07/07/2011 Daily Politics


07/07/2011

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Good afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Every day, it

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seems to get worse and worse. Just when you think they have plumped

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the very depths, there is another revelation. Today, we discover that

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the families of British forces who died in action may have had their

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mobiles hacked by the News of the World. If it follows yesterday's

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news that they were listening in to Milly Dowler's mobile and

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allegations they were paying police officers to give information.

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will have the latest developments. David Cameron chaired cabinet this

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morning in cabinets -- Downing Street. What inquiries will we have

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into this and will any of the mud end up sticking to him?

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All of that in the next half-hour. With us for the whole programme

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today is the businessman, entrepreneur and Dragon, James Caan.

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We will get on to the big story of the day, phone hacking, in just a

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moment. I can tell you that the Bank of England is leaving interest

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rates unchanged. It is not a big surprise, James, but how one feels

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about interest rates depends how you are in the economy. If you a

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saver, you like them to go up, and if you are a businessman, you would

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like them to stay where they are. This is the 28th month in a row

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where interest rates have stayed where they are. From an economic

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perspective, it is the right decision because the UK economy is

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still struggling along but you cannot afford a risk to put the

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interest rates up now. It would not be the right decision. Would you go

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as far as the Institute of Directors who say they will freeze

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them for the year? The problem is the economy is so volatile. With

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the crisis in Greece and the Middle East crisis, that our acts around

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the world which need to be controlled. If you can predict

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those you would have a blanket statement. For the Bank of England,

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it is better to have the flexibility to move when they need

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to. Do you think interest rates are something which can control

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inflation? There is a discussion about how much they are of a useful

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tool. The Bank of England had predicted inflation at 2%, it is

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currently running at 4.5 %. Consumer spending has dropped

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considerably. It has resulted in High Street brands like Habitat and

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Jane Norman collapsing. I do not think the answer is to increase

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interest rates because you will impact economic growth which right

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now, I think is more important. you worried about what is going on

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in Europe? I think we are all concerned. Right now, economically,

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we cannot afford the euro to collapse. The events around Greece

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and Ireland have sent shockwaves around the economy because the euro

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is such a critical part of global business today that you have one of

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these countries collapsing, and let me tell you, it will have a

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profound effect on everybody else. James, thank you. Stay with us

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because you are talking about things which have had a profound

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effect. I cannot remember a story which has had such a big impact on

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what we do and how we do it. The phone hacking row is one of those

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things which is not going away. It was our lead story yesterday and

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again today. The Times reports that five journalists and newspaper

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executives suspected of involvement in this scandal are expected to be

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arrested in the next few days. In last night's debate in the House of

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Commons, the anger on the backbenches was very plain for all

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to see. Managerial and executive negligence

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is tantamount to complicity in this case. I believe that if Rebekah

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Brooks had a single shred of decency, she would now resign. God

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knows, if it was a minister that were in the spotlight at the moment,

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she would be demanding their head on a plate. Were they to apply to

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run a minicab firm in London, they would not receive a licence. If

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they are not fit and proper people to run a mini cab firm, how can

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they be a fit and proper out fit to take over a monopoly of a whole

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television channel. I have to say, the relish with which the

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revelations have been greeted by some seeking to take on the Murdoch

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empire or engage in political pot shots strikes me as opportunistic.

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The Sun newspaper was out of control when it printed blatant

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lies about Hillsborough. News International lied to the country

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in 1989 and it seems it distil lying to the country now. I really

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do hope on Sunday the News of the World gets its real punishment with

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a complete and total slump in sales. Mr James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks

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now have to accept their culpability and they will have to

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face the full force of the law. Their behaviour to the most

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vulnerable, their knowledge of law- breaking and their failure to act,

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their links with the criminal underworld, their attempt to cover

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up law-breaking and pay for people's silence, tell world all we

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need to know about their character. So that was the Commons yesterday.

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For the latest we can cross to Jo Coburn. What has been happening

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today? There have been a number of things. There has been political

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reaction and shock to the allegations you mention that the

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beginning. Allegations that the mobile phones of families of

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Britain's war dead may have been hacked into. They are just

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allegations reported by the Telegraph. That could indicate

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spreading the net even wider. In terms of the inquiries that have

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been talked about, it now seems likely that the government will

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announce some sort of judge led inquiry into the police handling of

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the original inquiry into police hacking and the relationship with

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the media. It has not been confirmed but we have heard from

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sources at Number Ten, the Deputy Prime Minister has talked about it,

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we have had the Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for it and in the

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House of Lords in the last half an hour, Baroness Rawlings seemed to

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imply that would happen. Along with that it would mean witnesses would

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be compelled to appear and swear under oath. That would be almost

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like a court, if you like. We would have to wait and see in terms of

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timing. There may be another inquiry into the media itself, into

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the ethics of the media, a broader investigation and again, that has

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yet to be confirmed. The Labour leader in the House of Lords asked

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a question calling for the suspension of consideration by the

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government into the takeover by BSkyB by News Corporation. The

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response from the government was a consultation on that by the

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Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt finishes tomorrow and then there

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would be time and the words were, he will not rush to make his

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decision, because the last thing he will want to do is make a decision

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in this current climate. Interesting, thank you.

