get

:29:23.:29:26.

difficult. The thing that people always have to remember is the

:29:26.:29:30.

Labour Party was founded by the unions, it is not just some had

:29:30.:29:35.

drunk, that is how they were founded. It is a profound question

:29:35.:29:42.

on how they take that position. They will want Ed Miliband and his

:29:42.:29:48.

advisers to say, just get on and negotiate. What other Low Hanging

:29:48.:29:53.

fruit would there be for the Labour leader if he did not use all his

:29:53.:29:57.

questions which are busy and he will not do it all on strikes?

:29:57.:30:02.

front page of the Times today suggested that burglary rates have

:30:02.:30:06.

gone up, but the head of the Metropolitan Police in London, that

:30:06.:30:10.

Ken Clarke the Justice Secretary has said this and the temptation to

:30:10.:30:14.

say crime going up while police budgets squeezed, pretty tempting I

:30:14.:30:19.

would have thought, at a time when the Labour Party wants to increase

:30:19.:30:23.

the discomfort of Ken Clarke on this whole issue of law and order

:30:23.:30:26.

that you are talking about, without necessarily having an argument

:30:26.:30:30.

about sentencing. The difficulty with having that argument is some

:30:30.:30:34.

people would say, I seem to remember you in the leadership

:30:34.:30:38.

contest saying you would back the government when they took a more

:30:38.:30:42.

liberal approach to sentencing. If you want to continue encouraging

:30:43.:30:47.

Tory backbenchers to cause trouble, police and crime. Let's go to the

:30:47.:30:57.
:30:57.:31:01.

By two, Mr Speaker. What does my right honourable Friend say to the

:31:01.:31:05.

teachers at my constituency first school, who are putting the welfare

:31:05.:31:10.

of parents and children first by not striking to borrow? I would

:31:10.:31:13.

congratulate them for doing the right thing and keeping the school

:31:13.:31:17.

open. I don't think there is any case for industrial action tomorrow,

:31:17.:31:23.

not least because talks are still ongoing. It is only a minority of

:31:23.:31:26.

unions that have taken the decision to go ahead on strike. What I want

:31:26.:31:30.

to see tomorrow is as many mums and dads as possible able to take their

:31:30.:31:34.

children to school. What I would say is this. What we are proposing

:31:34.:31:39.

is fair. It is fair to taxpayers, but it is also fair to the public

:31:39.:31:43.

sector. Because we want to continue strong public sector pensions. Ed

:31:43.:31:53.
:31:53.:31:54.

There are currently 163 statutory organisations within the National

:31:54.:31:57.

Health Service. Can the Prime Minister tell us how many there

:31:57.:32:01.

will be after his top-down reorganisation? All I can tell the

:32:01.:32:07.

Honourable Gentleman... What I can tell the Honourable Gentleman is

:32:07.:32:12.

that the health reforms that now have the support of the Health

:32:12.:32:16.

Minister will see a reduction in bureaucracy because we are getting

:32:16.:32:19.

rid of Strategic Health Authorities and we are getting rid of primary

:32:19.:32:24.

care trusts. Let me give him the answer to the question. The number

:32:24.:32:34.
:32:34.:32:35.

is going to go up from 163 to 521. Pathfinder consortium, health or

:32:35.:32:39.

well-being boards, shadow commissioning groups, a authorised

:32:39.:32:46.

commissioning groups, national commissioning boards, PCT clusters,

:32:46.:32:50.

clinical networks and clinical senates. Mr Speaker, is this what

:32:50.:32:56.

he meant by a bonfire of quangos? If he looks at the figures of

:32:56.:33:03.

savings he will see where savings come from, �5 billion savings

:33:03.:33:07.

through the reduction of bureaucracy. What we inherited was

:33:07.:33:10.

a situation where the number of managers was going up four times as

:33:10.:33:14.

fast as the number of nurses. What has happened since we took over,

:33:14.:33:18.

the number of doctors has gone up, the number of bureaucrats has gone

:33:18.:33:24.

down. I'll tell him about our record on the NHS. More doctors and

:33:24.:33:30.

nurses than ever before. The shortest waiting lists ever. The

:33:30.:33:36.

highest patient satisfaction ever. Now, he says that it is going to

:33:36.:33:40.

save money. But he's refused to publish the figures accompanying

:33:40.:33:43.

the new amendments to the hospital of how much he's going to spend.

:33:43.:33:47.

Maybe he can tell me this. These figures are available. How much is

:33:47.:33:53.

he going to be spending on making NHS staff redundant? Let me give

:33:53.:33:56.

him the figures on the costs and benefits of reducing the

:33:56.:34:01.

bureaucracy. This is the question he asked. This is the answer he

:34:01.:34:06.

will get. Changes will have a one- off cost of �1.4 billion over the

:34:06.:34:11.

next two years. But over �5 billion will be saved in total during this

:34:11.:34:17.

Parliament. Over a ten-year period there will be net savings of �12.3

:34:17.:34:22.

billion. Add to that the fact that we are putting �11.5 billion extra

:34:22.:34:28.

into the NHS and he fought the last election pledging to cut debt.

:34:28.:34:32.

didn't answer the specific question asked. How much is he spending on

:34:32.:34:39.

making NHS staff redundant? The answer is �852 million. That is

:34:39.:34:44.

being spent on making NHS staff redundant. Now, can he guaranteed

:34:44.:34:49.

his house that none of those staff will be rehired to do their old

:34:49.:34:59.
:34:59.:34:59.

jobs at his new quango? What we are steering is implementing... We are

:34:59.:35:01.

implementing the �20 billion cost savings that were set out by the

:35:02.:35:06.

party opposite when they were in government. But the difference is

:35:06.:35:09.

that we are going on with putting more money into the NHS, money that

:35:09.:35:14.

the party opposite does not support, so that there will be more nurses,

:35:15.:35:19.

more doctors, more operations and a better NHS compared with cuts from

:35:19.:35:25.

the party opposite. Mr Speaker, let me and ask the question again

:35:25.:35:28.

because he didn't answer it. People are very concerned that he is

:35:28.:35:32.

creating a whole new set of quangos. Will he tell us this simple

:35:33.:35:37.

question, can he guarantee that none of the people being made

:35:37.:35:41.

redundant will be rehired tutu their old jobs at his new quangos?

:35:41.:35:48.

It's a simple question, yes or no. I know that he has this

:35:48.:35:53.

extraordinary vision of how the NHS is run. It's not the prime minister

:35:53.:35:56.

who hires every person in any organisation in the NHS. The

:35:56.:36:00.

difference between this coalition government and the party opposite

:36:00.:36:05.

is that we are investing in the NHS, putting resources into the NHS,

:36:05.:36:08.

reforming the NHS in a way that is supported by the Royal College of

:36:08.:36:13.

Surgeons, the Royal College of Physicians, Tony Blair, Lord Dowes

:36:13.:36:19.

I, most people working in the NHS, but not the party opposite. Order!

:36:19.:36:22.

