Can Liam Fox survive the drip-drip of allegations? The studio guests are Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.
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Good morning folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Coling up in the
next -- coming up in the next 90 minutes, more questions for Liam
Fox about his personal life and the role of his friend, Adam Werritty.
Can the Defence Secretary survive this drip, drip, drip of
allegations? young people who are feeling the
brunt. We will look at why the so- called baby busters face an
uncertain future. The Human Rights Act is a threat to
the British way of life. But is it all a bit afcat flap?
-- of a cat flap. And have you ever one of these
through the post? Well, the Government could be making it
easier for private parking operators to fin you. We will --
fine you. We will ask the Transport Why indeed? It is the question of
the day. Coming soon!
Coming up in the next 90 minutes, with us for the duration, the newly
appointed Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham and arriving at high-
speed in his electric car, he is on time for one, the Transport
Secretary, Philip Hammond. Papers are full of the details of
Adam Werritty. The stories focus on the nature of Mr Mr Werritty's role
and he accompanied the minister on trips.
There are claims in the Sun newspaper that Conservative
spokesman misled journalists about the details of a break break-in at
Liam Fox's London flat. At the time it was reported from Fox was alone
when it was broken into. It emerges now and has been confirmed by Mr
Fox himself today that he had a male friend staying in his spare
room that evening. He denies it was Adam Werritty and he rejects any
suggestion that he sought to mislead the police about the
incident. Reporters caught up with him as he left London for a meeting
in Paris this morning. REPORTER: Should you resign?
should carry on doing the job that I'm meant to do, the job I'm
capable of doing. REPORTER: Don't the people deserve
answers to questions, Dr Fox? That's why we have an inquiry set-
Dr Fox, how was Adam Werritty paid? Dr Fox this morning. Philip Hammond,
who was funding Adam Werritty? don't know. I've read the same
speculation in the Press that you have done, but the Cabinet
Secretary is conducting an inquiry. The Prime Minister made it clear he
wants to know the facts and that inquiry will deliver him those
facts. Do we have the right to know who
was funding Mr Werritty? I think given the circumstances, we do need
to understand exactly what was happening, exactly how Mr Werritty
was funding his lifestyle and his trips and I'm sure that that will
come out in the course of the work that the Cabinet Secretary is doing.
And if he refuses to do so, is that not fatal for Dr Fox?
You're speculating here. My understanding is that Liam Fox and
Adam Werritty are collaborating fully with the inquiry that the
Permanent Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary... That's not my
understanding, Mr Hammond. I had spoken to someone who had spoken to
Mr Werritty as you know. He hasn't spoken himself, but I spoke to
someone last night and he made it clear to him he would not give the
names of those private individuals who have been funding him. Well,
look we're speculating now. No, no, that's not speculation.
We're speculating as to what is or isn't going to be disclosed in the
course of this investigation. Let me put it to you again. If the
information about who is funding Mr Werritty is not given by him, if he
refuses, is that fatal? Well, the Cabinet Secretary will make his
report. If his report indicates to the Prime Minister that important
pieces of information have been withheld, that will be a factor
that the Prime Minister will weigh- in making his decision.
Do you accept that someone who seems to be travelling around the
world with the Defence Secretary, who has constant access to the
Defence Secretary in his office here, who fixes up meetings for the
Defence Secretary, we have a right, do we not, in a democracy to know
who is bankrolling that individual. It maybe innocent. It may not be,
but the principle is we have a right, agreed? Well, Adam Werritty
clearly is a friend of Liam Fox. He met up with Liam Fox when he has
been abroad on official missions. I don't think it is right to say he
travelled with him. He met up with him.
On 18 occasions? He met up with him. He might not have been on the same
plane, but he must know where he is going.
He travelled separately to a destination and clearly, one of the
questions of legitimate public interest is how Adam Werritty's
business affairs work and whether they are in anyway linked to what
Dr Fox does and Dr Fox was very clear about this in his statement
in the House of Commons yesterday. Well, he wasn't clear. When asked
about the finances was that Mr Werritty was quote "not dependant
on any transactional behaviour to maintain his income." What does
that mean in English? He was not benefiting financially from any of
these meetings. I would understand it as he wasn't being paid per job,
but he could have been on a retainer? As opposed to a
transactional piece of income? Andrew, you are trying to second-
guess the questions that I'm quite sure the Cabinet Secretary will be
asking and will be reporting to the Prime Minister on. These are the
things that he will be wanting to get to the bottom of. Liam Fox has
admitted that he has made mistakes in allowing his personal
relationship to get too close to his professional duties. The
Cabinet Secretary has to confirm to the Prime Minister that there has
been no impropriety. You say that Liam Fox has been open
and honest, but the BBC put 17 questions to the Defence Secretary
such as if Mr Werritty isn't and never has been an adviser, why was
it necessary for him to sit in on political meetings abroad, such as
Washington, May, 2011. No answer. Well, I suspect... Does he have to
answer that? I don't think he has to answer it to the BBC. The
questions have to be answered in the context of the inquiry that the
Cabinet Secretary is answering. I don't think anybody has to subject
themselves to trial by media when there is a process being conducted
by the highest civil servant in the land who whose integrity and
determination to get to the facts is unimpeachable.
The ministerial rule book says it shouldn't be the Cabinet Secretary
doing that investigation? Well, the Labour Party called for Sir Gus
O'Donnell to investigate. The Prime Minister has asked Sir Gusto donl -
- Sir Gus O'Donnell to investigate. Why you call for Sir Gus O'Donnell
to investigate? I don't know. That's Jim Murphy would have to
confirm that. Is Dr Fox hanging by his
fingernails? I think he is. I don't take any great delight in saying
that, but I think he is. A day after, tw days after making a
statement in the Commons in you are still the centre of the storm, it
it starts to look difficult, indeed. There is just so many unanswered
questions here. At the beginning Liam Fox said these were wild and
baseless allegation. Well, clearly they weren't.
He has not dealt straight from the outset.
Mr Werritty will not tell us, the British people, through the Cabinet
second, or the -- Cabinet Secretary or the BBC or hover, where his
money comes from, isn't that fatal for the Defence Secretary? It has
got to be in the public domain. We have got to have a clear answer
about whether Mr Werritty profited from the meetings. We have to have
an answer to that question in clear terms.
We have to have an answer to that question. We clearly need, the
Cabinet Secretary to confirm ta Mr Werritty -- that Mr Werritty did
not profit from the meetings. That's clear. The sources of his
private income are not necessarily something that need to be...
can you tell he profited unless you know the source of his income?
Cabinet Secretary will need to know. He is attending 18 meetings around
the world, this is his business life was being involved in all this.
So clearly all of his private income income needs to be looked at.
We are speculate, but the Cabinet Secretary is a man of unimpeepable
integ gretty. It he comes to the conclusion there has been no ip
prop try tee, -- impropriety, I hope the Labour Party accept that.
But it will be the Prime Minister's's decision in the end.