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We are joined now by the Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne and the

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Conservative MP, Damian Collins, a member of the Culture and Media

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Select Committee. David Cameron is in the sewer because of his News

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International friends, the Prime Minister has been horribly

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compromised, irrevocably damaged, these are your words. You put in

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the boot into the Prime Minister, does he deserve it? The tragedy for

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David Cameron is he got far too close to News International. He

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made a terrible decision. He was warned against it. He was told what

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Andy Coulson had done, he was the former editor of the News of the

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World, and he made him his director of communications. Then he

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developed and fostered this close relationship with Rebekah Wade, the

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frankly disgusting woman who is chief executive of News

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International, who herself was chief executive of the News of the

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World, and has brought out these disgusting revelations we have

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heard over the last few days. David Cameron has lost any moral sense.

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He can recover up to a point if he handles this problem properly,

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ethically and honourably. These are allegations as yet. There have been

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denied so find yet you are talking about and incestuous collection of

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power-hungry, a moral Londoners, is it just the preserve of David

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Cameron that he was close to these people or was he doing what

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everybody was doing at the time? You and I have different values. I

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believe that a British Prime Minister should not associate with

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cheap and shoddy people, let's name them. Rebekah Brooks, the chief

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executive of News International, Matthew Freud, the spare man,

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Elisabeth Murdoch, James Murdoch who signed the hush money deal to

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keep people quiet. This is the Prime Minister degrading himself,

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associating with this wretched set of a moral Londoners around

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Chipping Norton. It is not what we expect from a Conservative Prime

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Minister. Let's turn to our conservative friend Damian Collins,

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how much of this mud sticks? I read Peter's article. I enjoyed his rich

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use of language but I am angry about the disgusting allegations

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that have been made, the awful charges which are there which I

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think everybody in the country is angry about. My judgment is, what

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action is the Prime Minister taking? The government is committed

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the fact that the Metropolitan police have not put the resources

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behind this. The reason there has been a drip, drip, drip of new

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allegations is because this was never properly investigated.

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you interested in what is to be done about this? The Prime Minister

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was asked directly yesterday to distance himself from Rebekah

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Brooks, to call for her head on a plate, Ed Miliband had no

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hesitation in doing that, your leader did not. He is quite clear

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that if the charges against Rebekah Brooks are brought and successfully,

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it is not just the case of her resigning from her post, but facing

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prosecution. The Prime Minister has made it clear that these are

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discussed in allegations. I don't think anyone would argue that these

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are discussed in allegations. Nobody would say it was a good

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thing to hack into the phone of a dead girl. But the question Peter

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Oborne is posing, why is he not do more to name names when the Leader

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of the Opposition has no problem in doing that? The problem is, for any

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Prime Minister, when put these questions, they do not just give a

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personal view, they say what the government will do about it. And as

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Prime Minister, what is the best action to restore confidence in the

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country and that is what he has done. The failure to show any kind

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of moral leadership in this is what is so disgraceful with David

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Cameron. At every stage, he has been behind the curve. He hired

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coarsen but only when the revelations about what had happened

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was Andy Coulson had to go. Ed Miliband has called for Rebekah

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Brooks to consider her position. The Prime Minister is behind the

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curve, he is backing Rebekah Brooks. He is morally revolting. I don't

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think you can say he is backing Rebekah Brooks. He was very clear

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about the process and if she is part of the process, she will have

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to go. I want to bring Ben Bradshaw into this. He was Culture Secretary

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under the last Labour government. It is hard for you to claim the

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moral high ground here because for such a long time, it was Labour

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backbenchers, the Guardian which was talking about this and they

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were doing it in isolation. I did not hear the Labour leader talking

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about that them? We had a discussion in Cabinet about whether

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to have a public inquiry and as Alan Johnson made clear in the

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Commons yesterday, that was blocked by the police and Gordon Brown had

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the added political difficulty that he was seen as a weakened Prime

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Minister. If he had gone down that route they would have been a hail

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storm from the Murdoch press and the other hostile media that we

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were trying to find a diversion. I think the important thing now is

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that the government must stop this takeover of BSkyB by News Corp. In

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an -- the consultation finishes tomorrow. It would be completely

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disgraceful to waive this through as the Prime Minister and Jeremy

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Hunt have said they would do. will come in to the BSkyB takeover

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in a moment but isn't it nonsense for a leader to stand up in the

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Commons and say how disgusted he is when he also beats a path to News

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International. He was at the same garden parties as David Cameron.