The decibel level is far too high. The Prime Minister should not have

:36:23.:36:27.

to shout to get itself heard. whole country will have heard that

:36:27.:36:32.

he has admitted they are spending �852 million on making people

:36:32.:36:35.

redundant. And he can't even promise they won't be rehired to do

:36:35.:36:41.

their old jobs. Is it the truth that the Prommers note of doubt

:36:41.:36:44.

reorganisation, he's doing it. He promised a bonfire of the quangos,

:36:44.:36:48.

is creating more. He promised a better deal for patients and things

:36:48.:36:51.

are getting worse. What people asking up and down this country is

:36:51.:36:58.

what is he doing to our NHS? What the whole country will have noticed

:36:58.:37:01.

is that at a time when people are worried about strikes, he can't ask

:37:02.:37:08.

about strikes because he's in the pocket of the unions. What the

:37:08.:37:12.

whole country will have noticed is that, at a time when Greece is

:37:12.:37:16.

facing huge problems over its deficit, he can't talk about Greece

:37:16.:37:21.

because his plan is to make Britain like Greece. What the whole country

:37:21.:37:26.

will have noticed is, at a time when the economy is the key issue,

:37:26.:37:30.

he can't talk about the economy because of his ludicrous plan for

:37:30.:37:39.

tax cuts. That is what we say. Week after week. He has to talk about

:37:39.:37:49.
:37:49.:37:56.

the micro because they can't talk Order! ORDER! I appeal to the house

:37:56.:38:01.

to calm down and reflects on what the public thinks of this sort of

:38:01.:38:11.
:38:11.:38:20.

Would the Prime Minister agree with made that a Conservative -- may

:38:21.:38:23.

that it is unusual to see the Conservatives putting money into

:38:23.:38:29.

the NHS, while Labour would want to cut it? I hope it is in order to

:38:30.:38:35.

talk about Labour's record in Wales. Because what we are saying, if

:38:35.:38:38.

anybody wants to know what would happen to the NHS under Labour,

:38:38.:38:43.

they can look at Wales, where they are smashing the NHS budget and

:38:43.:38:47.

they actually seeing more people waiting for longer. That is what

:38:47.:38:53.

happens when you get a Labour Party running the NHS. Ian Lucas.

:38:53.:39:02.

true, David! The leader of the opposition's tariff helped create

:39:02.:39:07.

300 more jobs in Wrexham in earlier this year. But today, because of

:39:07.:39:14.

his government's reversal of policy, the renewable Energy Association

:39:14.:39:18.

say that solar generation and the jobs and growth linked to it are in

:39:18.:39:25.

turmoil. Who knows better? Him or British business? I think anyone

:39:25.:39:28.

looking at what this government is doing in terms of renewable energy

:39:28.:39:34.

can see a massive investment in renewable energy. The �3 billion

:39:34.:39:37.

going into the Green Investment Bank, the massive incentives given

:39:37.:39:41.

under the renewable heat initiative. What we did have to dig or stop the

:39:41.:39:48.

abuse... We had to stop the abuse of solar power, where clearly the

:39:48.:39:51.

Ray Shead was not setting the right way. Anybody looking at industry

:39:51.:40:01.
:40:01.:40:05.

can see eight huge boost from this Despite the gravity of the

:40:05.:40:09.

financial situation, against which the Bank of England is preparing

:40:09.:40:17.

contingency plans, has the Government also got a team working

:40:17.:40:24.

on the details of a new treaty, if, as seems probable, the European

:40:24.:40:32.

Union us to be considerably Could I first of all say, on behalf

:40:32.:40:35.

of the whole house, to the father of the house, what great pleasure

:40:35.:40:39.

it gives me to refer to him as the right honourable gentleman after

:40:39.:40:44.

his many years of service in this house. What I would say to the

:40:44.:40:48.

Honourable Gentleman is that we have quite rightly used the

:40:48.:40:52.

opportunity of the new treaty change been put forward to protect

:40:52.:40:55.

Britain's interests and get us out of the bail out mechanism for the

:40:55.:41:01.

future. If new proposals:, we had used the opportunity again. Right

:41:01.:41:05.

now, the priority must be to work for stability in the euro-zone, not

:41:05.:41:11.

least because 40% of exports go to European countries. Britain is

:41:11.:41:15.

playing a constructive role in making sure that happens. Does the

:41:15.:41:19.

Prime Minister agree with the Deputy Prime Minister that the idea

:41:19.:41:25.

of introducing a marriage tax allowance is patronising drivel?

:41:25.:41:33.

The Deputy Prime Minister and I... We agree about many, many things.

:41:33.:41:37.

But it is actually set out in the coalition agreement that this is

:41:37.:41:40.

one area where I do not agree. I had a strong supporter of the

:41:41.:41:44.

institution of marriage. I think it would be a good idea to recce dies

:41:44.:41:51.

it in the tax system. -- recognise it in the tax system. Six migrant

:41:51.:41:56.

workers were arrested in my constituency, all of whom had

:41:56.:42:01.

national insurance numbers and work paying national insurance. Why

:42:01.:42:06.

can't we prevent illegal workers from being issued with national

:42:06.:42:09.

insurance numbers and the first place, or at least flag them so

:42:09.:42:11.

that the Border Agency knows that these people are not allowed to

:42:11.:42:17.

wear? By a Honourable Friend makes an extremely good. But grow. As he

:42:17.:42:21.

knows, or the application process for adults does include an identity

:42:21.:42:27.

check and the precondition that the individual is entitled to work. But

:42:27.:42:31.

national insurance number should not be issued to those with no

:42:31.:42:33.

entitlement to whip. But this is happening and we are looking

:42:33.:42:36.

closely at the idea of marking national insurance numbers in the

:42:36.:42:43.

way that he suggests. That you, Mr Speaker. At a time when the NHS is

:42:43.:42:47.

under financial pressure and people in Wirral are being hit by steep

:42:47.:42:50.

rises in prices, please will the Prime Minister tell me if he agrees

:42:50.:42:54.

with his friends on that side of the house who think that costly tax

:42:54.:42:58.

breaks for those that can choose private health care should be a

:42:58.:43:08.
:43:08.:43:12.

priority? The short answer is no, I The Prime Minister will be aware

:43:12.:43:16.

that core inflation for small business is at its highest level

:43:16.:43:19.

for three years. Will the Prime Minister recognise that problem,

:43:19.:43:24.

but especially tell us what else he can do it to increase demand, which

:43:24.:43:31.

remains, at best, very sluggish. I'll tell my Honourable Friend what

:43:31.:43:36.

we have done to help the economy. This year, a key problem for

:43:36.:43:40.

business is the cost of fuel. We've cut fuel duty, abolish the

:43:40.:43:43.

escalator and put off the RPI increase for next year, making a

:43:43.:43:48.

difference of about six pence per gallon. With the banks, we have the

:43:48.:43:53.

Merlins agreement for extra lending to small business. We have also cut

:43:53.:43:56.

small business corporation tax. We have helped on business rates. This

:43:56.:44:02.

is a very small business-friendly government. Four years ago the

:44:03.:44:07.

Prime Minister said that the extremist organisation Hizb ut-

:44:07.:44:11.

Tahrir should be banned immediately. He promised to do just that in this

:44:11.:44:15.

house, elsewhere and even in his election manifesto. Why has he not

:44:15.:44:19.

done what he has promised so many times? Will he go back to Downing

:44:19.:44:24.

Street and Balham this organisation? We have taken action

:44:24.:44:28.

against extremist groups. We are looking very carefully at Hizb ut-

:44:28.:44:33.

