09/09/2011 Daily Politics


09/09/2011

With predictions for the global economy going from gloomy to gloomier, the chancellor sends a defiant message to those urging him to change course. Jo Coburn presents.


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Hello and welcome to The Daily Politics. As predictions by the

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global economy go from a punitive being near, the Chancellor's sense

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a defiant message on his plans to reduce the deficit. We will stick

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to the death as the plan we have set out. It is the rock of

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stability upon which our recovery is built. As UKIP's leader Nigel

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Farage prepares to address his party conference, we will ask him

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if he will make common cause with Tory Euro-sceptic backbenchers.

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As the Greens gather for their own conference, how are their polities

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going down in Brighton and Hove? Banning bacon sandwiches was not

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universally popular. It is a traditional, manual work for us and

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they like their eggs and bacon and all the trimmings that go with that.

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Hopefully after a full breakfast are Mehdi Hasan from the New

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Statesman, and Sarah Sands from the Evening Standard.

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Later today finance ministers will meet in my say to discuss how to

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deal with an economic crisis that seems to be deepening by the date.

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They have got their work cut out. Yesterday, the OECD released

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figures predicting the group of the seven largest economies will grow

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by just 0.2%, with Britain growing by 0.3% over the same time. The

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Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls used the figures to criticise the

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Government's approach to fixing the economy and said it had a reckless

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policy that is hurting, but clearly not working. However, this morning,

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George Osborne insisted his deficit reduction plans were right. We will

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stick to the plan we have set out. It is the rock of stability on

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which our recovery is built and it has delivered record low interest

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rates. Abandoning that it would put those interest rates at risk.

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Nothing would be more damaging for Britain at this fragile moment for

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the world's economy that an increase in mortgage rates for

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families and an increase in the cost of borrowing for businesses.

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On the other side of the Atlantic, President Obama has announced a

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$450 billion package which he hopes will create jobs and boost the

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economy. It includes tax cuts to help small businesses, funding for

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infrastructure businesses, and cash worth emergency services workers.

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Last night, he claimed the plans would give a much needed boost to

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the American economy. The purpose of the American jobs act is simple,

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to put more people back to work, and more money in the pockets of

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those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction

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workers, teachers, veterans, and the long-term unemployed. It will

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provide a jolt to the economy that has dolls and give people

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confidence if they invest and higher, there will be customers for

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their products and services. From the most powerful man in the world

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to one of the biggest brains in the BBC, let's get some analysis from

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the BBC's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders. President

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Obama's approach is totally different to George Osborne's. He

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says he is sticking to his austerity plan. Are there any signs

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that other countries and the IMF are beginning to turn away from the

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Chancellor's approach? Certainly Christine Lagarde in the last few

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weeks has had a much more nervous tone about the global economy and

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she said explicitly that policy makers everywhere have to worry

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about letting their long-term need to cut the budget get in the way of

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short-term growth. She made a big point at the meeting this morning

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and she said, if you do not get Rose, nothing else will get fixed.

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A lot of people have wondered if this applies to the UK. She was

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pretty clear this morning and she said she thought there was room in

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the Chancellor's plan to respond to what is going on without needing to

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do anything different. There is one big difference with the US.

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Basically, George Osborne is going to borrow a lot more if we have

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slow-growth, whether he likes it or not. That is not the case in the US.

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A lot of states are having to balance their budgets and may end

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up cutting spending when the economy goes down. The President

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has had to offset that with all these stimulus packages. There is a

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difference between Britain and America. In terms of the language

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being used, Ed Balls has already picked up and interpreted Christine

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Lagarde's comments as saying George Osborne has to change direction.

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You are right, she said the policy is currently appropriate, but what

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you think she is really thinking? There is an interesting dynamic. A

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year ago, there was quite a debate when the new Government announced

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its austerity programme. There were a few people inside the IMF has

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said it was a little too tight and they were overruled and the IMF has

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consistently had the position that it was right, but you had to be

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aware and ready to respond to risks. That rhetoric has ratcheted up.

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Today she talked about having heightened readiness and an ability

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to be super ajar if things started to go wrong. Still she is speaking

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to the script, but the tone is changing will stop some people

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would say it is a bit strange to be constantly talking about being

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ready for the risks to materialise, when she is also saying they have

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already happened. If George Osborne and decides to do things

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differently, what leaders are at his disposal in terms of kick-

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starting the economy? Part of the problem and part of the gloom is

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that there are not a lot of leaders that any of these governments can

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pall. I think what he would emphasise, and the IMF, is that

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there is some flexibility inside his scheme. The borrowing will go

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up naturally. There is also the fact they are meeting their budget

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target earlier on the current plans. There is room for quite a lot of

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borrowing to happen without him being able to officially say he is

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going for a plan B. What is odd about the Chancellor is he is now

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public about the flexibility of his plan. He could have talked about

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that all along and he chose to give the impression it is more rigid

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than it is. My ad Hassan, nobody is really advocating that George

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Osborne abandons his policy of fiscal austerity, in broad terms.