Government ministers are warning that its shake-up of the NHS in
England could be killed off if members of the House of Lords get
their way this afternoon. Peers including Lord Owen, Lord Owen who
we spoke to yesterday tabled an amendment which would refer
discussion of one part of the Bill to a committee, a move which the
Government says puts the Bill at risk. Now we have the new Shadow
Health Secretary here. Have they brought you back in to save the
NHS? Well, I will do my best. But it is in peril. The NHS is in the
danger zone because of the decisions this Government has taken.
The great... But... The great mistake that Mr Cameron made was
allowing his Health Secretary to dig in with this unwanted and
dangerous reform when in fact the Health Service needed to be getting
on with the big big challenge it faces which is the financial
financial challenge. The combination of the financial
challenge with this reo means they plunge the NHS into chaos.
Well, you say that, except now, it is the case that Labour would back
GP commissioning if the Government drops its Bill is that right?
came into the job at the weekend and I wanted to move things on. I
wanted to make a genuine offer to Mr Lancely. When we were in the
Government, we wanted a greater role for clinicians. We had a
programme called Practise Based Commissioning. It was going to be
the hallmark of our next stage of reforms that we had clinicians for
involved. I have no objection to the principle. What I object to is
this Bill which goes way beyond that principle.
OK... And drives a coach and horses through the National Health Service.
The GP commissioning was very much the centrepiece of the reform and
now you're saying you back that centre piece of that reform so
you've changed the position. It was called an unnecessary top, down
reorganisation by Labour. Now you're saying as an offer, you're
going to back GP commissioning if the Government drops its Bill. You
back the reform? It is a constructive and genuine offer. Mr
Lansley is in a difficult position. He can't get his Bill through
Parliament. I came into the job at the weekend and I said, "The best
thing you could do for the NHS, if we were to put the NHS first, the
best thing to do is to drop the Bill altogether." And that's what
Labour peers will vote for today, but we don't want to plunge the NHS
into an abyss. Which it would. W-we will work with them to establish
GP-led comirking. -- commissioning. It was something I could have
supported when I was Health Secretary. What I am amazed by is
the reply I've had. I put the offer on the table and the offer still
stands. The Health Secretary has written back with a petulant rant...
Tell us what it said? It is unbelievable.
It said no, basically? He goes into a complete political rant. Given
where we are, you know, surely now people want to see politicians
working together for the good of the NHS. To have the the Health
Secretary so dug in this this way, so oblivious to what people are
saying, I can only take from this letter that he sent to me that the
man has lost the plot. Hang on Andy Burnham, you say he lost the plot,
but you are asking him to drop it which would plunge the NHS into
chaos? No, no, because GP-led commissioning can be implemented
through the current legal structure in the National Health Service. It
is quite possible, indeed it would be better for the NHS because you
could have it in place within weeks and you would make savings. You
would not have all the unnecessary costs of this reorganisation. That
is the offer. Mr Lansley should should accept it.
Andy Burnham is right, there has been this ruse that if the peers
don't go with the Government today, that it will kill off the Bill. It
won't kill off the Bill at all? would create a delay that would be
fatal. No, it wouldn't. No, it wouldn't,
Philip Hammond. Lord Owen said extra scrutiny of the Bill would be
done by December, plenty of time for it to complete its
Parliamentary passage. understanding from discussions I
had with the business managers in the House of Lords this would be
fatal to the Bill. It is a Parliamentary tactic.
Burnham talked about the threat to the NHS as he calls it. The the
real threat to the NHS is Labour's refusal, even now, to commit to the
additional funding that we have committed to the NHS. They would
take away still �30 billion over the lifetime of this... Can I
correct you? Can I correct you? Andy Burnham described as
irresponsible our commitment to ring-fence NHS funding.
A brief answer, Andy Burnham. I'm sorry, you better take that
back because I didn't. I did a deal before the election to secure the
front-line of the National Health Service. We secured the front-line
in the police and in in schools and the National Health Service. I said
I would spend some of that money, ring-fenced for the NHS on social
care because hospitals wouldn't function if Local Government was
stripped of the funds to help older people get out of hospital. I
suggested a transfer, at your Spending Review you did the same
thing. You are going to have to continue
this argument later on! Amp the After the programme. We have to ask
you whether you have to take it What was this about Chris Huhne
accusing you of speeding? He must read a piece in the Mail on Sunday,
which referred to the fact I had some now expired speeding points.
Haven't we all? Unfortunately Chris Huhne inserted the word "recent".
Did he not apologise? He has apologised to me, yesterday. I am
sure he has. Unemployment reached a 17 year high,
more joined the ranks of those out of work. Bringing the total to 2.5
It is more evidence of the continued poor performance of the
British economy, no sign of growth picking up. But there is one group
that seems to be suffering badly and that is the young. Youth
unemployment reached 900 -- 991,000. A worrying figure of a Government
that has pledged to end what David Cameron has called the scandal of
youth unemployment. The measure of unemployed 16-24 year olds is the
highest since current records began in 1992. Their long-term prospects
are also not good. A report yesterday claimed a generation of
"baby busters" born in 1993 will be 25% worse off than their parents.
This week TUC research also revealed that workers in the
lowest-income sectors are among the worst hit by recent unemployment,
including sales and bar staff. The riots this summer led some
commentators to claim that a lost generation is emerging. But the
Government has pledged action with work academies covering industries
such as construction and hospitality, offering training and
a guaranteed job interview at the end. The figure is slightly lower
than the predicted headache headline of 1 million, but that may
only be weeks away. I'm joined now by Matt Whale who is 19 and
unemployed. He's also one of the campaigners recreating the Jarrow
march of 1936 when over 200 men walked from the north east to
London to protest against unemployment and poverty. The
current march is making its way through Harley near Rotherham.
Thanks for joining us, how long have you been unemployed? I had
just finished a temporary job and before that I was eight months. For
over a year without long-term employment. We have outlined the
prospects which don't look great. We are looking at the figures,
coming up to a million. How do you friends and family feel about the
statistics? How worried are you? Everybody is worried, morale is low
with young people as it is. We have had tuition feels -- tuition fees
trouble. Another job situation for well-paid jobs is unattainable but
thousands of kids as well. We have absolutely no future at the moment.
What about the situation in Hull itself? What is happening in your
home town? David Cameron said we would see a situation where private
injury would take over from the public sector. 1000 jobs had just
gone from BAe Systems just outside of Hull. 1000 manufacturing jobs,
it means young people in the city had been given this opportunity to
get into work. We are the second highest for youth unemployment and
it will only rise would the current public sector cuts with the local
authority, the biggest employer in the regions. What do you want the
march to achieve? We want the reinstatement of the BMA and the
scrapping of tuition fees. Social housing to be built. Scrapping up
the work there schemes and the Academy's which had been announced
which will offer no future for young people. No guarantee jobs,
the reopening of youth services and the sustainable jobs to be created
rather than bailing out the banks. Philip Hammond, are we headed for 3
million unemployed? I hope not, these are disappointing figures.