Tahrir. In my view, what they have said goes well beyond what a legal

:44:33.:44:38.

organisations it says. That is has to be done under the law. Given

:44:38.:44:42.

that Lord Hutton, the former Labour pensions minister has described the

:44:42.:44:48.

current position on public sector pensions as completely untenable,

:44:48.:44:51.

would my right honourable friend agree that it is unacceptable for a

:44:51.:44:58.

small minority of trade unions to be disrupted thousands of people

:44:58.:45:03.

across this country? -- disrupting. I think my Honourable Friend is

:45:04.:45:07.

right. This is the issue they don't want to talk about on the other

:45:07.:45:10.

side of the house. It is a small minority of unions that have gone

:45:10.:45:14.

ahead with action. I think it is irresponsible, I don't think it's

:45:14.:45:17.

fair and I think what we are proposing is fair. He makes the

:45:17.:45:22.

point, quite rightly, that it was Lord Hutton, a former Labour

:45:22.:45:26.

minister, who has written an extremely good report, Making the

:45:26.:45:29.

simple point that as we live longer, which is good news, we are going to

:45:29.:45:33.

have to contribute more to public sector pensions and work for longer.

:45:33.:45:37.

Let me stress, the reason we are doing this is not in any way to

:45:37.:45:41.

undermine public sector pensions, but to safeguard good, defined

:45:41.:45:46.

benefit systems for the future. In my view, there is a contract

:45:46.:45:49.

between taxpayers and public sector workers saying, you work in the

:45:49.:45:58.

public sector, will support to an Is the Prime Minister aware of the

:45:58.:46:03.

concerns that have been expressed about the new arrangement of the

:46:03.:46:08.

repatriation of the bodies of our servicemen and women killed

:46:08.:46:11.

overseas on active service, following the transfer to Brize

:46:11.:46:15.

Norton, and can he tell the House what facilities will be put in

:46:15.:46:18.

place for the families of the bereaved at Brize Norton, and to

:46:18.:46:23.

allow the public there if to express their condolences to our

:46:23.:46:28.

fallen? I'm aware of the issue because Brize Norton is in my own

:46:28.:46:32.

constituency. A lot of thought has gone into how to do this in the

:46:32.:46:36.

right way and a lot of care and thought will go into how to look

:46:36.:46:41.

after the families. I think it is also right that we should mark the

:46:41.:46:45.

passage from Wootton Bassett, soon to be Royal Wootton Bassett, to

:46:45.:46:54.

Brize Norton as well. constituency is home to an army

:46:54.:46:58.

barracks and isn't it the time but we should give service personnel

:46:58.:47:02.

priority when it comes to housing? I think my honourable friend makes

:47:02.:47:07.

an important point. We have put the military covenant into law for the

:47:07.:47:11.

first time. That is important to make sure that military personnel

:47:11.:47:14.

are not discriminated against but I think it is right that every

:47:14.:47:18.

council should look at what they do to help those who serve our country

:47:18.:47:21.

and it is what my local council does in west Oxfordshire, because

:47:21.:47:26.

of Brize Norton and I would encourage others to do the same. We

:47:26.:47:29.

have the new policy of first by direct where we are helping first-

:47:29.:47:33.

time buyers on to the housing ladder and I'm pleased to see the

:47:33.:47:37.

Housing Minister is making sure this policy is taken round to the

:47:37.:47:40.

different army and other military bases to make sure military

:47:40.:47:45.

personnel can take advantage of it. This week is the first anniversary

:47:45.:47:52.

of the backbench business committee. Over the last year, does the Prime

:47:52.:47:54.

Minister think that Parliament has become better at holding the

:47:54.:48:00.

government to account and if he does, can we offer our health to

:48:00.:48:05.

unlock some of the legislation that has stuck in the legislative

:48:05.:48:09.

pipeline? Let me congratulate the backbench committee over the last

:48:10.:48:12.

year. I think it has made a difference in Parliament. I think

:48:12.:48:16.

it is quite right that the House of Commons can choose to debate a

:48:16.:48:21.

subject of its choosing, on a motion of its choosing, at a time

:48:21.:48:25.

of its choosing. He has discussed a range of issues from the very

:48:25.:48:31.

mundane to be quite obscure. It has, if you like, it has been a year of

:48:31.:48:35.

bread and circuses. I think it is a good idea, I want to see it go on

:48:35.:48:38.

working and I would like to take some credit that it was this

:48:38.:48:44.

government that gave up the power and allowed this to happen.

:48:44.:48:52.

People in Devon, earned around �2,964 less than the UK average,

:48:52.:48:56.

yet our average water bill is the highest in the country and well

:48:56.:49:01.

above the national average of �356. Does the Prime Minister agree with

:49:02.:49:06.

me at the third option outlined in the recent DEFRA consultation

:49:06.:49:10.

suggesting a government subsidy of �50 per household for the South

:49:10.:49:15.

West, would go a long way to writing this unfairness? This issue

:49:15.:49:18.

of excessive water bills in the south-west has been an issue for

:49:18.:49:22.

many, many years and I am proud of the fact that within a year it is

:49:22.:49:25.

this government which has decided to grip it. We are determined to

:49:25.:49:30.

lower water bills for households in the south-west. We have pledged

:49:30.:49:35.

that in the Budget. We will publish a White Paper in November.

:49:35.:49:41.

The crisis at Southern Cross has raised fears of the viability of

:49:41.:49:45.

the residential care sector. Will the Prime Minister inject some

:49:45.:49:49.

urgency into his government's review of companies which provide

:49:49.:49:54.

care services? We need a belt and braces plan to stop the elderly

:49:54.:49:59.

worrying about the place that they call home. I think the Honourable

:49:59.:50:02.

Gentleman makes an extremely important point and many of us,

:50:02.:50:07.

myself included, have care homes in our constituencies run by Southern

:50:07.:50:10.

Cross and are extremely concerned about what has happened and what is

:50:10.:50:14.

happening. I can tell him that the health department and the Treasury

:50:14.:50:18.

and the business department are following this closely. We do have

:50:19.:50:24.

powers to make sure we regulate these places probably. Local

:50:24.:50:27.

authorities have the powers to takeover the running of care homes

:50:27.:50:32.

if necessary. I believe we are planning for contingencies in the

:50:32.:50:36.

correct way. Given the high cost of petrol which

:50:36.:50:40.

is crucifying motorists in Harlow across the country, with Mike

:50:40.:50:44.

honourable friend support the fair fuel UK campaign and urged oil

:50:45.:50:48.

companies to reduce petrol prices at the pump in line with market

:50:48.:50:53.

prices and review the three pence increase next January? I want to

:50:53.:50:57.

see every chance for lower prices do pass on to the consumer. What

:50:57.:51:01.

the government has done is taken its necessary measures, the 1 p cut

:51:01.:51:06.

in fuel duty this year, the pudding of of the RPI increase, the

:51:06.:51:08.

abolition of the fuel escalator that the party opposite put in

:51:08.:51:14.

place, all of those things will make a difference. Also, we took

:51:14.:51:18.

part in the release of oil stocks, together with Americans, which has

:51:18.:51:21.

seen the oil price come down but we need to make sure we have a good

:51:21.:51:28.

competitive sector that passes on price cuts through the country.

:51:28.:51:32.

As if the review of the air passage contingency continues, does the

:51:32.:51:37.

Prime Minister accept there is an urgency in the situation,

:51:37.:51:42.

especially in my constituency of South Antrim, given that the levy

:51:42.:51:49.

on a long haul flight whereas our competitors have a levee of just 3

:51:49.:51:53.

euros. The airlines link between Northern Ireland and New York,

:51:53.:51:57.

something urgently must be done now. I understand a point the honourable

:51:58.:52:02.

gentleman necks and I know it is of personal concern to him. I do

:52:03.:52:07.

understand, when I went to Northern Ireland, people are explained the

:52:07.:52:11.

importance of maintaining the air link direct between Northern

:52:11.:52:15.