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There are a lot of top economists who are saying that. Bring in a

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short term, fiscal stimulus. One of the economists who predicted the

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crash, said he has switched his position. In the F T, the bond

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market message is clear, borrow and spend. We have also heard that the

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markets are still very real Sjoerd by sticking to an austerity package.

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It is not true although parties want them to abandon it. The

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austerity plan is right. I think Stephanie is right to say we have

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to look at Christine Lagarde's remarks and the new ones in her

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comments. She does not denounce a Government's central policy, but

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she does a nimble, super a jar, height and readiness. She said,

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there are countries in the world under pressure from the bond

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markets and they have to consolidate now and fast. There are

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others who have got more scope for growth. President Obama has

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recognised that belatedly. But it did not work for him either? That

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is not true. Some people say the stimulus was not big enough. Should

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George Osborne changed direction? am tentative about saying we need

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one or the other. I think to abandon it at this stage would be

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not only politically unwise, but everyone would panic. To say, we

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will carry on, but we have a bit of flexibility. Since he raised

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interest rates, that is the branch we are hanging on to. There are

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some things that can be quite calming. But economists are divided.

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I agree economists are divided. What is interesting in recent weeks

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it is George Osborne's own supporters who are having their

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doubts. A couple of years ago they were attacking George Brown and

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Alistair Darling. But perhaps he can change things without

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announcing he is changing things. They have committed so hard and so

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firmly to this, they are saying it is the glue that keeps the

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coalition together. Why didn't Ed Miliband talk about the economy in

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Prime Minister's Questions? I don't know. Someone like me would say

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that Alistair Darling's position is not credible. I think trying to ape

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the Tories on cuts did not help Labour at all. Raising VAT, but VAT

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is one of the tax cuts they should make as Ed Balls is asking for now.

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Let's see if Ed Miliband chooses to go on it next week. Delegates to

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their UKIP's conference might be experiencing a sense of deja vu as

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they gather in is born today. Nigel Farage has called on Tory voters to

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abandon the Conservatives for his true party of Euro-scepticism and

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it has a familiar ring to it. It was UKIP that made the argument

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we should no longer be part of the European Union and we desperately

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need a referendum. We made it respectable and made it easier for

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people in the Tory party and the Labour Party to say the same thing.

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Presumably in the interests of Euro-sceptics, you would not run a

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UKIP candidate against any Conservative MP who holes those

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opinions. Let's wait and see how genuine those people are. Whilst

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there are good people standing up in the Conservative Party, the

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leadership of the Conservative Party are more committed to

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membership of the European Union and more committed to deny it as a

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referendum that ever before. That is the leadership. We are talking

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about 80 newly elected Conservative MP is forming a blog, music to your

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ears. You are not gonna stand UKIP candidates against them, are you?

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My job as leader of this party is for us to fight as many elections

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as we can at local, regional, national and international level.

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We are going in, getting ready for those elections with the intention

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of winning them and we will have up by that time 600 candidates

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selected to fight the next general election. The important thing is

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not what happens in individual constituencies, the important thing

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is we get this country a referendum. If Mr Cameron wants to damage the

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party Matt Burke, he can give us a referendum. But you are open to

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assessing how a serious these Conservative candidates are. We'd

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talked to some of them? Look, my commitment is to make UKIP a bigger

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political party than it is today given that everything we stand for

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it is in the mainstream. You are not answering the question. I think,

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one or two of these people in the Conservative Party ought to

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consider whether they are in the right party or not. They are doing

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their best to put pressure on their leader to change their policy. The

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best thing they can do is to come and join us. Have you talked to any

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of them? I am happy to meet people from the Conservative Party or the

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Labour Party who want the same things we want. You would not

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really, if you are thinking about the Botha, and the voters who wants

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to see Britain's relationship with Europe changed, they are hardly

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going to change UKIP the struggle to win elections, instead of a

:13:30.:13:33.

Euro-sceptic Conservatives. there is a sitting member of

:13:34.:13:37.

parliament for the Tory or Labour Party that openly says they want

:13:37.:13:42.