But confidence in the economy, consumer confidence and investor
confidence has taken a massive knock as a consequence of what is
going on around the world, particularly the eurozone. Until we
have recovered their confidence we won't see the benefits coming
through up a stable platform that has been created by the plans to
reduce the deficit that had been set out and of working that had
interest rates at record lows. You need confidence to get economic
growth. These figures are already out of date, the in the take us to
August. Given what we know about the way the economy has not been
growing, is pretty clear that figures on already worse. It will
get worse before it gets better? are facing some tough times. And
the Chancellor made that clear. it will get worse before it gets
better? I won't predict where unemployment is going, Botnets not
used site of the context. We have 124,000 more full-time jobs in the
economy than we had this time last year. Although the current trend is
in the wrong direction, it is not entirely bad news. But not to keep
growth -- pace with the growth in the labour force. Private sector
job creation outpaced the private sector job losses until February.
What has gone wrong? Businesses in the UK have got cash. The they
won't invest it? They have large balances but they won't invest it
because of weak consumer demand and weak confidence. We have a climate
of uncertainty around the world. The Chancellor has said, the
eurozone needs to make a decision about what it's doing about Greece.
In needs to capitalise its bail-out fund, in needs to recapitalise its
banks in order to create the certainty that will allow business
confidence to be restored and investments to resume. At the most
economists will say it is going to get worse before it gets better.
That seems to be the trend and the growth. But the early heads up on
growth figures for this quarter, the third quarter, don't look great
either. Isn't this a global phenomenon to some extent? You can
criticise where the growth strategy is working or not, but throughout
the Western world there is an unemployment problem? It has been a
global crisis since 2007. A conveniently the Conservative said
it was domestic policy. Now they're saying it is the eurozone. The
crisis we have seen has developed over the summer. We're talking
about no growth in the economy for a year. Of course it has played a
part, but so have the decisions he you have taken. The decision to
scrap that you should jobs and has put people out of work. The
decision to remove the educational maintenance allowance has put
people out of education and training. The decisions have added
to these figures and when we said to far, too fast, that is what's we
meant. We always accepted there was an important global dimension to
what happened. A charge against the previous Government is they make
matters worse in the UK by irresponsible borrowing at the top
of the boom when they should have been repaying debt. Mr Cameron and
Mr Osborne called it a tough settlement, and they would be
sticking with those spending limits. You will wahhabism after the event.
-- you were wise after the event. Shall I give you that figures from
your Government? When you came to power, its �624,000 Best 6024000
out of work. And then it rose. did a lot during our time in
Government to get young people into education and youth unemployment
down. When the financial crash came, of course the numbers of young
people went up. Even before that you had not got back to the 1997
figure. We tried to get young people into jobs to help them.
is what we are doing. It's not a good time to be young and looking
for a job in Britain? Look at any country in Europe and use
unemployment is too high, in much higher percentages in other
countries. It is a serious problem, we are tackling it with 250,000
additional apprenticeships, technical training colleges, work-
experience places. Now on Monday the Prime Minister
announced the citizenship test should be toughened up and include
questions on British History. Now we have with us here two men who
are not mere citizens but a Secretary of State and a shadow
Secretary of State, so they should be able to answer these questions -
shouldn't they, Jo? Can we do a Assistant.
Yes. Now raise your hands if you have the right answer - I'll not
have any shouting out. The Magna Carta was signed in
Philip Hammond's constituency of Runnymede. But when - and I want
That June 15th, 15. If you don't know when the Magna Carter was
signed in your own constituency! It wouldn't have been right for
daytime television. Who was Henry VIII's first wife?
Don't you watch television? The one he got rid of.
He got rid of a lot. She wasn't British? She was Spanish,
Catherine of Aragon. Who won the Battle of Naseby?
Neither of you know who won the Battle of Naseby.
The Roundheads? Well done. Who led the army?
Was it Oliver Cromwell? I think that would have counted as well.
You make or may not qualify as British citizens. You may or may
not qualify as British citizens, but you're performance wasn't good
enough to win one of these! A contest which I'm afraid you're
disqualified from entering anyway. For the rest of you, we'll remind
you how to enter in a moment. But first see if you can remember when
did this happen? There is flash # I am just a teenage date back
baby. # Out of reach, so far.
It was the smugglers who decreed we We have customers from the ethnic
mix and age group and we have no problem at all.
They must be more to politics than the constant media pressure and
exposes that has dogged me over the To be in with a chance of winning a
Daily Politics mug, send your answer to our special quiz email
And you can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on
our website: It's coming up to midday here, just take a look at
Big Ben and that can mean only one thing! Yes, Prime Minister's
Questions is on its way. The first PMQs since the three
party conferences, what will dominate? I think Ed Miliband will
have to talk about the economy. While most people around
Westminster will expect him to seize on the Liam Fox the first and
ask questions, there are dangers about that. There isn't a smoking
gun and it looks like you are throwing around questions without
claiming victory later on. It will be damaging and dangerous they Ed
Miliband. Again he will seize on unemployment figures and that
things are those in the country care about. Let's go over to the
And Marine David Fairbrotherment our thoughts and sympathies should
with their families, their friends and their colleagues.
This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others
and in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further
such meetings today. Mr Speaker, the whole House will
want to endorse the Prime Minister's words about our heroic
service personnel and their families. Most of us will want to
see the earliest possible withdrawal of our combat troops
from Afghanistan. But on another issue, what is the Prime Minister
going to do about that group of women already in their late 50s who
have seen their State pension age rise from 60 to 64 and now face a
two year further increase from 64 to 66. The coalition had to reform
the pensions system, but this anomaly needs addressing..
friend is right to identify, of course, it is right to equalise men
and women's State pension ages. That's been a long-term goal shared
across the House of Commons. It is right to raise the retirement age
to 66. We know there are a group of people affected by the transition
and some people are having to potentially work for an extra two
years. We are looking at what transitional help we can give to
this group of people and we will be making an announcement shortly.
THE SPEAKER: Ed Miliband. Mr Mr SPeabg, can I -- Speaker, can
I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to servicemen. These were
exceptionally courageous men who died serving their country and our
deepest condolences go to their family and friends. Mr Speaker, a
year ago during our exchanges, the Prime Minister justified his
economic policy by saying, "Unemployment would fall this year,
next year and the year after." Given that unemployment has risen
by 114,000 today, isn't it time he admitted his plan is not working?
First of all, these are very disappointing figures that have
been announced today and every job that is lost is a tragedy for that
person and for their family and that is why this Government is
going to do everything it possibly can to help get people into work.
That is why we have the work programme which is the biggest back
to work programme since the 1930s. It is going to help 2.5 million
people. That is why we have Welfare Reform to make sure it pays for
people always to be in work. That is why we are reforming our schools,
including raising the participation age to 18, so we end the scandal of
16 and 17-year-olds left on the dole the. And that is why we have a
record number of apprenticeships, 360,000 this year, but I accept we
have got to do more to get our economy moving, to get jobs for our
people, but we mustn't abandon the plan that has given us record low
low interest rates. Mr Speaker, the same script month
after month. It is not working. Doesn't he realise today's figures
show it isn't working and it is his failure that means today in Britain
we have nearly one million young people out of work. Why doesn't he
accept some responsibility for doing something about it?