Ireland and the United States, absolutely vital for the long-term

:52:15.:52:18.

economic health of this province. The Chancellor has spoken to people

:52:18.:52:22.

in Northern Ireland about it and we are reviewing the options and we

:52:22.:52:26.

will clear a path forward. My right honourable friend will be

:52:26.:52:30.

aware that our colleague, Lord Bates, is currently walking from a

:52:30.:52:35.

limpet in Greece to London, a journey of 4,000 miles to raise

:52:35.:52:40.

awareness of the Olympic truce. Will the Prime Minister he ensure

:52:40.:52:45.

that when the UK government table sits resolution for observance of

:52:45.:52:47.

the Olympic truce to the United Nations General Assembly later this

:52:47.:52:52.

year, will add to it specific proposals for peace and

:52:52.:52:56.

reconciliation so we will maximise this historic opportunity? I'm sure

:52:56.:53:00.

the whole house would like to congratulate Lord Bates for his

:53:00.:53:09.

great feat. Sorry about that! Accidental, apologies for that. We

:53:09.:53:16.

will be promoting a fresh calling for the continuing

:53:16.:53:18.

observance of the Olympic truce for the 2012 games. We want to make the

:53:18.:53:21.

most of this historic opportunity and we are considering other

:53:22.:53:26.

initiatives to promote the spirit of the trees and the Foreign and

:53:26.:53:29.

Commonwealth Office are engaging with embassies worldwide -- the

:53:30.:53:33.

trees. A wet parents up-and-down the land

:53:33.:53:37.

be horrified to know that under their proposals, person convicted

:53:37.:53:41.

of raping a child will not automatically be put on the Bard

:53:41.:53:47.

list of working with children in the future? What we have done in

:53:47.:53:51.

terms of vetting and barring, is removed a huge number of people who

:53:51.:53:55.

were not a risk to children, but we do want to make sure the system

:53:55.:54:00.

works well so that anyone who has criminal convictions is barred.

:54:00.:54:05.

Mr Speaker, does the Prime Minister believe that the drugs policy has

:54:05.:54:10.

been failing for decades, as he said in 2005, and does he agree

:54:10.:54:17.

that the government should initiate a way of alternative ways including

:54:18.:54:23.

tackling the global drugs dilemma? I do not believe we should be

:54:23.:54:26.

legalising any drugs which are currently criminal, but I do

:54:26.:54:31.

believe the drugs policy has been a failure over recent years. I think

:54:31.:54:34.

there has been insufficient attention to two key areas,

:54:34.:54:39.

education on one hand, but also treatment on the other. One of the

:54:39.:54:44.

ways to collapse the drugs market is to have a more effective

:54:44.:54:46.

treatment system and in this country in particular, we have

:54:46.:54:49.

spent too much time on heroin replacement and methadone, rather

:54:49.:54:54.

than trying to get people clean and clear up all the things in their

:54:54.:54:58.

life which caused them to take drugs in the first place.

:54:58.:55:03.

Has the Prime Minister himself been involved in seeking a solution to

:55:03.:55:10.

the appalling problems in Sudan, and given the United Nations

:55:10.:55:16.

concern, about 60,000 people being displaced, as well as other huge

:55:16.:55:21.

humanitarian problems, will he use his influence on the eve of

:55:21.:55:25.

independence, to ensure that north and south are seen to work

:55:25.:55:29.

together? I think as the right honourable gentleman knows, we are

:55:29.:55:34.

deeply involved in trying to seek a successful outcome to this process.

:55:34.:55:39.

We find a lot of the talks process which has been ongoing. The Foreign

:55:39.:55:43.

Secretary has visited the country, as has the Africa Minister. Britain

:55:43.:55:47.

has done a huge amount to ensure that the CPA is fully implemented

:55:47.:55:51.

and there is a peaceful settlement between the two countries. Clearly,

:55:51.:55:58.

there is more work today. What does the Prime Minister think

:55:58.:56:04.

is more fair and progressive, the coalition government's policy of

:56:04.:56:08.

safeguarding benefits and the public sector or Labour's �1

:56:08.:56:11.

billion smash and grab on private pension funds which contributed

:56:11.:56:15.

directly to the demise of defined benefit schemes in the private

:56:15.:56:19.

sector? I think my honourable friend makes an extremely good

:56:19.:56:25.

point. 26 minutes into Question Time, not a squeak from the party

:56:25.:56:29.

opposite about strikes of pensions or the need for reform. Because

:56:30.:56:34.

they are all paid for by the trade unions, they cannot talk about this

:56:35.:56:38.

issue. What that coalition government is doing is right. We

:56:38.:56:42.

are saying, we want to have a defined benefit system in the

:56:42.:56:46.

public sector. We want to ensure that all those accrued rights are

:56:46.:56:50.

kept and those accrued rights you will still be able to take at the

:56:50.:56:55.

age you were allowed to take them. For those people currently in a

:56:55.:56:59.

final-salary scheme, when they get those benefits, they will be based

:56:59.:57:03.

on their final salary, not the final salary now, or when the

:57:03.:57:09.

reforms go through, but before -- final salary when they retire. They

:57:09.:57:12.

have been so much myth and misinformation put around by those

:57:12.:57:15.

in the trade unions, it is important to put on the record in

:57:15.:57:19.

the house. Compared with the same period last

:57:19.:57:24.

year, crime overall in London is up, including a 15 % rise in robbery

:57:24.:57:28.

and an 18 % rise in burglary. At the same time, the mayor for London

:57:29.:57:34.

is budgeted to cut 1800 police officers. Is this the right time to

:57:34.:57:39.

do this and will the Prime Minister get a grip in London? First of all,

:57:39.:57:44.

overall crime is falling. It is according to both the British Crime

:57:44.:57:47.

Survey and the police recorded crime statistics. We are doing a

:57:47.:57:51.

huge amount to help people right across the country, including the

:57:51.:57:55.

London to deal with crime. The publication of crime maps, the

:57:55.:57:57.

introduction of Police Commissioners, making sure we have

:57:57.:58:02.

the proper powers necessary and perhaps because he is a London MP,

:58:02.:58:06.

let me bring him up to date with operation target, which is running

:58:06.:58:12.

in the Metropolitan Police. On average, 1,200 officers deployed

:58:12.:58:17.

every day, they have been 4,000 different activities, 2000 arrests

:58:17.:58:21.

but it is early days but there has been a drop in offences from week

:58:21.:58:25.

to week from most serious offences, violence, knife crime, street

:58:26.:58:29.

robbery and residential burglary. That is, they do not like to hear

:58:29.:58:35.

an answer when it shows the police are doing their job. Prime

:58:35.:58:41.

Minister's Questions is principally for backbenchers. Mr Graham Evans.

:58:41.:58:46.

On the eighth of June 1944, a relative of mine was shot down

:58:46.:58:50.

while dropping notes needed supplies to the French Resistance.

:58:50.:58:54.

Today he lives in a Normandy Joel jarred with the crew of his Halifax

:58:54.:58:58.

bomber. Does the Prime Minister agree with me battered his right

:58:58.:59:02.

and proper that this nation should remember the sacrifice of 55,000

:59:02.:59:06.

members of Bomber Command who gave their lives to rid Europe of Nazi

:59:06.:59:10.

tyranny? I think it is absolutely right that we remember those who

:59:10.:59:14.

served in Bomber Command and I recognise there is a lot of work to

:59:14.:59:19.

make sure that is done. As someone who has visited one of the

:59:19.:59:23.