Britain to lead the European Union and renegotiate a genuine free

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trade agreement, of course I am open to talking to them. But when

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it comes to it, that 80 or so Euro- sceptics, I suspect the number that

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are committed to as leading is rather small. Let's look at UKIP.

:13:58.:14:02.

We have talked before about the party and its performance at local

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level. It does not have a great standing at local level and perhaps

:14:05.:14:11.

that is why it does not do so well nationally. It is interesting to

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look at the local elections that took place earlier this year. We

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stood in an 8th of the seats and got about a third of a million

:14:20.:14:26.

votes, the same pro-rata as we got in the European elections in 2009.

:14:26.:14:30.

More people who vote for us in Euro elections under PR are going out

:14:30.:14:35.

and voted for us under first past the post. It does not get us over

:14:35.:14:40.

the hurdle of first-past-the-post. In Cambridgeshire we have taken

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control of the council. There are one or two areas where we have put

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down good roots and we have built on it. We have yet under first past

:14:49.:14:54.

the post to make a breakthrough. When I first became leader in 2006,

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when people were asked how would they vote in a general election, it

:14:58.:15:05.

was below 1%. A poll two days ago put us at 7%. We are making good,

:15:05.:15:15.
:15:15.:15:17.

Your message is that the party has disappeared. Are you trying to

:15:17.:15:22.

bring it back by its seeming the political career of Neil Hamilton?

:15:22.:15:30.

For most of the history of UK up we had the Conservative Party in

:15:30.:15:37.

opposition. Just wait until David gets in. He will be a patriotic,

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Euro-sceptic Prime Minister. He is in. He has proved to be the most

:15:43.:15:47.

pro EU Prime Minister since Edward Heath. People who have put their

:15:47.:15:52.

faith in the Conservative Party and believe the promises of David

:15:52.:15:55.

Cameron, they are now feeling they have been let down like a cheap

:15:55.:16:02.

pair of braces. My argument is, if they believe those things we are a

:16:02.:16:06.

credible alternative for their vote. Bringing Neil Hamilton into the

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hierarchy of the party, will that really attract more members? Neil

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Hamilton joined the party in 2004 and has been a supporter ever since.

:16:17.:16:22.

He has decided to throw his hat into the ring and be a candidate

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for our national executive. If the membership of the party wanted to

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be part of the management team, he will be, if they do not, he will

:16:31.:16:37.

not. Let's go to the beginning of that interview in terms of

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relationship with Euro-sceptic Tory MPs. Is there a danger of them

:16:41.:16:51.
:16:51.:16:56.

standing against Euro-sceptic MPs or not? UKIP is a nutty Party. Way

:16:56.:17:02.

used to talk about little England in a derogatory term, now that

:17:02.:17:07.

feels as if we are away from the contagion of Europe. Europe is not

:17:07.:17:14.

a great place to be at the moment. Most Tories like power - all people

:17:14.:17:19.

like power. They are in government. They are not going to be suicidal

:17:19.:17:24.

about it. There is a taming effect of being in government. Does the

:17:24.:17:30.

party faced a big improvement in political fortunes? Bearing in mind

:17:30.:17:35.

that the issues of Europe are being raised now much more regularly by

:17:35.:17:40.

Tory MPs. The British public have never bought the idea of single

:17:41.:17:45.

issue parties. They might be singing with the tide of Euro-

:17:45.:17:50.

scepticism. It does not always benefit them. It helps them at

:17:50.:17:56.

European elections. Local and national are not the same break

:17:56.:18:01.

through. I think the person now lack credibility. David Cameron

:18:01.:18:05.

said they were a bunch of balloons and fruitcakes. They have a real

:18:05.:18:15.
:18:15.:18:16.

issue with that. Nigel Farage has been a more successful leader. Now,

:18:16.:18:18.

UKIP are not the only political party, whose faithful are gathering.

:18:18.:18:21.

The Greens assemble in Sheffield this weekend as a party of power

:18:21.:18:24.

after their victory in last May's council elections in Brighton and

:18:24.:18:28.

Hove. Adam Fleming has been back to the south coast to see how the

:18:28.:18:33.

Green Revolution is progressing. Join me on a pedal-powered tour of

:18:33.:18:37.

the first British city that is run by the Green Party. It does not

:18:37.:18:47.
:18:47.:18:51.

feel very different but the Greens They have saved this stretch of

:18:51.:18:55.

cycle path from being axed. They have plans to put solar panels on

:18:55.:18:59.

to the roots of schools and council houses. They have set up a

:18:59.:19:03.

commission to give low-paid council workers a living wage of at least

:19:03.:19:09.