I accept responsibility for everything that happens in our
economy. I just sometimes wish that people who are in Government for 13
years would accept some responsibility for the mess they
made. What this Government is pledged to
do is everything we can to get our economy moving. That is why we have
cut petrol tax and corporation tax, why we are reforming the planning
system, why we introduce the regional growth fund, why we are
forcing the banks to lend money, why we have created 22 enterprise
zones. He wants us to change course on reducing our deficit. If we
change course on reducing our deficit, we would end up with
interest rates like Spain, Portugal and Greece and we would send our
economy into a tail-spin. Mr Speaker, I want him to change
course so he has a credible plan to get people back to work in this
country. You see, what the Prime Minister what, the Prime Minister
doesn't seem to understand is that month after month, as unemployment
goes up, the number of people claiming benefit goes up, the costs
go up and fewer people are in work and paying taxes. To have a
credible plan on the deficit, you need a credible plan for growth and
he doesn't have one. Now, it is not just young people who are suffering,
can the Prime Minister tell us when was the last time that unemployment
among women reached the levels it has today?
First of all, he is wrong in his figures. There are 50,000 more
women in work than there were at the time of the election. There are
actually 239,000 more people in work at the time of the election.
There are 500,000 more credible and private sector jobs, but he asks
about a credible growth plan. I would ask - where is his credible
growth plan? Why is it that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer
said this, "If you don't have a credible economic plan, you are
simply not at the races." THE SPEAKER: Order. Whatever people
think of what is being said on either side of the House, they must
not shout their heads off. The Prime Minister and the Leader of
the Opposition will be heard and that'sted end of T -- end of it.
Our plan is supported by the CBI, by the IOD, by the business
organisations, by the IMF, by the OECD, he cannot get support from
his own former Cabinet m the former Home Secretary says this, "I think
the economic proposition that Labour puts at the moment is
unconvincing." If he he can't convince his own party, how can he
convince the country? Mr Speaker, and the Conservative
chair of his Select Committee says his policies on growth are
inconsistent. He can't convince him, can he? Typically he didn't answer
the question on women's unemployment so let me tell him.
Women's unemployment is at its highest level since 1988. Since
1988 the last time there was a a Conservative Government in power.
Mr Speaker, I have to say instead of apologising four months late to
my right honourable friend for saying, "Calm down dear. Scwths he
should be appolyjicing to the women of this country. Last year, in his
Budget, the Chancellor announced a flagship policy on growth. He said
the national insurance holiday for start-up firms would help 400,000
businesses. Account Prime Minister tell this House how many businesses
have actually taken part? 7,000. Right and on the issue and on the
issue and on the issue of women in work, of course, of course, of
course, I want to see more women if work and there are 50,000 more
women in work than at the time of the last election, but it is this
Government that introduced free childcare for all vulnerable two-
year-olds. That it extended the childcare for three and four-year-
olds. That has increased the Child Tax Credit by �290 and for the
first time, announce that had we will be giving childcare to all
people working less than 16 hours. Helping thousands, hundreds of
thousands of women and families out of poverty into work and into a
better life. That is what we're doing, but the question he has got
to address, is the big picture which is this - he can't convince
the former Home Secretary, the former Trade Minister, the former
chancellor that he has got any idea of what to do with the economy and
the reason why is if he adopted his plan, we wouldn't be working with
the IMF to sort out the eurozone, we would be going to the IMF to ask
for a loan. In case he hadn't realised, when
the Chancellor says 400,000 firms will benefit and only 7,000 are, it
should tell him something! LAUGHTER
It should tell him his policies aren't working. That policy is not
working. His plan isn't working. Why doesn't he just for once agree
with us, cut VAT and put more money into people's pockets. Help the
construction industry get moving and invest in getting young people
back to work by having a bankers bonus tax. When is the party
opposite going to learn? You cannot borrow your way out of a debt
crisis. They left us, they left us the
biggest deficit, the most leveraged banks, the most endebted house Hodz
and what is -- households and what is their answer - to borrow more
money? Digby Jones said this, he described the Labour leader's
speech at the conference as a divisive and a a kick in the teeth
for the only sector that generates wealth and pays the tax and creates
the jobs this country needs. That is what a Labour minister said
about a Labour policy and that's why he has no credibility
whatsoever. Mr Speaker, what a terrible answer!
And yes, and yes, and yes, I will take on, I will take on those
companies in this country who aren't doing the right thing like
the energy companies and we're seeing change today in the energy
sector because of what I said. Now let me say to him... Now let me
just say to him, let me just say to him. On the day of the worst... On
the day of the worst... On the day of the worst unemployment figures,
on the day of the worst unemployment figures in 17 years,
the Prime Minister is is fighting to save the job of the Defence
Secretary by his doing nothing to save the jobs of hundreds of
thousands of people up and down this country. It is one rule, if
you are in the Cabinet, it is another rule for everyone else!
Well, the last Labour leader thought he had saved the world. I
think after this, this Labour leader is Walter Mitty. What they
have got to do is accept some spont for the mess what -- responsibility
for the mess that you made of this economy. You are the party that
borrow too much, that spent too much, that left us with the
unregulated banks, that left us with the mess that we have to clear
up and when you see those two, sitting on the frontbench, who
worked for so long in the Treasury, you have to ask yourself, you
wouldn't bring back Fred Fred Goodwin to sort out the banks, why
would you bring them back to sort out the economy?
THE SPEAKER: The House will want to hear Sir Peter Tapp sill.
As my right honourable happened to notice that since I put the point
to him last month the head of our service Fraud Squad, has publicly
deplored the fact that no senior British bankers have been
prosecuted for their ill sponsor -- ill responsibility and has urged
that legislation should be introduced as soon as possible to
empower his office, to prosecute such offenders in the future.
I think it is important that inquiries are conducted into what
went wrong at RBS and HBOS because clearly we are left clearing up a
mess that the responsibility of others have left. If there is room
for crim criminal criminal prosecutions there should, our job
is to regulate the banks and the financial institutions properly and
that's why we put the Bank of England back at the heart of this
job. Mr Speaker, will the Prime Minister
publish a full list of all the ministers and Downing Street staff
who since May 2010 met Mr Werritty in in either an official and social
capacity, including whether he himself, as Prime Minister, has met
him? I'm happy to look at that.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. THE SPEAKER: Order.