Commonwealth War Graves ceremonies in Normandy recently, it is a

:59:23.:59:28.

brilliant thing the way they are kept up and the work that is done

:59:28.:59:32.

to make sure relatives can visit their fallen heroes.

:59:32.:59:36.

During the last Labour government, millions of pensioners in this

:59:36.:59:40.

country, including my grandmother who is in the gallery today, saw

:59:40.:59:44.

the quality of life improved vastly, with measures such as the winter

:59:44.:59:48.

fuel allowance, pension credits and a free bus pass. What message does

:59:48.:59:52.

the Prime Minister have for these women in this country who are now

:59:52.:59:55.

seeing their daughters have to work harder and longer for less money

:59:55.:00:02.

and some of them having less time to prepare for the state pension?

:00:02.:00:07.

What I would say to her constituency and all pensioners is

:00:07.:00:11.

this government is reforming pensions so we are going to be

:00:11.:00:14.

paying a more generous state retirement pension. Because of the

:00:15.:00:20.

triple lock, someone retiring today will be �15,000 better off over the

:00:20.:00:24.

rest of their life than they would be under the plans we inherited. We

:00:24.:00:28.

have kept for free bus pass, we have kept the free television

:00:28.:00:32.

licence, we have kept the other benefits and I believe we are being

:00:32.:00:38.

fed by Britain's pensioners. The Prime Minister eluded earlier

:00:38.:00:41.

to the contract between taxpayers and Public servants, there is a

:00:41.:00:46.

contract between tax payers and MPs as well, does he agree that we

:00:46.:00:49.

should be in the vanguard of reforming our own pensions, so we

:00:49.:00:53.

can look our public sector constituents in the face?

:00:53.:00:56.

absolutely agree with the honourable lady. In this house, we

:00:56.:01:00.

are public sector workers as well and we should be subject to exactly

:01:00.:01:05.

the same changes we asking others to take on. The increase in

:01:05.:01:09.

contributions should apply to the MPs' system, even though it is a

:01:09.:01:13.

system where we already pay in a lot. We are saying across the board,

:01:13.:01:16.

the increase in pension contributions are right to create a

:01:16.:01:26.
:01:26.:01:27.

Well, Prime Ministers questions comes to an end. Not many to go

:01:27.:01:30.

before the summer recess. The leader of the opposition using the

:01:30.:01:33.

technique he's used over the past couple of weeks of trying to burrow

:01:33.:01:37.

into some detail in the hope that the Prime Minister is not across

:01:37.:01:40.

the detail, which he was not in the past couple of weeks. This time he

:01:40.:01:46.

was asking about what will happen to the number of quangos in the NHS

:01:46.:01:51.

after the reform. And the cost of redundancies, which he put at �852

:01:51.:01:55.

million. Asking if any of those people would be retired. It's a

:01:55.:02:00.

tactic that he has employed for several weeks. We will be

:02:00.:02:04.

discussing whether British is effective or not. The Prime

:02:04.:02:08.

Minister said, you don't want to talk about strikes, but you are

:02:08.:02:12.

talking about the detail. We'll see what the panel makes of this new

:02:12.:02:16.

approach by the leader of the opposition. First, we'll see what

:02:16.:02:20.

you made of it. You can kind of tell when the energy has gone out

:02:20.:02:25.

of PMQs, people want to talk about anything except the exchange

:02:25.:02:29.

between the leaders. Today, the actions of the speaker have caught

:02:29.:02:34.

your imagination. The Speaker stopping the Prime Ministers bd was

:02:34.:02:39.

rude, says Alex Ross. The speaker needs to realise his position is to

:02:39.:02:45.

beat neutral, we are fed up by your interruptions, says another viewer.

:02:45.:02:49.

Then that that was before the rebuke about standing up for the

:02:49.:02:57.

backbenchers, suggesting that the prime minister's answer was too

:02:57.:03:03.

long. Ed and the Labour party are on the wrong side of the debates,

:03:03.:03:08.

says a viewer from Kent. Mr Cameron, people want to know the answer to

:03:08.:03:14.

the question, not what you think of Ed Miliband. I thought it was the

:03:14.:03:17.

end of Punch and Judy politics, said Andrew from Manchester. This

:03:17.:03:22.

one, why does Ed Miliband start every question with committee

:03:22.:03:29.

hasn't answered the question? -- he hasn't answered the question.

:03:29.:03:34.

do we make of this tactic? It's a way of unsettling the Prime

:03:34.:03:39.

Minister, in a way it does work, he didn't know the answer to the

:03:39.:03:43.

question. That's the tactic, but what is the strategy? Is he trying

:03:43.:03:46.

to say to the public that the Prime Minister doesn't know how to do his

:03:46.:03:50.

job? It seems to me that he's not playing with the grain, there isn't

:03:50.:03:55.

an obvious point to make. Clearly, there is a Labour line of attack,

:03:55.:03:59.

people will be sympathetic, the idea that the Government is making

:03:59.:04:03.

things up as it goes along, that you turning is a problem. But I

:04:03.:04:08.

found myself pretty puzzled by that line of attack. Clearly, it allows

:04:08.:04:13.

Labour to keep the story of the NHS going. I'd be very surprised if

:04:13.:04:17.

it's picked up widely in the media. If it is, and a sure the Labour

:04:17.:04:21.

Party will be given the credit for raising it. It's a frustration for

:04:21.:04:30.

Ed Miliband, sometimes. He has done quite powerful lines of attack, on

:04:30.:04:35.

the NHS and the first place. Quite often, people picked it up and the

:04:35.:04:39.

newspapers and gave him no credit. He left an open goal, in not asking

:04:39.:04:46.

about the strikes. It was easy for David Cameron to go on and say that,

:04:46.:04:49.

because he knows that every journalist has to write about the

:04:49.:04:52.

strikes. Why leave yourself vulnerable to the criticism?

:04:52.:04:57.

did he talk about them? He spoke about the strikes yesterday, at the

:04:57.:05:01.

weekend. The idea that we don't want to talk about it, Andy Burnham

:05:01.:05:03.

has asked that it should question on the strikes. The Government has

:05:04.:05:11.

made such a mess. Why not use PMQs? A Ed Miliband has made his position

:05:11.:05:15.

clear, he thinks the strikes at a mistake, he thinks the Government

:05:15.:05:18.

should be negotiating. What it showed again is that the Prime

:05:18.:05:22.

Minister doesn't know the detail, and secondly, on the NHS, he gave

:05:22.:05:27.

an absolutely categorical promise there would be no or top-down

:05:27.:05:31.

reorganisation. That is exactly what we are getting. Twice he could

:05:31.:05:34.

not answer the question, can you promise that the people you are

:05:34.:05:38.

paying off will not be rehired? He knows he can't answer, because that

:05:38.:05:41.

is what is going to happen with everything that he is bringing in.

:05:41.:05:46.