�7.20 an hour. One policy has been dumped. Meat-free Mondays were

:19:09.:19:17.

piloted in a canteen and they decided it was a load of rubbish.

:19:17.:19:21.

Workers turned up first thing in the morning and found it was a meat

:19:21.:19:25.

free mandate in the canteen. Management gave no indication that

:19:25.:19:31.

was going to happen. There was no notice it was going to happen. It

:19:31.:19:35.

did not go down too well. There could be more back-pedalling. The

:19:35.:19:40.

party does not have a majority. It will have to compromise with Labour

:19:40.:19:46.

and the Tories. As I discovered, the opposition leaders do not find

:19:46.:19:51.

their Greens very appetising. Greens have said they want or

:19:51.:19:55.

developers of new buildings to incorporate rooftop allotments.

:19:55.:19:58.

There are very many people in Brighton and Hove that would like

:19:58.:20:03.

to own at a rave, never mind an allotment. You are going to be a

:20:03.:20:06.

crime that type of thing, wouldn't to be better to squeeze a couple

:20:06.:20:11.

more units of housing out of a developer instead of asking them to

:20:11.:20:19.

provide this type of gimmick? we saw quite early on was one

:20:19.:20:25.

Cabinet member welcoming demonstrations and welcoming a camp

:20:25.:20:29.

right on the main central gardens and saying this was the sort of

:20:30.:20:36.

protest that they welcomed. This protest was about unemployment in

:20:36.:20:40.

Spain. Brighton's business people are much more supportive of the new

:20:40.:20:44.

administration. Some warned may have got their work cut out.

:20:44.:20:50.

big challenges for them are to provide 6000 jobs just to stand

:20:50.:20:55.

still. Our population is growing. It is a young population. I think

:20:55.:20:59.

they will have to provide more affordable homes. They have their

:20:59.:21:03.

own priorities which are really bold. Making this the greenest city

:21:03.:21:08.

in the UK. The a six in the rankings so far. To go to the top

:21:08.:21:14.

will be a challenge. This comes with a price tag. Next it council

:21:14.:21:23.

tax is being put up by 3.5%. Joining us now is Green councillor

:21:23.:21:28.

Jason Kit Kat. On the front of the website it says there is a new

:21:28.:21:36.

party in town. You could end finishing that phrase by saying,

:21:36.:21:43.

they're going to put up taxes up by 3.5% as they are doing in Brighton.

:21:43.:21:47.

We are getting very harsh government imposed cuts. The

:21:47.:21:51.

feedback we got was they understood that choice and they wanted to

:21:51.:21:56.

protect frontline services. We can do our best to meet the challenge

:21:56.:22:00.

and we will do that in an open and inclusive way. When people are

:22:00.:22:04.

struggling in terms of meeting bills and spending, it will not

:22:04.:22:11.

help them, or will it? It is a difficult choice. It is a below

:22:11.:22:17.

inflation rate increase. We are a minority administration. We will

:22:17.:22:23.

need to discuss this with all parties. The advice is do not put

:22:23.:22:27.

up council taxes. The other a green agenda has been resisting all the

:22:27.:22:36.

cuts going. How is that going? wanted to resist cuts in a legally

:22:36.:22:41.

acceptable way. I have been to see local government ministers. I have

:22:41.:22:46.

a meeting Scheduled with Eric Pickles later. We are saying that

:22:46.:22:50.

Brighton and Hove is worse than the national average. We do not think

:22:50.:22:56.

that is fair. Is it fair to have that slogan? I think it is. The

:22:56.:23:00.

other parties do not seem willing to challenge the mainstream

:23:00.:23:04.

perspective that where these cuts are necessary, we do not think they

:23:04.:23:09.

are. One thing that was picked up, and there was little joke about it,

:23:09.:23:16.

meat-free Mondays, was that the really good use of your time?

:23:16.:23:19.

Exploring alternative opportunities in the canteens was part of our

:23:19.:23:24.

manifesto but it is not something we seek to impose. It was done in a

:23:24.:23:28.

small part of the council and it was not successful and we will

:23:28.:23:33.

focus on other policies like introducing a living wage for

:23:33.:23:37.

lower-paid council staff. We have positive things to spend our time

:23:37.:23:44.

on. To go back to your original plea, trying to attract Liberal

:23:44.:23:47.