Would my right honourable friend, the Prime Minister, agree that in
light of difficult times encountered by some of my
constituents, working for BAe, it is even more important that this
Government continues its excellent support for investment and for the
development of typhoon and in new unmanned aerial assistance vehicles.
concern and that's why we have put in place plans for an enterprise
zone on both sides of the Pennines to help with that important
business. BAe is a great British company. There is a huge forward
order book for it, not least from our defence defence Budget, I will
do everything I can to support that company including promoting its
exports abroad where I had conversations with the Japanese, I
will be talking to the Saudi Arabians and others to make sure
this great British company goes on Imperial Health Care Trust which
offers outstanding clinical care and research in three major
hospitals in west London is being forced to make 5% per annum cuts
for five years, 25% of its �900 million a year budget. How does
that fulfil the Prime Minister's promise not to cut health services
to my constituents? We are increasing NHS spending throughout
this Parliament. It is a complete contrast to the party opposite
policy. They have a new health spokesman. I was worried I wouldn't
have the same quantity of quotes, but he has not disappointed. He
said this "it is irresponsible to increase NHS spending in real
terms." that is their position, it is irresponsible to increase health
spending. We disagree. Too many children in Britain today live in
families that don't provide them with the loving and stable
environment they deserve. That has led to many of our most social
pressing problems. Will a Prime Minister agreed this Government
needs to do all it can to help some of Britain's most problem families?
I completely agree with him. If you look at the evidence, some of the
most troubled families in our country get a huge amount of
interventions from the police, social services, education and the
rest of it. But no one is really getting in there to turn those
families around, give them a better chance. We are establishing a new
unit under the leadership of Louise Casey, who has been a superb
official over the last decade and we will be putting huge resources
into turning around the 120,000 at most troubled families in our
country. Or we can make a difference to those families and
then reduce the burden they place on the taxpayer at the same time.
Will the Prime Minister instruct our ambassador in Kiev to make
representations on behalf of the Government and Parliament about the
appalling show trial of prison sentences handed down on the former
Prime Minister. Prime ministers do make mistakes! They to lose
elections as she did. She has been put on trial for policy decisions
she took. Make it clear the Ukraine won't be able to open membership
talks with the EU because of this disgraceful act, Stalinist show
trial? We agreed the treatment of the former Prime Minister is
disgraceful. The Foreign Secretary has made a strong statement. The
Ukrainians need to know if they leave the situation as it is it
will severely affect their relationship, not only with the UK
but with the European Union and NATO. Small business and not more
Government debt is due to -- key to job creation. Will the Prime
Minister join me in welcoming the support from Bedfordshire
University, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper
and 100 business leaders in my constituency to set up a mentoring
scheme to support early-stage businesses in Bedford? Canny work
with me to see if it can be replicated in other towns across
the country? This Government recognises it will be small
businesses that will provide the growth, jobs and wealth this
country needs. That is why we have an agreement with the banks to
increase lending to small businesses, we are providing a
great relief for small businesses. We have the one in, one out rules
for regulation and I applaud all levels at a local level giving
small businesses the support they need to grow.
Responding to the science select committee support on forensic
science, a Home Office minister says we don't agree with the
committee's report. It mistakes and number of significant points. Given
the Home Office's financial case was 50% adrift and they now agree
with the argument the national archive should be protected, will a
Prime Minister urgently intervene and review the decision to close
the FSS because the profession is now losing key scientific staff
from the country and from the profession? I will look at what he
says, but I look at this decision at the time in some detail, having
known well the Forensic Science Service when I worked in the Home
Office many years ago. The evidence was pretty overwhelming that
actually the model wasn't working and change was needed. That is what
has happened and sometimes it is better to make that change rather
than endlessly review it. The Prime Minister inherited a welfare system
where families were able to claim �2,000 a week in housing benefits
and some fan of -- families are worse off working than those on
benefits. What can the Prime Minister do to help those hard-
working families in share would who get out of bed and work hard
because of their self pride and responsibility? I think he speaks
for most in the country when people say what they want is a welfare
system that will do the right thing. We are putting in place a cap so
you cannot have these absurd amounts of money going in housing
benefit to individual families. As he says, sometimes �2,000 a week.
Universal credit will make sure it is always worthwhile people working
and worthwhile working harder. To the party opposite that now claim
after a decade of giving people something for nothing, let's see if
they are prepared to back that by voting for a tough caps in the
welfare bill. If a minister breaks the
Ministerial Code, should they keep their job? The ministerial code is
clear, it is for the Prime Minister to decide whether someone keeps
their job. In the case of the Defence Secretary, it is important
when the leader of the opposition has called for an inquiry by the
Cabinet Secretary, when I have established an inquiry by the
Cabinet Secretary. Let us allow the Cabinet Secretary to do his work,
establish the facts and then a decision can be made. I think the
Defence Secretary has done an excellent job clearing up a
complete mess he was left by Labour. Retirement ages have to go up but
the timetable in the pension spell is too fast for women. I was
pleased to hear the Prime Minister say you was looking at transitional
arrangements and I hope it will slow down the increase of
retirement age for many women. have looked at this issue, we will
be making an announcement shortly. I think we have to look at the most
difficult cases where people have quite an extra amount of working
time they would have to do. He it is right, and the must look at the
big picture to equalise men and women's pension arrangements and
moved to 66, given the extra longevity we enjoy as a country.
Given that I hope he will be pleased when the announcement is
made. Of the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition are on
record in supporting gender equality for future Royal
successions. Will the Prime Minister update the house on the
consultation he and the Deputy Prime Minister are having with
other Commonwealth leaders about this issue? Does he not agree it is
better we resolve this matter before, rather than after any
future Royal children are born? certainly believe this issue should
be sorted out, I am on the record as believing that. Across the house
there has been widespread support. In terms of the consultation I have
written to the heads of state, the prime ministers of the other roles
concerned and we will be having a meeting about this. It is not an
easy issue to sort out. For many of them there may be issues and
worries about starting a Parliamentary and legal process.
But it is an issue we should get sorted and I am delighted to play a
part in doing that. Does the Prime Minister agree with the reasons
advice from the shadow Treasury minister who said what we must not
do and cannot do is pick good winners and losers and conceived
such a simplistic sinners and winners a model, which shows a
distinct misunderstanding of business? She makes an important
point. The greatest need in our economy is to generate wealth and
jobs and investment. What was in labour did at their conference?
They launched a big attack on British business, which is what is
going to help us out of these difficulties. Was the Prime
Minister a were before today his chief spokeswoman was a former
colleague of Mr Adam Werritty? whole issue is being looked at by
the Cabinet Secretary. He will produce his report and I ask people
to have a little patience, there are questions be answered and then
we can move ahead. Is my Right Honourable Friend aware,
nearly 40 members from the side of the House have signed an amendment
in my name requiring that all offenders convicted of using a
knife in a threatening or endangering fashion, will receive a
custodial sentence? And not just those over 18. Will he consider
supporting this amendment? I will look closely at what he says and I
know the Justice Secretary is doing this. We want to move ahead with a
mandatory sentence for adults and we will look at the arguments he
makes. Sir John Major said four days ago the Government should use
the Euro crisis as an opportunity to loosen EU powers over Britain.