Let's take that issue. The leader of the opposition said it is

:05:46.:05:49.

costing �852 million to make a number of people redundant. Can you

:05:49.:05:54.

guarantee that these people will not be rehired in some way? If you

:05:54.:05:57.

had won the election, you would be making people redundant in the

:05:57.:06:00.

health service. We don't know what the numbers would be, undoubtedly

:06:00.:06:04.

you would have to do that, given the Alastair Darling plan. You

:06:04.:06:07.

would not be able to give that commitment either. You would have a

:06:07.:06:11.

redundancy bill and you could not say that you would not hire any of

:06:11.:06:15.

these people. It's a kind of non question. I disagree. You would say

:06:15.:06:20.

that? I disagree with your privates. We would not have had a top-down

:06:20.:06:25.

reorganisation of the type the Government is engaging in, -- with

:06:25.:06:33.

your premise. The stop-start, we are not going ahead, we are going

:06:33.:06:37.

ahead, we are not creating new bodies, we are having to create

:06:37.:06:41.

shadow bodies, it is one big mess. I you saying your government would

:06:41.:06:47.

not have made any redundancies? That is by point. David Cameron

:06:47.:06:50.

embarked on one course of action, then he was forced to screech to a

:06:50.:06:55.

halt. He is literally making it up as he goes along. All of the bodies

:06:55.:07:01.

that Ed Miliband listed in action - - asking the question, they are

:07:01.:07:03.

having to be created or having their lives prolonged because the

:07:03.:07:07.

Government has made a complete mess of what the Government is doing to

:07:07.:07:13.

the NHS. Having done a massive U- turn on the NHS, they are having a

:07:13.:07:16.

proliferation of quangos. This was a government, like every other

:07:16.:07:22.

government, promising a bonfire of the quangos. On Mr Miliband's

:07:23.:07:26.

figures, you're doubling or trebling the number of quangos.

:07:26.:07:31.

What is that about? This double, there you have it. He has just

:07:31.:07:33.

admitted that they would be able to answer the question that Ed

:07:33.:07:37.

Miliband was put into the Prime Minister in this tactic of asking

:07:37.:07:40.

these points of detail. I agree with Nick, I don't think it is

:07:40.:07:47.

successful. It means he's not addressing the big issues, it is an

:07:47.:07:50.

instantly forgettable Prime Ministers questions. I think it is

:07:50.:07:55.

completely the wrong strategy for him. It kind of unsettled the Prime

:07:56.:08:01.

Minister. I don't think it does. The luck on his face, it was almost

:08:01.:08:05.

news to him about the number of quangos that will be in the NHS

:08:05.:08:09.

after these reforms are done. have established that the Labour

:08:09.:08:15.

Party can dance a written question. -- couldn't answer its own question.

:08:15.:08:20.

They were looking for an admission from the Labour Party that they got

:08:20.:08:24.

things wrong, a stance that they are willing to change, that they

:08:24.:08:28.

are listing to the country, that the leader is willing to take big

:08:28.:08:32.

decisions. And he is flogging all of that, so I think Ed Miliband is

:08:32.:08:36.

doing himself a great deal of harm. There is clearly a long-term

:08:36.:08:41.

objective, to undermine David Cameron's claim to love heat NHS,

:08:41.:08:46.

or at least to be acting as if he does love the NHS. In that sense,

:08:46.:08:49.

I'm sure that Ed Miliband is determined to say that we are not

:08:49.:08:54.

at the end of the NHS story, simply because the Government made a U-

:08:54.:09:00.

turn. He wants to keep insisting that David Cameron is to blame,

:09:00.:09:04.

don't blame the doctors or the deficit. In that sense, it's clear

:09:04.:09:08.

that he wants to keep the NHS running. I still slightly struggle

:09:08.:09:13.

to see what his hopers, and it might not be his only Test, making

:09:13.:09:16.

it into the news, because it is not his only Test, but making it into

:09:17.:09:20.

the news with the questions he asks the Prime Minister. I could be

:09:20.:09:26.

proved wrong. The we will watch the news tonight and see if he makes it.

:09:26.:09:29.

Most journalists came in today thinking they had to do something

:09:29.:09:35.

on the strikes. Let's just have a look, while we have been going on,

:09:35.:09:38.

events have been unfolding in Athens. I think we can get live

:09:38.:09:45.

pictures. This is where violence has broken out again. The BBC's

:09:45.:09:48.

Correspondent Jon Sopel, we spoke to him yesterday on the programme.

:09:48.:09:55.

I have just been reading his blog. He says it is a much more brutal,

:09:55.:10:00.

hostile atmosphere than it was yesterday. There was quite a lot of

:10:00.:10:05.

violence them. There have been some real clashes, tear gas. He has

:10:05.:10:09.

described it as looking like frozen ice wafting in front of Parliament.

:10:09.:10:14.

They tried to put up roadblocks to stop MPs or deputies, as they are

:10:14.:10:20.

called in Athens, getting into Parliament to vote. Some pretty bad

:10:20.:10:27.

scenes this morning. We don't expect the result for another hour.

:10:27.:10:32.

It looks like we will, with a majority of five, that the

:10:32.:10:35.

Socialist government will probably get its way. It's quite clear that

:10:35.:10:38.

it hasn't got its way with a lot of people in Athens. Whether they will

:10:38.:10:44.

be able to implement the reforms, the austerity package, that is

:10:44.:10:48.

another big message. The markets are pretty confident it will go

:10:48.:10:52.

through. The euro is looking quite strong this morning. European stock

:10:52.:10:56.

exchanges have risen. I was struck by how the Prime Minister wants to

:10:56.:11:00.

keep talking about Greece, for domestic political reasons. He

:11:00.:11:03.

wants to say to the country, that is what it could be like if we were

:11:03.:11:07.

not doing what we are doing. His opponents will say that is nonsense

:11:07.:11:10.

on economic grounds and they will claim it is nonsense on political

:11:10.:11:15.

grounds, that there is a perfectly good way of reducing the deficit

:11:15.:11:18.

without getting up people's pensions and its legitimate for

:11:18.:11:24.

people to strike. I was struck by the fact that on the eve of his

:11:24.:11:30.

protests, he would quite like people to pick his was an

:11:30.:11:36.

alternative and that he stands against this chaos. The events in

:11:36.:11:40.

Athens, if they go wrong: Even if they go right, from the

:11:40.:11:47.

Government's point of view, it could have a contagious effect

:11:47.:11:53.

across Europe. Is it right that no side of the house bothered to raise

:11:53.:12:02.

the Greeks situation in Parliament today? Well, it is self evidently

:12:02.:12:05.

nonsense to try and argue that there is a comparison between what

:12:05.:12:12.

has happened in Greece and what we are seen in the United Kingdom. --

:12:12.:12:15.

what we are seeing her in the United Kingdom. We have discussed

:12:15.:12:20.

the bail out, we had a statement from the Prime Minister after the

:12:20.:12:25.

EU summit. Sometimes we are a little bit parochial and Prime

:12:25.:12:29.

Ministers questions? I disagree that it is nonsense. I think if you

:12:29.:12:35.

look at Dublin, if you look at Lisbon, Athens, if you look at what

:12:35.:12:39.

those economies are having to go through, what happens if you leave

:12:39.:12:44.

decisions until too late, you allow public sector spending and debt to

:12:44.:12:48.

rise unsustainably, what is forced on you is much deeper spending cuts.

:12:48.:12:52.

What the Greek people are reacting to are things like closing the

:12:52.:12:56.

numbers of schools, big cuts in health spending, state-owned

:12:56.:13:02.

employees in Greece that are having 30% cuts in pay. It is a reminder

:13:02.:13:06.

that choices are inescapable, that we have to deal with the deficit

:13:06.:13:12.

and keep confidence in our economy. If final brief word from Nick?

