26/10/2011 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. This is the Daily Politics. Wednesday, 26th October,


2011, AD, the day that Europe dithered and delayed, while the


eurozone teetered on the abyss of financial crisis possibly leading


to further recession. At least that is what it looks like as the euro


leaders gather for another summit in Brussels. They were supposed to


agree a three-part rescue plan but much of the technical work has not


been completed. The banks are digging in against a Greek haircut


of debt, and Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are still a part on


fundamental matters of principle. The in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi's


Government looks close to collapse. The chance of a deal looks ever


further off. Is some kind of financial and economic catastrophe


heading for us like a truck? David Cameron will face his own


backbenchers at PMQs in half an hour, the first time since he


failed to stop 50% of them voting for a referendum on our


relationship with Europe. And he will be sitting alongside


his deputy, Nick Clegg. He has been warning against any smash-and-grab


attack to claw back powers from Brussels. What is the coalition


policy on Europe, if anything? All of that coming up over the next


90 minutes. A very important day for the eurozone, the European


Union and the British colony. Throughout the programme we are


joined by the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who always


likes to be reminded that under John Major he became the manner


that actually put his signature on the Maastricht Treaty. -- the man.


Not quite accurate. It was not his signature, it was a paw print! And


Rachel Reeves, the next leader of the Labour Party. Sorry, she has


been newly promoted to shadow chief secretary of the Treasury. But that


is the gossip among some, which will be the kiss of death of course.


How serious is it? Very serious. Nobody is under any illusion that


it is serious. The eurozone leaders need to sorted out. It is not easy.


When the situation is this bad, solution will not come along on a


plate. People like me say what I have just said, it is down to the


wire, and then suddenly we get free. Will this happen this time?


certainly hope so that nobody can predict exactly what will happen.


If there is a resolution, which I hope there will be, I don't think


that anybody is free. A price will have to be paid for this, in terms


of what is needed to recapitalise the banks, to have a proper


solution, a resolution for Greece. None of this is free, but the


penalty for not doing it is extremely severe. Not just for the


eurozone but for those of us, well, 40% of our trade is with the


eurozone and it would affect us gravely. The three-part deal was


supposed to be agreed last weekend at the European summit but that did


not happen. We have another summit today, two really. One for the EU


and one for the eurozone. Then they have to go in front of the G20 on


November 3rd. As I look at these things, and I try to look at them


closely, it doesn't seem to me that timetable will happen. You say it


always goes to the wire, but the backdrop for this summit is


different to any other summit before. It is being driven by what


is happening in the financial markets, what is happening to jobs


and the economy. It is more pressing than ever that we get some


answers. The problem with going to the wire and then doing as much as


you need to do and then carrying on for a bit, and then going to the


wire, and doing what you need to do, you know, we actually need some


proper answers for these problems. The problems of Greek debt, the


banks and their lack of capital, and the problems about the spill


overs. Unless there is a forensic and full deal in Europe, then what


we are going to see his contagion getting worse and it spreading to


Italy, as everyone is saying, and Spain and Portugal and other


countries. We desperately need a deal. It is not like a normal


summit. They may do as little as they need to do, rather than as


much. We will talk about this later in the programme as well. We have


been saying that lots hangs on the summer today, I should say summits.


-- the summit today. Jo has been looking at what happens when and


what is on the table. The euro horror story gets another


showing today. All 27 EU leaders will be at the first meeting this


afternoon. David Cameron will be absent from the next and most


crucial session, at the meeting of the 17 eurozone leaders tonight.


There are three issues on the agenda. Cutting the Greek debt


mountain, shoring up the banks to cope with losses, and boosting the


rescue fund. Will they reach a deal? The strong disagreement


between France and Germany over how to shore up the rescue fund, known


as the EFSF. There is also disagreement over the bondholders.


Germany wants to impose a 60% haircut on those holding great debt,


meaning they would lose 60% of everything they have learned. The


banks that hold most of that debt warn that anything above 40% could


further endanger the European banking system. The markets could


plunge if the leaders failed to reach a deal tonight and the crisis


could exact a political price as well. Silvio Berlusconi is through


-- rumoured to be stepping down. Let's go to Brussels. It has been


taught about the crisis can that has been kicked down the road for


months. -- talked about. Have we reached the end of the road today?


I don't think so. When I was here on Sunday, there was widespread


acknowledgement that they were finding it very difficult to come


to a fundamental agreement. You had that press conference with Angela


Merkel of Germany and President Sarkozy of France, trying to


present a publicly united front. They did look closer than they have


done in the past. There are differences between these two


countries, the two most important countries in the eurozone, over the


way forward. Angela Merkel has been addressing the German Parliament


ahead of a crucial vote which she is expected to win. But his today


the summit to end all summits? My instinct is that it is not. Thank


you. As we were hoping for some decisiveness at the summit today,


we heard that the Italian Government could be on the brink of


collapse. David is in Rome. What do you say to the rumours that


Berlusconi may be stepping down from the deal and that the


Government is on the verge of collapse? That the Government is on


the verge of collapse is a given here. Berlusconi has come under


terrible criticism in recent weeks for his dithering over the economic


measures that he has proposed to combat the eurozone debt crisis.


The Government has been talking for three months now about an austerity


budget, but implementing the austerity budget seems to be beyond


his capacity. He is coming to Brussels this afternoon with a


letter of intent in his pocket. More promises, in other words.


Whether the EU leaders will believe home is a matter for speculation.


Italy's credibility is at an all- time low, just as Berlusconi's


credit rating in Italy is at an all-time low.


Thank you. To discuss how the markets are likely to react to the


developments today, delays, dithering, call it what you want, I


am joined by Louise Cooper, a market analyst. It is a busy time


for you. Let's go through a couple of things before coming onto the


market reaction. At the moment they do not seem to have an agreement.


They have not been able to convince the banks holding the Greek debt


that they should take this haircut. They want it to be a voluntary


haircut, otherwise it counts as a default. And credit default swaps


and all these other things will trigger. They do not want that to


happen. If you are the CEO of a bank, you have a legal duty to do


the best for your shareholders. You cannot just do what Angela Merkel


tells you to do and ignore that legal duty. You can be personally


sued by your shareholders, depending on the jurisdiction, if


you are not doing a good job for them. The idea that the banks can


suddenly ignore that legal responsibility and do what the


politicians want them to do is a bit ridiculous. They have to


balance the two. Some of the markets may decide that you say


this is voluntary, but actually Chancellor Merkel has a gun at our


head, so we will take this not as voluntary but being forced, so we


will trigger the insurance policies on the debt. If it looks like a


duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. The same with default.