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Every Prime Minister has to lead -- every Prime Minister and leader has

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to meet a leaders of the media. There is a difference between that

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and going hunting, shooting and fishing with Rebekah Brooks and the

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county set. Do you spread the Meyer further? Ben Bradshaw is being

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entirely disingenuous here. Ed Miliband attended the party in full

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knowledge that two criminal investigations were going on into

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News International. The idea that he would do that with any business

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shows Ben Bradshaw has lost any What should happen next with the

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BSkyB takeover? Because of the issues of phone hacking, some

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people are saying we should refer to the Competition Commission. You

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refer to them if there are competition grounds of media

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plurality that you have to investigate. The issue here is the

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fit and proper person test. His Rupert Murdoch fit and proper to

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take this on? Ofcom can draw on this at any time, today, tomorrow,

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after the merger if it goes ahead. A do we need an inquiry with a

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judge and bonuses? What would be satisfactory? You would expect an

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independent judge to lead it. the accusation that you have lost

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the plot on the subject of Ed Miliband's relationship with them,

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what do you say to that? It is very different to that of David Cameron,

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who is close friends with these people. It is not good enough to

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pass the buck to Ofcom. Jeremy Hunt should have preferred this to the

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Competition Commission originally. I would have done this and we said

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we would when we were in Government. News Corporation conveniently

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delayed the application until the change in Government, knowing that

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Jeremy Hunt would have waved it through. Busy ducking the issue?

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believed in summary decision making. Jeremy Hunt has to apply the legal

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process. He said he was minded to refer it. I think there are good

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reasons why he might consider he did not need to refer it on

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competition grounds. The issue of the fit and proper person test is

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different. What would you do in a position of the culture secretary

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with a takeover like this in the offing? One of the things that

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concerns me slightly is how much control you want one organisation

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to have over British media in this country. Already he is in charge of

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the Sun, News of the World, Sky. I think that we are sitting back and

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allowing somebody to have too much control. I think it is not just a

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competition issue but a monopoly issue. We will leave it there.

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Thank you to Ben Bradshaw and Peter Tobin. Please e-mail and send us

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your comments. The last entrepreneurial thing I

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did was Selside photographs of Andrew, which did not go very well.

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-- sells signed photographs of Andrew. The Government wants more

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of us to be entrepreneurs, but who is responsible for that? The

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Government, the Apprentice or Dragons' Den? We have been watching

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business television to find out. other dragons. Five of Britain's

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wealthiest and most enterprising business leaders. They have rake in

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millions in pounds and viewers another but entrepreneurship into

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prime time. The Government wants to turn the entire country into an

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enormous version of Dragons' Den. At the moment around a quarter of a

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million new businesses are created every year, and increasing that

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number is a key part of the coalition's plan for recovery.

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need to see a country where businesses are starting up on every

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street in every town, where entrepreneurs are everywhere. Where

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economic dynamism isn't just about tycoons in glass towers, but about

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men and women who start small but think big. The dragons that sit in

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these chairs have serious power to make or break an entrepreneur of by

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deciding whether to invest in them or not. The Government has far less

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power than that. According to the serial entrepreneur behind

:17:52.:17:56.

megabucks brands like Pizza Express. The Government can get out of the

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way, deregulate, create a healthy tax environment, and to a degree

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can encourage through promoting role models. But ultimately it is

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about thousands of individuals making independent decisions.

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instead David Cameron is relying on the founder of start-up Britain, a

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scheme which allows things like discounted broadband and mentoring

:18:24.:18:29.

for small businesses, run by the private sector. The one to see more

:18:29.:18:33.

positive signals around entrepreneurship in Britain. -- we

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want to see. You can go to any careers fair and see Starting Your

:18:38.:18:45.

Own business as an option that has not looked down on, or seen as an

:18:45.:18:53.

intolerable risk. Something anyone can can sow -- can consider.

:18:53.:18:57.

that means creating a culture of enterprise. Does that mean that the

:18:57.:19:02.

dragons in the down have more power than the ministers in the Cabinet?