:13:12.:13:21.

think there are some Euro-sceptic backbenchers who think that what is

:13:21.:13:27.

happening in Rhys could have an effect on Europe, and it is being

:13:27.:13:32.

ignored. I think the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had agreed it is

:13:33.:13:36.

not a conversation to have in public, it is one that you have in

:13:36.:13:42.

private. We will leave it there. We will keep a cross events in Greece.

:13:42.:13:48.

If we get the vote whilst we are there, we will put it to you.

:13:48.:13:51.

A survey published this morning shows that more than half of

:13:51.:13:56.

councillors are worried about the strain on public services caused by

:13:56.:14:00.

cuts to housing benefit. That before I change takes place in the

:14:00.:14:03.

new year. From January, many people will have to move into shared

:14:03.:14:06.

accommodation instead of having their own place because of cuts to

:14:06.:14:11.

housing benefits. David Rowntree, drummer in the band Blair, no

:14:11.:14:15.

upturned Labour activist and solicitor, told me why he thinks

:14:15.:14:25.
:14:25.:14:29.

it's not a good idea. -- the band Everyone knows how important it is

:14:29.:14:33.

to have some way you can call home. But the Government are trying to

:14:33.:14:38.

push through drastic cuts in housing benefit for those between

:14:38.:14:42.

25 and 35. They are calling it extending the shared accommodation

:14:42.:14:46.

rate. Around 60,000 people are going to be affected. They are

:14:46.:14:50.

going to lose about half their benefits, about �40 a week. Of

:14:50.:14:55.

course, landlords are not going to reduce rent, so people are going to

:14:55.:15:01.

be forced to move. The Government argues that they can move into

:15:01.:15:04.

shared properties. But there simply aren't the properties available.

:15:04.:15:07.

For vulnerable people to move into shared accommodation with strangers

:15:07.:15:12.

simply isn't suitable. Many will end up homeless and on the streets.

:15:12.:15:15.

They include people who have been homeless and are trying to get back

:15:16.:15:19.

on their feet. Dads who are separated and trying to carry on

:15:19.:15:24.

seeing the children. Pregnant women thrown out by their partners. One-

:15:24.:15:34.
:15:34.:15:34.

in-five is disabled and many more All these people have had to

:15:34.:15:39.

struggle to get the homes they live in. Those homes and the security

:15:39.:15:44.

they provide are at risk from these cuts. The government says they need

:15:44.:15:48.

to save money but we will end up spending more if people become

:15:48.:15:52.

homeless. People at the sharp end will not have a secure place to

:15:52.:15:56.

rebuild their lives. These people often struggled get their voices

:15:56.:16:00.

heard and I do not believe the most vulnerable should bear the brunt of

:16:00.:16:04.

the cuts. The government says we are all in it together but some

:16:04.:16:07.

people seem to be more in it than others. I believe the government

:16:07.:16:12.

should think again. Homelessness is already rising and I for one, do

:16:12.:16:22.
:16:22.:16:25.

not want to see a return to the David joins us now. At the moment,

:16:26.:16:29.

there are lots of young people who do not qualify for housing benefit

:16:29.:16:32.

and they find themselves having to share houses, that is just an

:16:32.:16:37.

extension of that, isn't it? What the government is proposing that

:16:37.:16:41.

60,000 of the most vulnerable people are turfed out of their

:16:41.:16:45.

accommodation. One of five of them are disabled, they often people

:16:45.:16:49.

made crisis in their lives and they are people who can ill-afford to

:16:49.:16:53.

move at all, let alone the forced to share low-grade accommodation

:16:53.:16:58.

with other people they do not know. Are you objecting in general to the

:16:58.:17:02.

fact that people on low incomes or on housing benefit are having to

:17:02.:17:07.

share or in particular, this sub- group you talk about, those with

:17:07.:17:12.

disabilities? I am objecting to the state of housing in the country. We

:17:12.:17:16.

are in a disgraceful situation. The Tories are planning a change in the

:17:16.:17:21.

housing benefit rules which were essentially turf 60,000 of the most

:17:21.:17:25.

vulnerable people and society out of their homes. We will talk about

:17:25.:17:33.

the specific cases of the disabled, we have Nick here stop you must be

:17:33.:17:38.

leaving the the charge against this. Let me ask you another question

:17:38.:17:43.

before you takeover altogether! The fact is, there are lots of people

:17:43.:17:47.

out there who were not on housing benefit to do not qualify for

:17:47.:17:51.

housing benefit, who face the same situation. We are talking that

:17:51.:17:54.

pensioners who have to take cuts, we are in a dire state in this

:17:54.:17:59.

country, cuts have to be made, what about the young as well as the old?

:17:59.:18:04.

That is the Conservative Office Central Line. Nick, you must be

:18:04.:18:09.

leading the charge against these cuts. You are taking over this

:18:09.:18:15.

interview again, David! Neck, let me ask you another question. David,

:18:15.:18:20.

it is not nice. On the issue of the most vulnerable, there has been a

:18:20.:18:24.

piece of research coming out from another charity saying that they

:18:24.:18:28.

are also worried that those people having to share accommodation.

:18:28.:18:32.

vulnerable are exempted from this proposal specifically. What we know

:18:32.:18:36.

is that people who are Carillion showed accommodation, receipt of

:18:37.:18:43.

housing benefit, two-thirds of those would be entitled to it. They

:18:43.:18:46.

are exercising a choice to be in shared accommodation. If you are

:18:46.:18:50.

not in receipt of housing benefit, if you are working and clearly

:18:50.:18:55.

struggling, and you cannot possibly expect that you can afford

:18:55.:18:58.

accommodation to be living on your own and you are going into shared

:18:58.:19:02.

accommodation, as young people do, particularly in places like London

:19:02.:19:07.

because the prices, why should we expect that the state should be

:19:07.:19:11.

subsidising people to be in their own accommodation. The whole

:19:11.:19:13.

housing benefit system has spiralled out of control. We are

:19:14.:19:20.

paying benefit up to absurd levels, up to �100,000. If it has had a

:19:20.:19:25.

very inflationary effect and it is simply not fair. You stated that

:19:25.:19:29.

position clearly but I want you to be categoric on this programme,

:19:29.:19:33.

that subsection that David is talking about that Shelter is

:19:33.:19:36.

worried about, that councils are worried about, those who have

:19:36.:19:39.

disabilities or mental health issues, you are saying in no way

:19:39.:19:44.

ever, under your stewardship are they going to be forced to share

:19:44.:19:48.

accommodation? The vulnerable are excluded. We have to look at these

:19:48.:19:54.

things clearly on a case-by-case basis. The principal stance and

:19:54.:19:58.

there is a transition fund to assist people when necessary. We do

:19:58.:20:02.

not believe anybody is going to be made homeless by this policy. This

:20:02.:20:06.

is a good example of the sort of decisions that were not taken by

:20:06.:20:09.

the previous government. They have to be taken both to ensure we have

:20:09.:20:13.

a grip on spending, because the costs are spiralling out of control

:20:13.:20:16.

but also on the grounds of fairness as well. A lot of people watching

:20:16.:20:20.

this will say, I might quite like to be in a flat of my own as well

:20:20.:20:25.

but the state is not paying me to be in a flat of my own. For let me

:20:25.:20:31.

come back to, David, as well as former -- being formally in Blur

:20:31.:20:37.

and as a solicitor, you are also a Labour activist, under the Darling

:20:37.:20:42.

plan, there would be cuts as well, isn't it opportunistic to make this

:20:42.:20:47.

a political issue because your party would do similar things?