Greece is already effectively in default. We have not got the banks


to agree to take their hair cut. At the weekend there was the partial


unveiling of the plan to recapitalise the banks. When I met


you on Sunday, you said writer weight that 100 billion was just


not enough. That -- right away. even close. The IMF said 200


billion was needed, even assuming Europe does not go into recession.


At this stage, it cannot be done on the cheap and it has to impress. I


know it is difficult because we live in a democracy. All of the


European countries are democracies and they have legal constitutions


that they have to obey. That is the problem. That is why many people


that I speak to do not think there is a solution. The EFSF, I love


this. The bail-out fund? I have so much trouble saying the acronym.


Effectively what it is doing is taking money from the eurozone


members, putting it into a pot and buying Government debt. Most of


that is coming from France and Germany, about half of that. So


what you have got is France putting money into a pot, guaranteeing that


money, potentially losing its highly coveted triple-A rating,


which means its borrowing costs go up. Why are they doing that? To


bring down borrowing costs in Italy. France's borrowing costs will go up


to bring Italian borrowing costs down. Has anybody explained that to


the French electorate? How do they feel about that? When you listen to


that, which is a widespread view in the City of London, but they do not


articulated quite so well, you get the feeling that even if a deal is


announced at 2 o'clock this morning, it will not take long for Louise


Cooper and her colleagues to rumble it. This has been a problem so far,


that Europe has done just enough to get through the crisis. Then it


plods along and the next crisis comes. We need an answer that deals


with the issue of contagion and spreading to other countries. On


the banks, if they do not take a haircut, and do not agree to that


voluntary, what is the alternative? The alternative is to default on


the debt. That is no good for the banks as well. They may get a 20%


haircut, and they may not get any of the money back at all. There is


something in the collective interest of the banks, the


different countries, whether they are the ones in crisis or the ones


that need to be bailed out, to get an answer, but it is about whether


that is enough. Downing Street have just issued a statement saying they


do not underestimate the difficulties that are faced in


Brussels today. It seems to me, Europe could try to fudge things


tonight. They will come out with a statement covering all of the


things that Louise Cooper has been talking about, implying process,


and progress, but when you scrape it away, the banks may still be


holding out against a haircut, and the recapitalisation of the banks


may still be unclear. The truth is that the longer this goes on, the


higher the credibility bar gets. So the more needs to be done to


achieve finality. This is the kicking the can down the road thing.


The road has come to an end. some stage it does. But the point


is that the longer you go on, the more you have to do. To achieve the


credibility with the markets, people will say, OK, that does it.


It has to be chunky, it has to be serious. There is a hell of an


abyss here and we are quite close to looking over their -- the edge


of it. When you talk about credibility, the borrowing costs of


eurozone governments are increasing rapidly. Italians had to basics %


this morning, which is massive. -- had to pay 6%. The ECB have said 6%


is not sustainable and too high. That brought them down to 5% when


they brought the bombs, but now it is back up to 6%. -- they bought


the bonds. They cannot afford to It is more than just Greece. It is


Italy, potentially other countries as well. The talk of defaults, or


the takes as we should call them, the Economist said you have to look


at a haircut for Spain, Italy, Portugal, maybe Ireland. There is


no talk of that on the table as I understand it. Is that right?


That's true. You are only talking about some of yen debt. They take a


writedown on sovereign debt, if Greek is going bust, what about


other debt? What about all the other layers of debt as well, which


I can assure you there'll need to be losses there too. The final


question for you at the moment. Given all you say, and no-one's


arguing with you here, and it is widely known, now it's on the Daily


Politics, the whole world knows about it, why have the markets been


so patient? I don't know. The calm before the storm. I'm glad you said,


that because neither do I! Clearly they are cheap but I look at this 5


00 point rally... Is it time to sell our eck witties before


tonight? The CBI said today the manufacturing industry is back into


recession. It is not great. I think we'll have you back soon. We can go


to Strasbourg and speak to Wolf Klinz, a German MEP. Thanks for


joining us. Angela Merkel is facing a vote in the Bundestag to have a


bolster to the rescue fund. Is it big enough to stop any contagion?


That's a very good question. As a matter of fact it is a vital and


very important first step. Future will tell whether this 1 billion-


plus rescue fund is going to be sufficient. I think the markets


certainly will try to test this out. And therefore I do not want to give


a prognosis. I hope it will turn out to be sufficient. Certainly it


is much bigger than anything else that's been put on the table so far,


so I'm rather optimistic that it will be the right recipe. Have we


got time for first steps? Do we not need to have a definitive amount


that will cover the cost, and has Germany been dragging its heels


over this? No, I don't think. So you could rightly say that we have


not used the last 12 to 18 months in an optimal way. We have lost


some time in the past year. This is certainly true and I would agree


with, that but I think now Germany is not dragging its feet. It is


very important that the Bundestag, as it looks the clear majority of


all parties is going to endorse this programme. I think that is


important, because after all, a lot of money is at stake. It is the


German taxpayers that will have to foot the bill to a very large


extent. Therefore I think it is important that the German Bundestag


is fully aware of whatlets voting for, is fully informed and defines


clearly what the red lines are. Wolf Klinz, whatever happens in the


next few days, in terms of sorting this crisis out, did you see closer


fiscal integration between the eurozone countries as inevitable?


do, as a matter of fact. I've been chairing the special committee


looking into the financial and economic crisis, and we have come


clearly to the conclusion and we are convinced that this is the


right conclusion that if the eurozone is going to stay, and if


the euro is to have a future, we do need much deeper integration of the


countries that are members of the eurozone. And therefore I think


what is being put on the table right now may be able to buy us


some time. But I think over the longer future, we will have to


deepen integration. We will have to have something that is close to a


European Treasury. We'll have to have a strong, competent


Commissioner that will play the role of a de facto Minister of


finance of the eurozone that will represent the eurozone as a single


person in international fora, so we need more than what is on the table


right now. OK. And this of course does require changes of the treaty


and of the institution and therefore we cannot have it


overnight. Wolf Klinz, thank you. I think we've worked out that in


Europe nothing comes overnight! We are coming up to Prime


Minister's Questions. It is just 48 hours after David Cameron watched


half his backbenchers vote against him on the referendum on Europe.