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Four of James? That is terrifying! That film makes a good point. Being

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an entrepreneur is not actually an option. It is not something that we

:19:13.:19:16.

encourage young people to think about as an option. When you talk

:19:17.:19:19.

to young people, the idea of being an entrepreneur is always something

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someone else should do. It is not an obvious choice, like being a

:19:25.:19:28.

doctor or an accountant. But if you look at the impact that

:19:28.:19:32.

entrepreneurship has on the economy, you know, we have in this country

:19:32.:19:41.

for 0.9 million businesses today that are qualified as small and

:19:41.:19:45.

medium-sized businesses. If you get them to just tier one person each,

:19:45.:19:51.

you would eradicate unemployment. - - hire one person each. The impact

:19:51.:19:57.

on the economy is massive, so why are we not doing more? Getting

:19:57.:20:00.

schools and colleges to have entrepreneurship opportunities,

:20:00.:20:03.

encouraging young people? I passionately believe it is the

:20:03.:20:08.

future of this country. Margaret Thatcher's description was this is

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a nation of shopkeepers. That concept of entrepreneurship is

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critical to what we do. You want to know why we don't do more. We are

:20:17.:20:21.

obviously getting something wrong. What is it? Do we not have the

:20:21.:20:24.

right environment for them to flourish in? Do we not support them

:20:24.:20:30.

long enough one they are starting out? Are the sort of people that

:20:30.:20:32.

entrepreneurs are the kind of people but of self- drivers, that

:20:32.:20:38.

don't want any help, that don't take no for an answer? What are we

:20:38.:20:42.

getting wrong? I will give credit where it is due and the current

:20:42.:20:47.

Government is doing a lot. Whether it is backing enterprise, Start-up

:20:47.:20:52.

Britain, the recent website set up for mentors, where the banks have

:20:52.:20:57.

got together to give support. The Government has launched a �2

:20:57.:21:02.

million fund to invest in small businesses. There is the enterprise

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loan guarantee scheme. There are a number of initiatives and I have

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met a number of people that have said they can now raise capital to

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start businesses because of these facilities that are available. I

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think it is more the grass roots level, to get the concept amerced

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in people's minds. Like when you are 16, you are thinking about

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being a doctor or an accountant, so we need to introduce the idea

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earlier so more people take it up. If you are facing a safe bet, about

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to leave school or university, and you are trained in an industry that

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already exists, on the other hand, what might put people off is the

:21:43.:21:48.

economic climate that we are in. don't agree with that. If you are

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an entrepreneur, whether the market was good or bad, you are or you are

:21:51.:21:57.

not. When I started out, the odds were stacked against me. When Lord

:21:57.:22:01.

Sugar started out, the odds were stacked against him. It is not the

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environment that makes too successful, but you drive and

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passion, which is what you should focus on.

:22:08.:22:12.

Here is a question for you. Who holds the real power in this

:22:12.:22:21.

country? Who holds the power when deciding a general election? It is

:22:21.:22:31.
:22:31.:22:32.

not the man, but the girls. I have dispatched my man's to the board.

:22:32.:22:37.

Tories used to say that women were their secret weapon, but I don't

:22:37.:22:43.

mean Maggie. The secret to Tory success has been their appeal to

:22:43.:22:48.

women voters. The fact that more women voted for the party than men

:22:48.:22:53.

when the party was winning outright majorities. Stay with me.

:22:53.:22:57.

Historically the Tories had been billed on girl power. I mean not

:22:57.:23:03.

enough girls=no power. It is said that if women had not been given

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the vote, Labour would have won every election from 1945 to 1979.

:23:10.:23:15.

Let's look at the figures. In the 1979 election, the Conservatives

:23:15.:23:21.

had a staggering 12% point lead among women, putting Maggie in

:23:21.:23:29.

Number 10. By 1992, the Tories still had the result 10 percentage

:23:29.:23:35.

points over Labour, which delivered John Major. But in 2005, Labour won

:23:35.:23:38.

the women's vote by six points, keeping Tony Blair in Downing

:23:38.:23:44.

Street. The lead is important but it is coming down. In 2010, David

:23:44.:23:49.

Cameron secured the four point victory among women, which was

:23:49.:23:53.

smaller than his majority among men, which denied him an overall

:23:53.:24:02.

majority. They latest opinion poll suggests that twice as many voters

:24:02.:24:05.

think Labour best understand women compared to the Tories. That could

:24:05.:24:13.

be a problem. You did that very well! Peter,

:24:13.:24:16.

should the Conservatives really be worried about this dip in support

:24:16.:24:20.

from women? I think they should be. If one takes the recent phenomena,

:24:20.:24:25.

there is no point worrying about what happened 50 years ago, what

:24:25.:24:30.

the opinion poll at surveyors think is that women are more nervous

:24:30.:24:39.

about the economy, family income is, at about jobs, than the men. These

:24:39.:24:42.

people are feeling insecure during the slow recovery from recession.