His first priority was the common fisheries policy. When is the Prime
Minister going to take his advice and tell the European Union Britain
intends to withdraw from the Common Fisheries Commission? I always
listened to his advice. What Britain desperately needs to do in
the short term, is get behind the solution to the eurozone crisis. It
is having a chilling effect on the whole of the European economy and
the American economy as well. I do accept that at the same time as
doing that, it is going to be important to get some safeguards
for Britain as eurozone countries go ahead and sort out their
problems. We need safeguards to make sure the single market goes on
working for the United Kingdom. Edward engineering advice 25 new
jobs in the town at JobCentre plus have got 249 jobs on offer. Does
the Prime Minister agree it would be further good news if he kept the
pressure on and encouraged businesses in Wales to advertise
even more jobs? We will keep the pressure. It is worth making the
points that in spite of the difficulties there are half a
million new private sector jobs in the economy compared with at the
time of the elections. We need all of the things that help businesses
expand and grow to be in place and bank finance is one of those things.
We have the Merlin agreement which is increasing lending to small
businesses. We have credit easing to make sure we look at other ways
of expanding credit in our economy. This week I had the privilege of
meeting two men from the ready for work campaign, impressive people
campaigning against rising youth unemployment. Can the Prime
Minister tell us what has happened to his bow from earlier this year
to reverse the trend. Can he tell the House when he last met a young
unemployed person? What has been happening is it has been going up
since 2004. It went up in the growth years as well as in the
difficult years. We need a comprehensive strategy that deals
with all of the problems of youth unemployment, including the fact
there are too many people leaving school aged 16, who spent 13 years
under a Labour education secretary. They need to take some
responsibility for others, the left school without qualifications to
help them get a job. We need better education, a welfare system that
helps people into work, and the work programme that does not
provide phoney jobs. And recent TaxPayers' Alliance report reveals
that 38 union leaders are were remunerated at over �100,000 each,
including Derek Simpson argue night. He received over half-a-million
pounds. -- of unite. Does he agree it is time for union boss of pay
restraint? They always listen to the trade unions, but they will
never listen to the taxpayers alliance. They don't want to hear
about excessive pay in the public sector, local Government or in the
trade unions. This is another question the Prime Minister won't
want to answer. Can he get a grip of his back benches following last
night's debacle in this chamber relating to business in this house
on 17th October. Doesn't he understand the perception in the
real world is some MPs would like to talk about their own pensions
instead of discussing a 22 year olds in justice and the deaths of
96 men, women and children? We are going to protect the time but that
absolutely vital debate. On the issue of NP's pensions, we have to
show restraint at a time when the rest of the public sector is being
asked to show restraint. Because of what happened last night there will
have to be a debate but it won't eat into the time of the important
debate he mentioned, I know many members care deeply about. Can he
tell the House what action he is taking to reintroduce rigour into
our education system and end the ridiculous situation under the last
Government when 22% of students study proper, academic studies?
think the education secretary is doing a superb job in focusing
schools on results, including English and maths, making sure we
look at the English Baccalaureate which includes the core subject
that employers and businesses valued. And doing some
straightforward things like making sure punctuation and grammar count
when you do an exam. Considering the Prime Minister met
with a family yesterday, will he reflect on the Commons made on the
Taoiseach relating to that meeting and the outcomes and the agreements
made at the Weston Park talks in 2001, up by both governments there
should be an independent public inquiry? Of course I have reflected
incredibly carefully on what was said yesterday. I have reflected on
this whole issue for many months since becoming Prime Minister. I
believe the right thing for this family, for Northern Ireland, and
for everyone in the United Kingdom is not to have another costly and
open-ended public inquiry, which may not find the answer. But
instead, for the British Government to open up and tell the truth about
what happened 22 years ago. We don't need an inquiry to do that.
That is why the Northern Ireland Secretary will be making a
statement explaining how we will do this, who will be involved. In the
end, the greatest healer is the truth, frank acknowledgement of
what went wrong, and apologies. Let's not have another Savell
protest to get there, let's do the right thing.
Will he join me in welcoming the news it seems Gilad Shalit will be
released in the next few days and this could go a long way for peace
in the area? I am grateful for him raising this. I think if any one
reflects on what that young soldier has been through for those weeks,
months, years, it is something I think anyone in this house would
find difficult to contemplate. If it is the case he will be coming
home soon, I wish him and his family and everyone in his real
It was familiar territory for those of you who followed the debates at
the party conferences recently. I am not sure we learned anything new.
We saw the Justice Secretary, Mr Clarke and the Home Secretary, Mrs
May sitting together. You couldn't have put a cat's whis ter between
them -- whisker between them, I think! Like lion and the lamb, they
laid out and peace has broken out at least for the cameras today! We
will hear from our specialist, by the way the Prime Minister quoted
from yesterday's Daily Politics about an ex-Labour Home Secretary,
Charles Clarke, saying that he didn't understand or that the
labour economic policy did - he did not mention the Daily Politics.
Miliband was asking about the economy on unemployment figures.
Jane in Surrey saved, "David Cameron, clearly rattled at PMQs
and had to resort to abuse again calling Ed Miliband, Walter Mitty."
Another viewer saying, "David Cameron is acting like he is in
Opposition." This from Diane "the best thing the coalition can do is
stimulate consumer confidence." Another viewer said said "Ed
Miliband had a great opportunity, but he blew it big time." This is
from Simon who says "when will Ed Miliband and Labour accept that the
plan is working? Yes, it is painful, but necessary." This from Stephen
Wiltshire in Cheltenham, "it is all good and well Labour moaning about
unemployment. Their record wasn't great. It shows how two-faced
Labour has become.". In a sense the die is cast. The Government will
not change its its fiscal policy and we know what Labour says it
would do if it was in power. So events are going to determine this
debate, aren't they? What we saw today in four minutes flat a
complete upsum of the party conferences with John Bercow added
in which we missed. He saw Ed Miliband retort, but we need to
have a better plan involving greater spending and David Cameron,
saying how going to pay for it? We heard it during the party party
conference seasons. On. We are nine days away from the grand bargain to
save the eurozone. A week on Sunday, you have the European heads of
Government meeting in Brussels to determine how on earth thet pullth
put -- they will put together the rescue package, but how we regulate
the City of London and whether or not we will see any measures being
imposed on us. It is important and yet that wean really a -- wasn't
really a subject that took off in the chamber.
We reran the easy debates. You saw the favourite movements. Ed Balls
with his hands movements referring to slow-growth.
Is that what he means when he does that? Flat lining. I haven't seen
him on the dance floor! I saw Nick Clegg looking solemn
with his tie undone. He used to smile and look
adoreingly at the Prime Minister, now he just kind of looks at his
nails and looks straight ahead. We saw some other bits. PMQs is
interesting for the stuff outside the leaders, the change on
Hillsborough I thought was quite significant. I am not sure that MPs
come out terribly well looking if they are seen to be talking about
their pensions rather than the issues. And some interesting stuff
around you with healthcare. And health funding.
You liked the soundbite, Philip Hammond, that you can't borrow your,
what was it... You can't borrow your way out of debt.
You liked that, didn't you? It sums up neatly the problem that Labour
has. They rail against the economic policy that George Osborne has set
out, that is reducing the deficit. But their only alternative is
things like cuts in VAT. Hold on. Borrowing more money.
Failing to acknowledge that the underlying problem here is a debt
problem. This is not like some of the crisis we have had in the past.