Democrats. However sac going? The proof is in the pudding. It does

:23:47.:23:57.
:23:57.:23:59.

not seem to have happened. We have had a surge in membership. As you

:23:59.:24:06.

know, our support is geographically not very smooth. We have hot spots

:24:06.:24:14.

in certain areas was dog and London we have had a high profile. We are

:24:14.:24:18.

getting defections. It will be a slow process in a first-past-the-

:24:18.:24:24.

post world. Are you expecting had to be improved numbers? We hope so.

:24:24.:24:28.

We believe that Brighton and Hove is the first green run council and

:24:28.:24:34.

it is a sign of greater things to come. Time now to see what else has

:24:34.:24:39.

been going on in our round-up of the political week. After a sum up

:24:39.:24:44.

where nothing very much happened at all, MPs returned to Westminster

:24:44.:24:49.

this week to see a man in a bow-tie saying that plan A is not going

:24:50.:24:55.

entirely to plan. The leader of the opposition did not want to ask the

:24:55.:24:59.

Prime Minister about it. If isn't it interesting that he does not

:24:59.:25:05.

dare mention the economy? Did have something to do the memoirs of a

:25:05.:25:10.

former Chancellor? Former News International employees were doing

:25:10.:25:14.

their best to dish the dirt on James Murdoch. Conservative

:25:14.:25:18.

backbenchers have returned with a backbone, giving David Cameron a

:25:18.:25:22.

kicking over Europe. Will he listen to Conservative colleagues and take

:25:22.:25:27.

that opportunity to hold a referendum on Europe? Tory MPs

:25:27.:25:32.

wanted to know that he was showing Nick Clegg who was boss.

:25:32.:25:38.

honourable lady is frustrated about... Maybe I should start all

:25:38.:25:48.
:25:48.:25:49.

over again. Sarah Sands, was that sensible question but did it sound

:25:49.:25:55.

patronising? A little bit and chivalrous. Both he and George

:25:55.:26:00.

Osborne have to watch that a bit. They can be smirking schoolboys.

:26:00.:26:08.

She can be a difficult woman. It was a serious point she was making.

:26:08.:26:17.

I would have thought better not. It was a mistake of tone. It got him

:26:17.:26:24.

out of quite an awkward corner at the time. It was quite funny.

:26:24.:26:28.

has been coming after him. She had a go at him for bottling it and

:26:28.:26:35.

switching his position. She claimed that Evan Harris was holding the

:26:35.:26:39.

Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister hostage. No longer the

:26:39.:26:43.

Liberal Democrat MP he seems to have more power and influence as a

:26:43.:26:47.

back bench Liberal Democrat. They are not quite as powerful, or are

:26:48.:26:54.

they? They do seem to be bringing out, particularly some Conservative

:26:54.:27:00.

backbenchers, using this, as they see it, they are not sticking to

:27:00.:27:05.

the Government line, is it an opportunity to put pressure on?

:27:05.:27:12.

see this in offices as well. The troublemakers are ones that get

:27:12.:27:17.

more attention and more concessions. It is quite tempting. You used to

:27:17.:27:25.

be beaten up metaphorically by the whips. Let's not forget, the start

:27:25.:27:30.

of this parliament, has been a backbencher. That is Tom Watson. He

:27:30.:27:35.

will get a hero's welcome in Liverpool later this month. It is

:27:35.:27:38.

interesting to see, if we are seeing a revival of awkward

:27:38.:27:43.

backbenchers and awkward Select committees, that can only be a good

:27:43.:27:47.

thing. Has David Cameron got something to fear? If he handles it

:27:47.:27:54.

well, you never know how much he is giving people rope. He has a good

:27:54.:27:59.

sort of balance. He is very riskless. I would always back him

:27:59.:28:05.

on that. He does not seem to be frightening off the backbenchers.

:28:05.:28:09.

There are 80 in the Euro-sceptic group. Are we really going to go

:28:09.:28:14.

full circle and find ourselves again the Tory Party torn over

:28:14.:28:20.

Europe? Let see what happens at the party conferences. All that

:28:20.:28:25.

excitement to look forward to. That is all for this week. Andrew will

:28:25.:28:31.

Jo Coburn has the top political stories of the day. With predictions for the global economy going from gloomy to gloomier, the chancellor sends a defiant message to those urging him to change course.

As the party conferences get under way, the programme talks to UKIP leader Nigel Farage and visits Brighton to find out how the Greens are coping with the realities of power.

Jo also has the weekly round-up in 60 seconds, and she is joined in the studio by Mehdi Hassan from the New Statesman and Sarah Sands from the London Evening Standard.


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