:24:42.:24:47.

That is more strongly felt among women than men and is translating

:24:47.:24:51.

into a greater swing since the election to Labour among women.

:24:51.:24:55.

it is feeling things more acutely than caring about so-called women's

:24:55.:25:00.

things? Yes. There is some mythology. On most things, women

:25:00.:25:05.

and men have roughly the same views. Looking at our data, there are two

:25:05.:25:14.

things where they are experiencing divergence. One of them is Libya.

:25:14.:25:19.

With issues of war, men are more than Hove than women. That is

:25:19.:25:25.

playing into it. It is principally in security. How worried are you,

:25:25.:25:30.

Harriet? We recognise the coalition Government inherited a dire

:25:30.:25:34.

economic situation and economic issues will be at the forefront for

:25:34.:25:38.

both women and men. The steps we are taking this year are very much

:25:38.:25:42.

to do with getting the deficit under control. Are you worried

:25:42.:25:46.

about losing the support of women? I don't want an assessment of the

:25:46.:25:50.

economy. How are you are addressing it? All politicians won support

:25:50.:25:56.

from women and men, of course they do. Let's look at some of the

:25:56.:26:00.

issues that drain support. Raising the pension age for women, cutting

:26:00.:26:04.

child benefit, Ken Clarke appearing to so that some RECs were less

:26:04.:26:09.

serious than others. Even David Cameron are saying calm down, dear.

:26:09.:26:15.

These have not helped your cause. If you would like me to tackle some

:26:15.:26:19.

of those in turn. Child benefit, correct. 90% of child benefit is

:26:19.:26:25.

received by women and I am one of those women. I am making �65,000 a

:26:25.:26:29.

year, a higher-rate taxpayer, why in straitened times would money be

:26:29.:26:34.

given to women like me? It is right that we look at higher rate

:26:34.:26:39.

taxpayers as an area where we can reduce spending. Do women feel

:26:39.:26:43.

justifiably pummelled by recent legislation? Clearly I think it has

:26:43.:26:47.

been controversial but I agree with Harriet that there are two asides

:26:47.:26:51.

to the coin. If from an economic point of view you are saying that

:26:51.:26:54.

we need to cut spending because the Government does not have any cash,

:26:54.:26:59.

they need to look at the options available, and you are a higher

:26:59.:27:09.
:27:09.:27:09.

rate earned and you frankly don't need it, then is -- it is prudent

:27:09.:27:15.

to look at it. We are lifting people out of income tax altogether.

:27:15.:27:18.

Because women make less than men on average, sadly, that benefits more

:27:18.:27:23.

women than men. When we have had Women's organisations on the show,

:27:23.:27:27.

they always say that they care about the same things that are in

:27:27.:27:32.

the top 10 concerns of the populace. Are we unique in that? In America,

:27:32.:27:36.

it do women have different concerns? It is strikingly

:27:36.:27:43.

different in America. Traditionally women asked more conservative than

:27:43.:27:53.
:27:53.:27:53.

men. Women are more Democrat than men in the United States. Barack

:27:53.:28:01.

Obama had a huge amount of support from women. In Britain we have a

:28:01.:28:11.
:28:11.:28:11.

male motorist union tradition. -- Labour wrist. Thank you. As usual

:28:11.:28:17.

we did not have the chance to pick our guess the year winner. The

:28:17.:28:21.

answer was 1985, and I know you all were screaming the answer. Can you

:28:21.:28:31.
:28:31.:28:34.

pick the winner? And the winner is... Nystatin bass from Britain.

:28:34.:28:38.

For Andrew has been missing today but he will be back tonight for

:28:38.:28:43.

Families of British forces who died in action may have had their mobiles hacked by the News of the World. The revelation follows Wednesday's news that the paper's operatives were listening to Milly Dowler's mobile, and allegations they were paying police officers to give them information.

The latest comes live from Downing Street, where David Cameron is chairing a Cabinet meeting. The interest rate decision will be announced as the programme goes on air at 12.00pm.

With Anita Anand and Giles Dilnot for the whole programme is the businessman, entrepreneur and Dragon James Cann. Andrew Neil has the morning off but he's back in the evening for This Week, where he will be joined by Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo on the sofa, and by Max Clifford, who will defend Rebecca Brooks.


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