:20:47.:20:51.

disagree that we would do similar things. Let me take you back to the

:20:51.:20:55.

answer that nobody would be made homeless, how can you say you are

:20:55.:20:59.

going to shift 60,000 people out of their accommodation, force them

:20:59.:21:02.

into shared accommodation which does not exist but nobody would be

:21:02.:21:07.

made homeless? We do not believe that is the case. We have done the

:21:07.:21:10.

impact assessments. We have a transition fund to address these

:21:10.:21:18.

issues. 1.8 billion cups. feedback we have been having is it

:21:18.:21:24.

is possible to accommodate people in revised accommodation. Of course,

:21:25.:21:29.

we do not want to make people homeless. Half of the councillors

:21:29.:21:33.

who were asked said they are concerned that in your emotive

:21:33.:21:37.

language, they would be turfed out into the streets. We do not

:21:37.:21:44.

believe... Are the council has not telling the truth? There have been

:21:44.:21:48.

charities which have said that their definition of homelessness is

:21:48.:21:53.

not the same one that your eye would be applying. Very, very

:21:53.:21:58.

briefly, Hilary Benn, your thoughts on this? I think there is genuine

:21:58.:22:02.

concern about what the impact of this will be. I am not convinced

:22:02.:22:10.

that the government has thought through the context of this. I

:22:10.:22:13.

think we should listen very carefully to those who have

:22:13.:22:17.

expertise, particularly in relation to those who are vulnerable and say,

:22:17.:22:20.

has the government really thought this through? Are people not going

:22:20.:22:24.

to end up on the streets because we do not want to go back to what it

:22:24.:22:29.

was like in the 1980s when we last had a Conservative government.

:22:29.:22:33.

Now, are you nostalgic for the smoke filled rooms of the past? I

:22:33.:22:37.

didn't think so. We are not talking at last year's coalition

:22:37.:22:42.

negotiations either. A cross-party group of MPs want the government to

:22:42.:22:47.

review the complete ban on smoking in pubs and clubs. They say the ban

:22:47.:22:52.

has hit licensed premises, 7% of which have closed in the three

:22:52.:22:55.

years since the ban came in. Whether there is a link is another

:22:55.:23:00.

matter. I am joined by the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming. Thanks

:23:00.:23:05.

for joining us. I am in the hot seat at the moment! If it sets on

:23:06.:23:13.

fire, and I allowed to stand up? don't think so. Let's get to the

:23:13.:23:16.

first question. The smoking ban, the Office of National Statistics

:23:16.:23:20.

brought out a poll in March of this year and they said City 3% of

:23:20.:23:28.

smokers want to give up smoking, 81 % of smokers want to -- 81 set of

:23:28.:23:34.

the public agree with smoking ban. Why change it? When I voted for the

:23:34.:23:38.

smoking ban, I argued there was a logic of having some smoky rooms

:23:38.:23:43.

with proper ventilation. What we have our ramshackle sheds in

:23:43.:23:48.

gardens. For me as a non-smoker, it would be nice to go into the garden

:23:48.:23:52.

of a pub and not breathing smoke. Eight get silly when you have these

:23:52.:23:57.

ramshackle devices, he did with these very environmentally

:23:57.:24:05.

unfriendly heating devices. Your visual exercise off the bar full of

:24:05.:24:11.

smoke is not what is proposed, it is ventilated smoking rooms.

:24:11.:24:18.

you sure the impact is as wide as you suggest? A Department of Health

:24:18.:24:23.

report said implementation had gone well, 41 % reported a positive

:24:23.:24:29.

impact on the company, only 3% negative. Generally, it has been

:24:29.:24:33.

good. I support the general smoking ban. I think there is an argument

:24:33.:24:37.

for having ventilated smoking ruins which is sort of what we are

:24:37.:24:42.

getting but it is a shambolic system at the moment where you have

:24:42.:24:46.

these lean tos and sheds in gardens and they are heated by heating the

:24:46.:24:50.

air. There has to be a better way than doing that. Although the

:24:50.:24:56.

smoking ban has caused problems, it is not just the smoking ban. For

:24:56.:25:00.

instance, the fact that people get very cheap alcohol from other

:25:00.:25:06.

places, that has an effect as well. You have to look at the issue of,

:25:06.:25:11.

do we accept the silly situation we have at the moment with shacks and

:25:11.:25:15.

strange marquees in gardens or should we say, let's be realistic,

:25:15.:25:19.

not around the Barca the visual you have got behind me would not be

:25:19.:25:25.

what we are talking about but why not consider the option of having

:25:25.:25:30.

ventilated smoking rooms? What about the staff who have to work

:25:30.:25:37.

there? You would not have the staff at the bar where there is smoke,

:25:37.:25:41.

they would be popping in and out of the room. For people like me who

:25:41.:25:45.

are non-smokers it would be nice to go into a pub and not go through a

:25:45.:25:50.

gaggle of smokers at the entrance. Thank you and thank you for being a

:25:50.:25:56.

good sport. It did not set on fire so I am quite happy! Green screens

:25:56.:26:01.

are good things! OK, don't get carried away.

:26:01.:26:06.

Where are you on this, Hilary Benn? I voted on the smoking ban and I

:26:06.:26:11.

would leave it as it is. As John has said, there are gardens. People

:26:11.:26:16.

have made their own arrangements. People have found their way around

:26:16.:26:19.

it. There are bigger changes affecting people in pubs and clubs,

:26:19.:26:23.

including the availability of much cheaper alcohol in supermarkets.

:26:23.:26:27.

There has been a move away from pubs, I'm not sure you can get a

:26:27.:26:32.

link between pub closures and the smoking ban? I don't think that is

:26:32.:26:36.

the only factor. It may be a factor in part but the overwhelming

:26:36.:26:40.

evidence of the benefit of the smoking ban, the damage it has cost

:26:40.:26:45.

the NHS, I stand by what I did when I voted for it. And you voted for

:26:45.:26:50.

it as well? No, I did not. My understanding is the government do

:26:50.:26:55.

not wish to review this. I voted against the smoking ban because and

:26:55.:27:01.

the end, I was unhappy about telling people what they should do.

:27:01.:27:05.

One of the things that was an overriding argument for many people

:27:05.:27:09.

is as Hilary described, the staff and the health of the staff which

:27:09.:27:13.

is something I had to wrestle a bit. If the opportunity arose again, I

:27:13.:27:18.

would think hard how I would vote in future. Time to pick you out of

:27:18.:27:23.

your misery. We can give you the Guess The Year answer. Castro

:27:23.:27:29.

taking power was a clue, so was the British Collection and the opening

:27:29.:27:37.

of the M1. It was a 1951 -- the British election. The Tories' won

:27:37.:27:42.

by a landslide. It is a while since you have won by a landslide, choose

:27:43.:27:51.

the winner. Who reads it out? read it out. In case you read the

:27:51.:28:00.

address, we will all be in jail. Chris Sauber from London, you are

:28:00.:28:10.

the one. He was playing the piano in that clip? Maybe it was Russ

:28:10.:28:15.

Conway. We can showed pictures from Greece. There is a lot of violence

:28:15.:28:20.

and tear gas. We are told the vote itself will not come in the

:28:20.:28:29.

parliament until at least another 20 minutes. The BBC News Channel

:28:29.:28:35.

and BBC News will give you that result. Tune in for that. Very

:28:35.:28:39.

nasty scenes of the right place outside the Greek parliament.

:28:39.:28:44.

That is it for today. Thank you for our guests, Hilary and neck. We

:28:44.:28:48.

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