The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has been pouring cold water


on this new bout of euro concept cism. We are joined by Charles


Kennedy, who had a double act last night on Newsnight with James Rees-


Mogg. At least he's wearing his University of Glasgow graduate's


tie.. Thank you. Before we begin, should we maybe have 20 seconds


silence, a prayer of thank that the British people didn't follow your


advice and join the euro? I think with the benefit of hindsight a


moment's silence would be appreciate preected. That's honest


and you've -- preected. That's honest and you've taken the wind


from my sails. Those of us in the Conservative Party who argued we


should not join the euro, we were mocked. But we survived. And we


were right. I never mocked, Francis. What is coalition policy towards


the repatriating of powers from Brussels? Well, the clear policy is


what is set out in the coalition agreement. It doesn't talk about


repatriation of powers. That is the existing position. It zpblt mention


that at all? No, and the Prime Minister said in his statement in


the House ahead of the debate on Monday that he wanted to look at


this issue. Nick Clegg has made clear the lib deps are not


following an agenda that follows repatriation. Listening to the


debate it remains ill defined what individual Conservative politicians


mean by repatriation, far less a checklist of what they want to


repatriate. Francis Maude, it may be Conservative policy to


repatriate powers, although you didn't put that in your manifesto.


You've mentioned it sense, but it is not coalition policy to


repatriate powers, so why did Michael Gove on the Today programme


said say they had already repatriated some and think want to


repatriate more this this next Parliament? It is no secret. Shock,


horror, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives don't have an


identical view of Europe. That's not a world-shattering piece of


news. But it is important for people to understand what the


Government's policy is. Since you've but theed in, Rachel


Reeves, what is Labour policy? Is Labour policy that no powers should


be repatriated from Brussels? Labour's policy that right now,


when we've just been through the problems in the eurozone, that has


got to be the number one priority. Not repatriation of powers, not a


referendum but sorting out the mess in Europe at the moment. OK. I


understand that's the line. That's the line... Lit me finish the


question. -- let. It is your line too. There is consensus on this.


One way or another this eurozone crisis will be resolved, maybe bay


deal or a crisis. But it will be resolved. I'm glad you are so


confident! Down the road when this is over, in 2013-14, is it Labour's


view that no powers should be repatriated from Brussels?


believe that Europe needs to be reformed, things like the Common


Agricultural Policy, like the rules that don't allow us to support


British businesses like Bombardier. Things like that need to be


reformed. But if you are asking should things like maternity pay


and the rights for temporary and agency workers, should we get rid


of that, I don't think we should. Francis Maude, you are in


Government, it looks like the Germans, with French support, will


go for a fiscal union. A fiscal union will either scrolve a new


treaty or a redrafting of the existing treaties. When that is


done, will you go for a repatriation of powers? Look, we


don't know what is envisaged here. It could be a new treaty, or a


revision of existing treaties. We don't know actually what would be


involved in creating a fiscal union. The German MEP talked about


creating a European Treasury. What does that mean? Does it mean all


the tax revenue from the eurozone countries goes through Brussels and


is redistributed? That's the only way in which you could make


absolutely sure that there isn't overspending and excessive deficits


in member countries. That's how it works in Washington. We don't know


the full details but it looks as if we are going for some kind of


fiscal union, but in principle, is that your gateway into a


repatriation programme? It may be. We don't know the timescale. Is it


Government policy? The Government doesn't have a policy at this stage


on whether we'll seek to get or whether there'll be an opportunity


even to seek repatriation, so we don't even, I was going to say


shock horror, Conservatives and Lib Dems don't always have the same


views on Europe. I would suggest to Charles Kennedy that this has the


potential to cause a deep division in the coalition. If the


Conservative part of the coalition wants to use this fiscal union as


an opportunity, as they said in their manifesto if there is another


treaty change we'll have a referendum. They then said that


will involve bringing powers home, the Lib Dems aren't going to put up


with that, are they? Our position is clear. It is not moving on this


one. It was true of the - it was true of a slightly overlooked


statement the Europe Minister, David Lidington made, what is


happening about the repatriation, he was asked. He said work is at an


early stage. I think work began at half past ten on Monday night.


That's my impression. In other words, the Conservative


parliamentary party doesn't trust the lip on this issue. They are


scrambling about. There's a myriad of positions. We have to end it,


because PMQs won't wait. And Jacob Rees-Mogg is outside.


Just before Prime Minister's Questions, time for this week's


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds


Guess The Year quiz. Let's see if Some of my former colleagues if


they are to be believed, I must be be the First Minister in history


who resigned because he was in full To be in with a chance over winning


a Daily Politics murks send your message to our special e-mail


address - to win a Daily Politics mug.


Let's look at Big Ben. It is my favourite shot of the week. It can


only mean one thing. Prime Minister's Questions is on the way.


The BBC's deputy political editor, James Landale, is here, and by


popular demand and much to Jacob Rees-Mogg's disappoint, Charles


Kennedy is sticking with us. We can't get him out! What we


haven't touched on yet, James, is this is the Prime Minister's first


appearance since the kick in the On Monday How will he handled that?


It is an open wound into witch Labour can pour a lot of salt.


There's a tendency for MPs when they've given their party leader a


dufg up, in the division lobbies there's a mixture of remorse but a


spurt of loyalty. I imagine there'll be a shaking of order


papers. There tends to be a bounce- back after these events.


Miliband, he has to go on Europe. Europe and the economy. The two big


issues. They are intertwined. Even though we are not in the eurozone,


everything hats happening there has ramifications for businesses and


families in Britain. I expect it will be a combination of the two


issues. The penny has dropped. Up until Monday of this week we were


all being circulated, make sure you are at PMQs because Cameron is away


at the Commonwealth conference and Clegg is doing it. Instead he will


be sitting beside the Prime Minister, having to study the Prime


Minister. Studied impasseivity. Maybe extolling a smash and grab


raid. A study in impasseivity. role of sitting next to to the


Prime Minister is difficult, because if you smile you irritate


one group and if you frown you Thank you, Mr Speaker. This morning


I had... At least they do not have to do it


in French! This morning I had meetings with


ministerial colleagues and others. This afternoon I will be travelling


to Brussels for further talks about the eurozone. Yesterday it was


reported that the Prime Minister compared the families of those that


died at Hillsborough to a blind man in a dark room looking for a black


cat that is not there. He complained he was not getting


enough credit for the release of the Government documents relating


to the tragedy. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to


apologise to the relatives and friends of the victims for these


offensive comments? What I would say to all the victims and their


families is that this Government has done the right thing by opening


up the Cabinet papers to help to try and find the closure for those


people that they seek. In view of the fact that Chancellor Merkel has


now called for money on the commission to produce treaty texts,


will he agree that the accumulated burden of the European Union has


become too great, and locating powers at EU level can undermine


democratic accountability, and the time has come to identify those


areas in which EU action is no longer workable? These words were


uttered by the Deputy Prime Minister more than 10 years ago.


have read the same pamphlet. It is very good and sound common sense.


We do not know when the treaty change will be proposed and how


great it will be. I am clear and the coalition is clear that there


will be opportunities to advance our national interest and that is


what we should be focused on. Miliband.


Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker... Mr Speaker, at the summit today does


the Prime Minister agree with me that we need not just for Greece


and Italy to sort out their problems and the proper


recapitalisation of Europe's banks, but also an agenda to help Europe


and indeed Britain to grow? What is absolutely necessary this evening


is to deal with the key elements of the eurozone crisis, which is


acting as a drag anchor on many economies including our own. The


key elements of that a decisive action to deal with the Greeks


situation, a proper recapitalisation of the banks which


has not happened in Europe up till now and the stress test has not add


credibility, but the most important thing is the construction of the


firewall in the European fund to prevent contagion a elsewhere. He


is right that a wider growth strategy across Europe is required


and that is what was debated on Sunday. That is where the


Commission proposals in terms of completing the services direct give


at liberalising the energy policy and cutting regulation, all of


those proposals could have been written right here in London.


are long-term measures but we also need immediate action for growth


and that needs to happen not just at European meetings but at the G20


next week. We know that his real focus has not been on sorting out


the eurozone crisis, unfortunately. It has been sorting out the


problems on his own side. He said on Monday that his priority was to


repatriate powers from Europe. Which powers and when? One serious


question and then straight on to the politics, how absolutely


typical. Led may just make his point. -- let me. When it comes to


the meeting receiving about the future of Europe, the idea that you


could go into that meeting arguing that Britain should at �100 billion


to its deficit is a complete and utter joke. -- should add. Let me


answer the question directly. The coalition agreement does talk about


rebalancing power between Europe and Britain. We are bringing back


one power, the bail-out power, that his Government gave away. He said


in this House on Monday, I remain firmly committed to bringing back


more powers from Brussels. But yesterday, the Deputy Prime


Minister, when asked about his plan, said and I quote, it will not work,


it will be condemned to failure. One day we have the Prime Minister


saying yes to repatriation and 24 hours later, the Deputy Prime


Minister says no. On this crucial question, who speaks for the


Government? What the Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday was there


was a perfect place to rebalance responsibilities between the


European Union and its member states. What a contrast with what


the leader of the Labour Party said. He was asked by Jon Sopel, yes or


no, has Brussels got too much power? Ed Miliband said he did not


think it had too much power. What we have is very plain. There is a


group of people on this side of the house that once some rebalancing, a


group that wants a lot of rebalancing and a complete mark


that once they rebalancing at all. -- mug. While that in not come


clean about the split between himself and the Deputy Prime


Minister? -- why doesn't he come clean? Is David Cameron wrong to


promise that some point the idea of another treaty to bring some powers


back? He said this. This Government, of which I am Deputy Prime Minister,


is not going to launch some kind of dawn raid, some smash-and-grab raid


on Brussels. It will not work and it will be condemned to failure. So


which is it? Who speeds for the Government? It is no wonder that


his back benches feel there is no clarity about his position. Is it


his position to get out of the social chapter, yes or no? It is


this coalition that has worked together to get us out of the bail-


out fund. To get us out of the Greek bail-out. To deliver this


year freeze in the European budget. That is what this coalition has


achieved. The split that we have is between the right honourable


gentleman and reality. We have the greatest proof of that. I talked to


the house about this on Monday but it is so good I have to do it again.


When he was asked if he wanted to join the euro he said it depends


how long I am Prime Minister for. That is the split. The Labour Party


and reality. Mr Speaker, he will be going to the council in December to


negotiate on behalf of Britain and treaty change may be on the agenda.


I ask him the question again. His Education Secretary said on the


radio yesterday morning, I think we should take back powers over


employment law. His Deputy Prime Minister disagrees. What is the


Prime Minister's position? I'd tell you what would be on the agenda if


he was going to the meetings in Brussels. We would not be


discussing Italy and Greece. It would be Britain handing out the


begging bowl, asking for a bail-out. Winnows the honourable gentleman


now wants to join the euro. -- we know. They may also want to leave


the IMF. There had the opportunity in his Parliament to vote for an


increase in IMF funds, which was agreed at the London Council by


their own Government. They rejected that. We now have the extraordinary


situation when we want to join the euro and leave the IMF. They do not


want to be like France, but Monaco. It is no wonder that he had a


problem on Monday because the truth is that he led his back benches on,


making a promise that he knows he cannot keep and which is ruled out


by the coalition agreement. We have a Prime Minister that cannot speak


for his Government. On the day of the eurozone crisis we have a Prime


Minister who has spent the last week pleading with his backbenchers,


not leading for Britain in Europe. I might have had a problem on


Monday, I think he has a problem on Wednesday. The truth is, Mr Speaker,


if he went to that meeting tonight his message to Berlusconi would be


to ignore the market and carry on spending. His message to the rest


of Europe would be that they think, Labour think, you spend another


�100 billion adding to our deficit. After they finished laughing there


would be no time for the rest of the meeting. Order. Order. Members


should calm down and listen. There was advised to leaders of the


opposition which meant they should not exist in a permanent state of


hysteria. As ever, nothing but wisdom from my right honourable


friend. Can the Prime Minister tell us whether any more projects have


been awarded Investment by the regional growth fund? Does the


tally still stand at two businesses helped by his flagship policy?


is completely wrong. 40 projects have had the green light for


funding. It is completely on schedule. 50 birds was successful


in round one, receiving a conditional allocation of �400


million, to deliver 27,000 a new jobs, including in its supply


chains. She should be welcoming that. My constituency of Rugby was


pleased to welcome Mary Portas as part of a review into Britain's


high streets. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that Rugby's


positive approach to new housing creating new customers for the High


Street is an effective way of supporting town centres? I am


delighted that Mary Portas has made it to Rugby. I agree that we do


need to build more houses and reform the planning system. But we


want to do it in a way that gives more control to local people so


that we can make sure we have thriving High Street in the future.


My constituency is in a state of shock following the brutal murder


of a local man, Stuart Walker, the very popular local man. Will the


Prime Minister join me in sending condolences to his family? And


among much unhelpful speculation about the motivation for this


murder, will he join me in calling on local people with any


information to go to the police to help with their inquiries?


certainly joined the honourable lady in sending condolences to her


constituent's family. She is right. It was once said that the police


are the public and the public are the police. They cannot solve


crimes without the help of the public and I hope everybody will


co-operate in the best way that they can. My 14 year-old


constituent Liam Groves was killed outside his home by a driver under


the influence of drugs. He was sentenced to just eight months in


jail and released after four. Will the Prime Minister meet with the


family to hear the case for a new law which would mean we'd take drug


driving as seriously as we take drink-driving? We really have got


to make sure that we start treating drug driving as seriously as drink-


driving. This issue has been raised repeatedly but not enough has been


done. One of the things that we are doing is making sure that the


police are able to test for drug driving and making drug-testing


equipment available. As we test that and make sure it works


properly, I think we can make sure we strengthen things further and I


am happy to look at that. The Bank of England have reprimanded one


commercial bank and there may be others that tried to manipulate the


gilt market to exploit quantitative easing. Can we have a report on


this matter? Can we explain to the bank is that we will use the full


force of the law against them if Send a message to all people in


financial services that there isn't something called white collar crime


that is less serious than other crime. Crime is crime and should be


investigated and prosecuted with the full force of the law.