So if you like the soundbite, you can't borrow your way out of a debt
crisis, why are you in the process of borrowing �0.5 trillion now?
in terms of the Government's borrowing? You are about to borrow
�0.5 trillion more. You are borrowing your way out of a debt
crisis. Andy, we inherited an enormous deficit. Let him answer.
Never mind that. Just answer my question. If you can't borrow your
way, why are you continuing to borrow your way? Remember reducing
the deficit. Year on year we are reducing it.
There were record borrowing figures rinetly.
-- recently. It can not be reduced to zero
overnight. You are cutting the deficit every
year, that's the plan, but you are adding to borrowing every year.
debt will go on increase as we go continue to borrow a declining
amount each year until we have in 2014/2015 eliminated the deficit.
Ed Balls is proposing that we should increase the amount each
year, making our debt increase more quickly.
You are borrowing more each year and that's why you are adding �0.5
trillion. We are borrowing less each yearment. Yearment.
You are still borrowing more. Let me ask you, the Government says
it will borrow �122 billion which is a huge amount of money. It is
about 10% of our GDP. Some suggest it will be �125 billion. How much
more would you borrow? Borrowing is going up as Ed Miliband said today.
We know that. How much more would you borrow for the stimulus?
would have a growth plan because growth would bring down the need to
borrow. They are paying young people to have them doing nothing
on the dole. That's what this money is paying for, to have people out
of work. You cannot have no plan for growth in jobs.
Are you therefore saying you will have a fiscal stimulus that will
not add to borrowing, is that what you are saying? Yes, because we've
said. It is not a stimulus then.
It would be paid for by a bonus tax on the banks.
That's not a stimulus? We would a specific proposal to get young
people back to work paid for by a bonus tax on the banks.
That's not what Ed Balls is calling for.
It is not a fiscal stimulus. Balls is calling for a cut in VAT.
The missing bit is confidence in the UK's credit worthiness, if we
were to go down the route of more boa owing to buy our way out of
this crisis, we would have our credit rating collapsing, interest
rates rising... People are paying VAT on fuel.
All right, let me move on, I'm puzzled by both your positions.
Let's get back to Mr Werritty. Where are we now after that
exchange, after what we know, where do you think we go from here?
it was interesting if Prime Minister's Questions when the
subject came up and David Cameron was asked about it, there wasn't a
huge cheer of support. In the House on Monday, there was a feeling that
Liam Fox was on top of the situation. There wasn't a great
deal of a sense of him being ahead of the game.
It has changed now, hasn't it? has a bit. There are a couple of
key oints, from everything -- points from everything that we have
seen in the public domain so so far, there is nothing that cause him to
resign. If he goes, it will be because of something that has yet
to come out, likely to be something to do with how Adam Werritty made
his money, whether or not he benefited from his relationship
with Liam Fox and I think this is the test the Government are trying
to frame as the key question question whether or not Adam
Werritty directly benefited in a tran actional -- transactional
sense by by knowing the Defence Secretary, by by introducing the
Defence Secretary to key figures. Do we know if he had access to more
than Dr Fox? Did he use his access to Dr Fox to go round Whitehall
getting access? Have you met him since you became a minister? Not to
my knowledge, unless I met him in a social situation.
I haven't had a meeting. I was on Liam Fox's team when he
was Shadow Henght and a-- Health Secretary and Adam was an intern. I
know him, but I haven't met him since I have been a minister,
certainly. You wanted to get Hillsborough off
your chest. I was pleased that Steve Rotherham raised it. Because
there was an extraordinary event in the House last night. I have been
working on this issue for a number of years and over the summer there
was an e-petition, 10,000 people signed -- 140 people signed it, a
statement of solidarity to the Hillsborough families who faced
insults as they faced their campaign for truth and justice.
That swept this issue back to the Commons and it was due to take
place last Monday. A Tory backbencher objected to the
timetabling of that debate because he wanted more time to debate his
own pension. The Government did say and made a commitment that it would
overturn that. One MP wants to debate his pension and 140,000
people can't have their debate on Hillsborough. It is an unbelievable
state of affairs. This is a backbench who routinely
objects to timetabling motions. Who is it? Chris Chope.
The Prime Minister made clear that the Government is going to protect
this business so we can have the debate.
A final thought from you, Sam. I thought thought it was a school
draw, but it didn't change the political direction much.
We have got your letter, Andy, we are running out of time.
What he did in the Commons is going to back fire on him a lot. My
statement related to their commitment to the election to
increase health spending in real terms. They didn't do that that at
the Spending Review, they protected it at inflation. They didn't do
what they were pledging to do at the general election. He will rue
reading that quote out in the House of Commons. You would not have
protected it. You have had your final words now..
Now, last week, we heard a lot about a cat called Maya, she was in
the news because the Home Secretary claimed her owner owner couldn't be
deported because her owner had a cat.
Theresa May Said this is an example of why we should get rid of the
Human Rights Act. This provoked a spat after Clarke used -- Ken
Clarke used colourful language to tell Theresa May that she was wrong.
Why are so many people keen to get rid of the Act.
Patrick O'Flynn tells us why he What do you think when I say the
words, "Human Rights Act."? Well if opinion polls are to be believed,
the reaction of most of you will be You may not know this, but Winston
Churchill dreamt up the European Convention on Human Rights after
the Second World War. He wanted to ensure that totalitarian regime
could spend up and oppress their peoples. That convention is now
enshrined in British law in the Human Rights Act and many cases
brought under it, end up here. But there are a few problems with that.
Our Supreme Court is not Supreme at all. It remains Junior to the
European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. That's where judges of
variable quality make decrees that inflamed British public opinion.
And our own public officialdom are so scared of being sued under
provisions of the Human Rights Act, they make crazy concessions. Like
bringing a police van miles to transport a defendant just a few
yards to a court house. Delivering hot food to a criminal perched on
someone else's roof. # I don't want to change the world.
That is why I would like to see the Human Rights Act scrapped and
Britain withdraw from the European Court. Instead we need a British
Bill of Rights, just like David Cameron promised us before the last
General Election. Now, last week we heard a lot about
Won't it ultimately be the same? rehab various players in this. We
have public officialdom bearing ridiculously on the side of caution
in avoiding having cases brought against them. The worst player in
all of this is the European Court of Human Rights, which is a bunch
of former polytechnic lecturers from the Balkan states, telling us
about our human rights regime. But the Human Rights Act itself seems
to have allowed judicial activism to make right that was supposed to
be held in the balance. Were a British Bill of Rights change that?