Speaker, proposals before this House next week will see cuts to


legal aid funding for advice services which in the case of


Wiltshire CAB amount to �250,000 a year. I welcome the �20 million


stop gap the Government has found the replace this funding next year,


but will the Prime Minister ensure that the Government puts in place


lasting funding arrangements to sustain these services on which so


many people rely? My honourable friend makes an important point,


and it is no good people shouting down, every party this this House


has accepted the need to reform legal aid. The figures are... You


say, "No you haven't" but you have. We spend �39 per head in this


country on legal aid compared with �18 per head in New Zealand, and in


Spain and France the spending is as low as �5 per head. We are putting


in the �28 million additional funding for not for profit


organisations. We've rightlies raised the local councils that have


gone on funding Citizens Advice Bureaux. This is a very important


organisation that does vital work for all our constituents.


Speaker, I'm sure the Prime Minister will join me in


congratulating Sheffield University's advanced manufacturing


research centre, which celebrated its tenth anniversary yesterday and


today with a series of events at Westminster, organised in


partnership with Boeing and Rolls- Royce. Will he also join with me


and the Business Select Committee in endorsing the aim of growing our


manufacturing GDP from its current 12.5 % to nearer the 20% enjoyed by


most of our competitors? And will he mitt the Government... THE


SPEAKER: That's enough. We've got the drift. I agree very much with


what the honourable gentleman said. The Deputy Prime Minister hosted


Sheffield University at Downing Street to celebrate their success.


We are seeing pive signs of rebalancing our commitment recently


I was at the big investment BP are making in the North Sea, the


opening of the new Airbus factory at Broughton in Wales. Our auto


industry, whether Nissan, Toyota or Jaguar Land Rover, all these


companies are expanding and bringing more of their production


and supply chain onshore. We start from a low base and sadly


manufacturing production declined so much over the past decade.


Would the Prime Minister join me in welcoming nearly �1 million that's


been received in Redditch for the pupil premium and will he persuade


the Secretary of State for Education to push for a national


funding formula as soon as possible? Discussions about a


national funding formula are ongoing. It's a difficult issue to


resolve because of the historic patterns of funding around the


country. Die think the pupil premium is a major step forward. It


is up to �2.6 billion by the end of this Parliament. The report says


we've made spending on education much more progressive by the action


we've taken. We've taken the decision to protect the schools


budget and per-pupil funding and on top of that to add the pupil


premium to make sure that we are looking after the less well off in


our country. Last month a leaked Downing Street report says, "We


know from a range of polls that women are significantly more


negative about the Government than men." Why does the Prime Minister


this this is? When you are making difficult spending decisions and


you have a difficult economic situation and household budgets are


under pressure from petrol prices and food price and inflation,


clearly that impacts women. The Government wants to do everything


it can to help women. That's why we've listed 1 million people out


of tax, the majority of whom are women. That's why we are putting


much more money and time into the free nursery education for 2-year-


old and 3-year-olds. Women working less than 16 hour as week will get


childcare. We don't just care about this issue at home. Because of what


we are doing in international aid we are going to save 50 ,000 women


in childbirth around the world. The IPC have made one decision,


which is to grant planning permission for the American waste


giant company for 650 tonnes incineratoror in Mid-Bedfordshire.


Thousands of people responded to the consultation process saying


they do not want this. In the small print of the decision it says this


decision is subject to special parliamentary procedure. Will the


Prime Minister please let the people of Bedfordshire know that


this Government is not like the previous Government? That we listen


to local concerns and that we will ensure that this monstrous rubbish-


guzzling atmosphere-polluting incinerator will not be imposed


upon the people of Bedfordshire? honourable friend makes an


important point, there are difficult planning decisions that


have to be made. But what this Government has done is make sure


that the planning decision is more democratic and reports to


Parliament, and Ministers have to take decisions and be accountable.


I can't speak for how Ministers have to make the decisions, but


we've ended the idea of the vast quango with absolutely no


accountability, as she rightly says. The Prime Minister has warned


African countries that unless they improve gay rights he will cut


their aid. Yet in many African countries where we pour in millions


of pounds of aid, Christians face great persecution. Destruction of


churches, lives and property. Here in the UK if you display a Bible


verse on the wall of a cafe you face prosecution. Was Ann


Widdecombe right when she said that in the 21st century hedgehogs have


more rights than Christians? Widdecombe is often right. The way


we judge our aid decisions to look at human rights across the piece


that. Does mean how many people are treating Christians and the


appalling behaviour that some African countries treat people who


are gay. In Eastbourne we recruited recently 1881 apprentices in 100


days. My local training provider, Sussex Downs, tells me that 91% of


their hospitality apprentices go into full-time jobs. Will he agree


that apprentices work and in Eastbourne they work particularly


well? I'm happy to agree with my honourable friend about this. We


did find funding for an extra 50 ,000 apprenticeships last year and


achieved almost double that because of the enthusiasm there is amongst


the business community and young people to take on these apprentices.


We are running at about 360,000 a year and hope to achieve 250,000


more apprentices than were planned under the last Government. It's a


really important development in our country. We want to make sure the


the schemes are really aimed at young people who need work and


aimed at the higher level, people going on to get degree-equivalent


qualifications, so it is not seen as a second best. For many people


it's the right career path. There are companies like Rolls-Royce


where many people on the board started with an aplenty isship.


reflection is now the right time for the Prime Minister a to scrap


Labour's indeterminate sentences, as the Justice Secretary wants to


do, to save violent criminals from damaging the British public? Does


he agree this shouldn't be about prison places but protection of the


public? My honourable friend will be making an announcement about


this shortly, but I think what he will find is we are going to be


replacing a failed system that doesn't work, that public don't


understand, with tough, determinant sentences. People have always


wanted to know that when you get sent to prison for a serious


offence you don't, as currently, get let out halfway through. We


want to end that scandal and I expect lit have widespread support.


If women were to start businesses at the same rate as men we would


have 150 ,000 more businesses we are year this this country. I have


exceptional female entrepreneurs in my constituency, such as Kath kid


stofpblt what can the Prime Minister do to encourage -- Cath


Kidston. In the last budget there were a series of steps like the


enterprise finance schemes that we've established, like the changes


to capital gains tax. The biggest change is a change in culture, in


encouraging people to take that first step and supporting them


along the way as they go. Last week this House, to its great


credit, supported unanimously full transparency from Government of all


document relating to the Hillsborough disaster. Will he now


join me in calling on the South Yorkshire Police to follow the


example of the honourable member for Sheffield South East and commit


to exact same openness and ensure the Hillsborough independent panel


has unredacted access to all paper s? I will certainly look at the


issues. I think the Government has done what it should, in terms of


the Cabinet papers, but I'm happy to look at the points she raises


and come back to her. Would my right honourable friend join me in


praising all those adopt ers and foster carers for the fantastic


work they do, to encourage others to come forward and foster and


adopt and to recognise during National Care leaves Week that we


can do much more to provide the support that they often need


anduals deserve? I agree with my honourable friend. His own parents


I think helped to foster around 90 children over the last few decades.


Ats magnificent example. I think we really need to attack every aspect


of this issue. It is a national scandal that there are 3 ,660


children in the care system under the age of one. Last year I think


there were only 60 adoptions of those children. We've got to do a


lot better. Part of it is bureaucracy, part of it is culture,


but a lot of it is encouraging good foster and adoptive parents to come


forward and give them the security and knowledge that the process


won't be as bad as it is now. My honourable friend is Children's


Minister is leading this work. I'm confident we can make real


breakthroughs in this area. On 11 August the Prime Minister told this


House there would be a report to Parliament on cross-Government


activity relating to gangs. Where is that report and when will we


see? We are working across Whitehall on the gang issue. I


think in the past this was something that was dealt with in


the Home Office but there wasn't the same input from other


departments. When we are ready for a report to Parliament, we will


make it. When I worked in the private sector


I benefited from statutory maternity leave. Can the Prime


Minister remind the House how this Government is making work more


flexible and more family friendly? How typical of the party opposite


if someone talks about the private sector or job creation, all they've


got is a lack of respect and sneering. It is just absolutely


typical. My honourable friend speaks from great experience. We do


want to be a family friendly Government. That's why we are


putting the extra hours and help into nursery education, into the


child tax credits, increasing it by �290 for the least well-off


families, and we'll be introducing proper help for flexible parenting.


Westminster police command are now required to lose 240 police


community support officers, slash by two thirds the number of PCSs


doing security and counter- terrorism work, and further require


every police community support officer in the borough to reapply


for their own jobs. What message does the Prime Minister thinks this


sends to the public who want to see visible patrol-based policing on


their streets? Well, the point I would like to the honourable lady,


we are asking the Metropolitan Police Authority to find a cash


reduction over four years of 6.2%. We face an enormous deficit in this


country, because of what we inherited from the party opposite.


We do have to make difficult decision. I don't think it is


impossible to find a 6.2% cash reduction while keeping frontline


policing at the same time. I'm confident Boris Johnson will do


exactly that. Is the Prime Minister as enthusiastic as I am for the


Localism Bill. Does he agree the best way to tackle disengagement is


through local accountability? think my honourable friend makes a


very good point. We all know we are not building enough in this country,


in terms of houses for our young people or to end the scandal of


overcrowding for people on housing lists. The best way to get that to


happen is to make sure that local people feel they have a say and


control over development in their own area. That's the way to square


the circumstancele. The top down targets of the last Government


didn't work. The localist approach will work. The Prime Minister


pledged to fight bare knuckled against hospital closures will he


guarantee that for as long as he is Prime Minister there'll be no


hospital closures on his watch? pledge I can make is we are


expanding and funding the expansion of his hospital.


Can I congratulate the Prime Minister and thank him forual the


work this the Department for Education regarding free schools?


And can he please give encouragement to the two sets of


parent groups who are looking to build two free schools, a junior


and a secondary one, in south Derbyshire? I can certainly give


the honourable lady that encouragement. I think the free


schools policy is a great success. We see a number of high-quality


the opposition towards this policy. What we had was a new Education


Secretary who in the first plushs of the job -- flushs of job, said


he would support free schools but as soon as Unite picked up the


phone to him, he had to drop that altogether. If you want to know


what their policy is now, he said we oppose the policy but some of


them are going to be really, really good schools. Run by really good


people. And we must not put ourselves in a position as a Labour


Party of opposing these schools, so they opposed the policy but they


support the schools. What a complete bunch of hypocrites.


Can the Prime Minister explain why his Secretary of State for Health


was able to make concessions to the liberal del on the Health Bill in


the other place but was unable to recognise if need for these change


when they were debated here? Isn't this more about doing political


deals instead of what's right for our NHS? We are doing what's right


for our NHS. That's why average waiting times for inpatients are


down, for outpatients are down, hospital infections are at their


lowest level ever. We've got mixed sex wards down 91% under this


Government. The number of managers is down The number of doctor sups.


If she wants to see further improvements to the Health Bill


there'll be plenty of opportunities. Two thirds of the young people


involved this the riots had a special educational need. Does the


Prime Minister agree that this underlines the need for complex


solutions which tackle educational underachievement, rehabilitation as


well as punishment? Of course, as I've said many times, we have to


look behind the statistics and what happened and ask ourselves how


we've allowed so much to go wrong in our society. Clearly education


and special education needs play a role in that. I do think it is


important and the public want to see swift justice and punishment


handed out when people break the law. We did see that at the same


time of the riots and we should see PMQs comes to an end. The exchanges


were dominated by Europe, as we predicted. Not a difficult


prediction. Mr Miliband trying to get some clear blue, or even pink,


Cameron over the matter of whether power should be repatriated. The


Prime Minister falling back on the word that Nick Clegg had used,


rebalance. Charles Kennedy reminded us that was in the coalition


agreement so they are using that word. The dog that did not bark.


Not a single backbench MP got up and raced the matter on which


almost 100 of them voted against a three-line whip on Monday night,


which was of course Europe and the referendum. They prefer to talk


about incinerators and localism, or anything but Europe, in fact. We


will find out what this means in a moment but first we want to know


what you thought. Some viewers have picked up on the row over Europe


and the referendum. There seems to be widespread disappointment from


both leaders, about both leaders I should say, in terms of being


pinned down on Europe. "At they were both poor today. Ed Miliband


had an open goal on Europe but like Fernando Torres he blew it." 2 and


another one, David Cameron is acting like he is in opposition


rather than answering questions. And Ed Miliband has a poor


performance at PMQs, failing to paint David Cameron down -- pin him


down on Europe. This is the most evasive performance from David


Cameron, failing to answer the questions. But Helen says that


David won by a knockout. The EU is too important to keep trying to


score political points. And Ian Whitely says no answers to clear


questions. The Government is divided at the top about Europe.