It wouldn't necessarily change would it, the European Court of
Justice you have just outlined. It wouldn't make a difference.
should be out with the European Court of Human Rights. The
convention itself is a flexible instrument. David Cameron thought a
British Bill of Rights could be framed with a more balanced towards
responsibilities as well as rights that would restrain liberal judges,
albeit of a higher quality than the Strasbourg judges. They will be
pleased to hear that. It is not a high bar to get them across. They
could still interpret the law, judges, the way they see it. They
could still take into account those human rights elements if they saw
fit, even under a British Bill of Rights. The bill could be drafted
in such a way to balance the responsibilities and the rights of
the innocent, which is something Alan Johnson was talking about in
the Commons, in relation to the DNA database. We have the liberal left,
pouncing on that cat and trivialising things, but not
answering why you have a failed asylum seeker able to run over a
child and leave her dying in the road and not be deported. And the
Somalian who murdered the British police officer, Sharon
Borysoglebski, he was not deported. The liberal left don't think these
things are worth addressing. Wouldn't it go further, wouldn't
Britain or the UK have to withdraw from the EU altogether in order to
escape, as you would see it, from the European Convention on Human
Rights? My many pro-European friends tell me it is not right. In
any event that wouldn't be a problem for me. The Daily Express
wants Britain to lead the European Union. But it is not something
necessarily the Government will entertain. Something has to happen
that is very unlikely to, which is withdrawing from the EU altogether
at the moment? That is not what David Cameron said before the
election when he framed the British Bill of Rights. Let's get to the
cat, who was right? The claim from Theresa May it was used, she was
used as part of the arguments for this Bolivian immigrant who had
overstayed, to stay longer Clarke, claiming their right to a family
life? Everybody sees there is abuse of the Human Rights Act, the treaty
on Human Rights. It is dealing with what are obviously abuses, were
common sense dictates we go one way and the courts interpret the Human
Rights Act, or ultimately the treaty to take us another way. The
Government is determined to tackle that situation, so we get
commonsense and comes. That sounds reasonable, but how do you achieve
it? How do you achieve that commonsense without overhauling the
whole system? The Prime Minister has set up a Commission which is
looking at all aspects of the Human Rights Act. It's one not be
reporting for a long time. It will report back and then set out how we
intend to go forward. In the meantime, the Home Secretary is
clear that were incremental things can be done to improve the way the
system works, to minimise the wrong and comes, if you like, she will do
that. Let's get back to the original question, was Ken Clarke
right, was it nonsense to use the example of the cat, or was Theresa
May right? I don't think it was nonsense. The point Theresa May was
using was an absurd example. she? Yes, the existence of a
jointly owned cat, supposedly proved the existence of a family
relationship. That in turn gave a right to remain. That seems like,
too many people... Most people reading a tabloid newspaper, would
see this as ridiculous. So Ken Clarke was wrong? I think he was on
this occasion. When he neighbour was in power, there were also
criticisms of the Act? Misinterpretations of the Act
brought it into disrepute. You are right to point the finger at the
European Court. Prisoners voting rights, I cannot defend that. Where
I disagree is to say you get rid of this Act and these rights
altogether. These are right Britain cemented in Europe after the Second
World War. They belong to everybody. If you got rid of the Human Rights
Act, British people could still seek to have those rights and
forced at European level. They were brought in to save people the time
and the cost of going to Strasbourg. The right not to be tortured is an
amiable, the right to a family life is caveat it. They are different
rights. What I meant was, everybody has a right to a family life.
there is no caveat to torture. There is to a family life. The
judges never take the second part in two considerations. I agree with
you on that. Patrick, what is your response? I would like to see an
interim, very simple merger -- measure while the clever craftsman
and lawyer sort it out, which it would be, if we were to pay human-
rights the legal work at the rate of the minimum wage, then these
lawyers who have made so much money over the last few years could prove
to everyone and the British public they are in it for idealism and
justice. I can sign up to that, too. Can you all signed up to that?
will put it to be just a secretary. It is the justice secretary's
budget that will benefit from this. A lack the ideas of lawyer's being
on the minimum wage. One of the judges in the European Court is a
TV presenter. We could do that. Guilty!
You are fired. If you are a driver you live in
fear of wheel clampers. The good news is the Government is going to
do away with them, but the bad news is, you may get a ticket and a
hefty fine instead. This is what happened to one motorist.
We had been away on holiday and when we came back there was a lot
of post behind the door. One of these letters was a letter from a
company called G20 four. They were demanding �75 for parking in a car
park for more than three hours. I frequently go to Wickes, but never
more than 15 or 20 minutes. I knew it was wrong, I felt the company
was like these camping organisations, just put out penalty
charges and hope people pay them. We contacted the parking firm
mentioned, they declined to comment. Luckily Mr Smith could prove he was
parked somewhere else at the time and the fine was eventually waived.
But only after he rode to the store's chief executive. -- wrote.
Is it a growing problem? It is. Lots of tickets are issued
automatically by cameras. Some of the letters are very threatening,
they threaten credit reference agencies, debt collecting. But
although they look official, there is no mandate. What kind of car
parks are we talking about? Service areas, large out-of-town
superstores and private land. you need to pay the ticket to get
out in the first place? No, these are places you can park for a short
time, two to three hours when you are buying a kitchen. People take a
lot of time choosing, exceed the time limit. Then through the post a
few weeks later, they get a ticket through the post. What is the
Government's planning to do that will make it worse? We are glad
wheel-clamping is to be scrapped. But we have got to tackle ticketing.
We estimate 3 million private tickets are issued every year. It
is an automated process. It is a huge privilege parking companies
have to access drivers' names and addresses. But it is not regulated
by the law, except by a trade association code of practice,
signed up. He think it will get worse? We think it will grow
because clamping is ending. thought you ending the war on
motorists? The first important thing to say is we are scrapping
wheel-clamping. Thanks for that, what about this? The problem with
wheel-clamping is immediate. People feel they have to pay up because
they cannot move their car. Stock filibustering an answer the
questions. You can disputed afterwards. It's people have been
charged �90 for staying two hours. Land owners, this is not just a
cheap parking sites, it is big stores, university campuses, all
these people have to be able to deal with non-compliant parking.
The way they have to do with that is by issuing an having contractors
who will issue tickets. What we are going to do under the act that has
just passed the Commons, just gone through the Commons is to regulate
through the BPA, with an appeal scheme through the BPA, the conduct
of companies authorised to issue tickets. If they don't comply with
the code of conduct, which the Home Secretary will have to approve,
they won't be able to access the DVLA database. There will be a lot
of aggravation before that. cannot accept a trade association
arbitration process. It has to be fully approved. It will be approved
by the Home Secretary. Is that good enough? Not for us, we wanted it
regulated. Be needs to be independent and transparent. At the
moment we don't feel it does the job. Vat on petrol and the war on
motorists! That's it for today. Many of you got the competition
right. We are still printing out your entries to choose the winner.
2001 was the answer, we will pick the winner tomorrow. We thank all
of our guests. We will be back tomorrow afternoon as usual with
More questions for Liam Fox about his personal life and the role of his friend Adam Werritty. Can the defence secretary survive the drip-drip of allegations?
Unemployment's up again and it's young people who are feeling the brunt. A look at why the so-called baby busters face an uncertain future.
The Human Rights act is a threat to the British Way of Life - or is it all a bit of a cat flap? We hear from Patrick O'Flynn from the Express.
The government could be making it easier for private parking operators to fine you - we ask the transport secretary why.
The studio guests are Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.