David Cameron quotes Ed Miliband but never answers the questions.


And finally, from Damien in Manchester, why does Ed Miliband


waste is questions on pointless and obvious differences between David


Cameron and Nick Clegg from two different parties? Because that is


what we do! That is the kind of thing we do! What does it all mean,


James? We saw two things, the beginning of a pattern where Europe


will be the running injury that Labour will grind salt into, and


the question of repatriation. We will hear more on that. Until


something happens, that question cannot be answered. MPs will not


get clarity on that before the next election because it will be a


dividing line with the Liberal Democrat. We saw the new realities


of coalition Government. It is possible within the coalition


Government to have two parties that disagree on a policy, and you just


park the issue. That is OK when there is no political pressure


either way. There is now a huge political pressure on the


Government from the backbenches, and the Government is under


pressure to do something, which will lead to tensions. There are


already discussions going on among MPs about the implications that


this has for the and stitching of the coalition before the general


election. -- unstitching. Timing and method. This may be true of


both sides of the house. When backbenchers stage over Bellion and


give their own side a bloody nose, -- stage a rebellion, there next


instinct is to rally round the leader. Other than one question,


not a single difficult question from his own side. I think they


feel they have made their point because they made it forcefully


earlier this week. Politicians are tribal. When they have to put


policy before party, as they do sometimes, as they have done many


times before, they get uncomfortable. They then retrench


and tried to rejoin. The issue will not go away. They are looking for


other issues, to bring this up as a vote. They are forming a little


committee to a cat which powers should be repatriated. -- to look


at which powers. The desire to try to get the Tories away from Europe,


that is not going to happen. Europe is an important issue. What is the


big issue of the day? It is what is going to happen in the eurozone


particularly, but that is the European Union issue. The idea that


it can never be talked about some how is absurd. There are very


strong views about it. The question that Bernard Jenkin asked was


actually not particularly unhelpful. It was making the point that Nick


Clegg has in the past made the case that there may be some powers that


we should look at repatriating. I am not aware that the Lib Dems have


never said we could never contemplate any powers coming back.


That has never been the case. There is a huge amount to discuss here.


Is that the case? That is the case. You are not keen on it. I on the


fisheries policy you have said you could repatriate that. We have


always said that about the fisheries policy. You represent


lots of fisheries seats. That is partly it and we had lot of


expertise in that issue. Perhaps when you get expertise in other


areas you might change your opinions on them as well. I think


we are changing your views. But coming back to vocabulary,


repatriation versus rebalancing. The other phrase that I noticed you


jotting down was in response to Bernard Jenkin, which was a telling


question, that they will use it as an opportunity to advance the


national interest. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives


apparently agree about this. I detect the sense of a masterclass,


which will hold for a few months. - - as sense of sticking plaster.


defy repatriate something from Brussels to London, I have


rebalance the power arrangement. And if I rebalance something by


moving something from Brussels to London, I have repatriated


something. Do you understand the difference? I think the difference


is a political difference and they have to find wording that they


agree on. I think the Government are in a difficult situation. We


all know that the Lib Dems and Tories have different views on some


issues, but people do want to know what the Government things. I think


that is where people feel what is the Government delivering? And


should we repatriate the social chapter, making those decisions in


Britain? What would be wrong with making those decisions in Britain?


The fact is they did not come from Britain. They didn't. But why


should they not? Your party could have made those decisions when in


Government. Lot of them came in when the Conservatives were in


power because the Conservatives did not make those decisions, they came


from Europe. Do you have a problem... You have lost the power


to make decisions for ourselves. Why can we not be grown-up enough


to make our own decisions? Do you have a problem with the maternity


bill? That is not the point. Should we be able to make those decisions


ourselves in relation to Britain's particular circumstances? We have


different demographics and work force. Why do we need to aggregate


our response? Are there things you do not like? There may well be lots


of things in it that we would want and should have, and others we do


not want, but that should be for Westminster to decide rather than


Brussels. Can you answer that? do not know what these things are


that David Cameron or Michael Gove want to bring back to Britain.


was not what I asked, but never mind. James, you want to batten.


think the honest truth is that the treaty changes will be relatively


minor. The Government will use those, we understand, to argue the


case for protecting the City of London and the markets. It will not


be massive repatriation of powers, which is something for a later date.


All the MPs say that his election issue and it will not happen now.


Unless they can find a couple of issues around which Conservatives


and Liberal Democrats can agree. The Conservatives have already


persuaded the Liberal Democrats that there should be movement on


work tribunals, extending the period from one year to two. There


is a possibility that the Government will make unilateral


repatriation on a couple of things, and that is where the debate will


focus. Is it your understanding, but the eurozone create a fiscal


union without the approval of the for EU? -- could be eurozone.


don't know. That is why I am asking! You need to ask somebody


with knowledge in the law and they do not know if that is possible or


not. You said earlier that I signed the Maastricht Treaty as Norman


Lamont's deputy. I was not the Europe minister. That was clever!


He said he was very busy and it was my chance to put my foot print on


something. Here is a mug! We do have to move on. If Ed Miliband was


going to Brussels today as our Prime Minister, would there be in


substance any real difference in British policy? I think the big


difference is whether we think that cuts alone will get us out of the


current crisis. Wait a second. It is a big issue. Unless you have got


jobs and growth, and Greece has been in recession for four years


with an implement over 50%, it is hard to service the debt without


employment and growth. That is why we have seen the problems in Greece


growing. We need a strategy for jobs and growth across Europe


because that helps to get the economy back on track and it helps


the deficit as well. But would there be any difference at the


summit today? It is about whether this issue is on the agenda. If you


take the G20 summit, that was about dealing with the immediate problems


with the banks. But also about getting the economy moving again.


That is what we do not have at the moment. We need jobs and growth


across Britain and Europe if we are going to get the economy back on


track and pay back the deficit. That has to be on the agenda


because it is important to the solution. I am not sure how you


would sue hornet into today's agenda but it was just a


hypothetical question. -- shoehorn. Ever since the phone hacking


scandal, we have been putting the boot in to the Police Complaints


Commission. Ed Miliband have described them as a toothless


poodle. Poor thing. But Sir Christopher Meyer, chairman of the


PCC when the scandal hit the headlines in 2006, things that the


commission has been made a scapegoat.


The victims of the great phone hacking scandal have been queuing


in their dozens to receive generous compensation from News


International. But there is one victim that is more likely to be


punished, even liquidated. That is the Press Complaints Commission.


The PCC. I was its chairman when the phone hacking affair first


broke in 2006. It is a bad rap, it has been politically expedient to


make the PCC the whipping boy for the failures of a police


investigation. Phone hacking is a criminal offence. It is not the job


of the PCC to enforce the criminal law. Clive Goodman and Glenn


Mulcaire were found guilty under the Regulation of investigatory


Powers Act. That is why they went to prison. Of course the PCC also


bans phone hacking, unless the public interest justifies it. But


when its code of practice overlaps with the law, it is the law that


must take precedence. That is why the PCC could make no investigation


of its own until the legal process The PCC's report published in May


2007, soon after the imprisonment of Messrs Goodsman and Mulcaire,


focused on the lessons to be learned and new and tighter rules


for the agents. That is what the PCC is for - to raise standards.


And people forget that the report was widely welcomed by the


Government, by MPs, and, pass the smelling salgts, by the Guardian. -


- smelling salts. And yet today it is not good enough. It should have,


say the police, quasi powers of enforcement. But that's a further


erosion of our liberties. The commission should have known what


was going on, but that would have needed a commissar in the newsroom


with telepathic powers and X-ray eyes. Or the PCC should be


disbanded. Well, then, so should the police, because they can't stop


crime. The pity of it all is that phone hacking is a distraction from


what needs to be done to strengthen self regulation. Meanwhile the PCC


has never been more used by the general public than it is today.


What an irony that Lord Justice Leveson should be questioning its


very existence. Sir Christopher Meyer joins us.


Good to see you. You said what you said there, but isn't the harsh


truth that when British journalism was faced with its greatest crisis


of modern times, in terms of standards and ethics, the phone


hacking, the PCC was missing in action? Absolutely false. I


explained it as succinctly as I could in that television film. The


people who needed to be in action when a crime is committed are the


police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. And they


were. Once they were out of the way, within days the PCC went into a.


And this is the way it should be. When the PCC looked at this first


time round, it gave the News Of The World a clean bill of health. And


when it was asked to look at it again, not only did it accept a


letter from the editor of the News Of The World giving it another


clean bill of health but it attacked the Guardian for daring


the raise the issue all the time. Well, Mr Neil, I will answer for


the PCC for the time when I was its chairman 2006, May 2007, the report


that we did, did not give by anyway or means a clean bill of health to


the News Of The World. We said that the police investigation and what


we had been told by the new editor of the News Of The World, Mr Colin


Miner, did not disclose further information beyond the fact that it


seemed to be a rogue operation. We reflected what we had been told.


And the subsequent attack on the Guardian and acceptance of the


letter from the News Of The World? You must summon to this bar here


the following chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lady


Buscombe. We had her on here and I don't think she will be back, can I


tell you! The problem was not that the PCC is fine as long as Sir


Christopher Meyer is chairman, but that the PCC is fine, that was your


argument. No, my argument is that the phone hacking scandal is not


particularly useful nor particularly relevant to what needs


to be done to strengthen self regulation. What about the other


issue on privacy? I know phone hacking was in some ways privacy


but it was the illegality and criminality. The culture and media


committee said if if PCC was more balanced and effective it is more


likely people would want to use it on privacy matters, but they don't.


I find that completely lunatic, flying in the face of facts. The


PCC does 300 privacy cases in a year. The courts do, I don't know,


five, ten? Something like that. Overwhelmingly the general public,


these are the people who we should be concerned about, not whinging


MPs in Westminster, the general public flock to the PCC while


celebs and footballers and, I won't mention other people, go to the


courts. Go on, mention another person. You know who I'm talking


about. The fact of the matter is that thousands of people come to


the PCC. Think would not do so if it were a failed organisation.


me bring in a couple of whinging MPs, as you described them. Is it


not the Government's view now that this voluntary regulation, that


game is over for the media? No, I don't think it is necessarily, but


it does need to be effective. would you do that Look and see at


Lord Justice Leveson comes up with. I'm not going to pre-empt his view.


So the matter's been kicked into the long grass until the report


comes out? We know it is going to take a long time. There is no point


coming up with knee-jerk solutions here. I think Sir Christopher Meyer


is right that much of what the PCC has done is effective. Do you think


it behaved well in the phone hacking scandal? I'm not going to


make that judgment here at all. I think Christopher's point that


phone hacking was illegal, that it whereas a criminal offence, it is a


Press Complaints Commission. It is about dealing with complaints that


people make. I think we should be pretty sceptical about statutory


regulation of the press. A free press, if you are a Member of


Parliament, a free press is often a massive pain in the neck but it is


a crucial pillar. Even if you are a part of it it's a massive pain in


the neck at times. Does Labour have a policy towards press regulation?


Well, fine with self regulation... So you are? Well, if it works.


it? What we heard from Sir Christopher is the editor said that


things were OK and then it was give an clean bill of health. The PCC


didn't work and it let people down. We were right to set up an inquiry


but we need (Inaudible) at the end of it. Like Francis, we asked for


an inquiry to be done, so the fact that Lord Justice Leveson is


reporting, and that's the right thing to do. Clearly we can't go


back to business as usual in terms of regulation of the press.


wouldn't bet on it. A on that note of consensus between


the two front benches, we'll move on. Sir Christopher Meyer. Thank


you. It is the middle of the half- term holiday but for many teachers,


rather than relaxing they are in Westminster lobbying against plans


for their pension. 130,000 have signed, so what are their concerns?


My main concern is as a primary school teacher the energy that it


takes to be a primary school teacher and just the difficulty


then if you are to go on to be 66 or 68 years of age have that energy


to keep the standards and the standard of teaching and learning


up. I feel we've been left out on a limb and we are not being, that


they are not accountable to what they said they would do, and we are


just going to be down the road with hardly any money when we retire.


didn't enter the profession to make a lot of money. However, we are in


a pension scheme which was already altered in 2007 to make it


affordable. According to figures it is still affordable. And now the


Government is threatening to hit us several times, raising the


contributions and reducing the pension which we will get. It is


not fair. Mary Bousted is General Secretary


of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Francis Maude is here,


who has been in discussions with the public sect ore unions, what


would you like him to do? I boo like him to give us cost ceiling


for pension, give us an amount we can negotiate with and make it a


reasonable one. We've waited nine months for a cost ceiling. The


amount the Government says it can spend simply wraps up all the


savage cuts it is proposing to make to teachers' pension, making us


work to 68, paying up to 50% more for our contribution. Francis


Maude? My response is. This we want there to continue to be decent


pensions for teachers and other public sector workers. The truth is


these are good pension schemes. After the reforms they will


continue to be. We want to be in a position where for most people in


the public sector they will be able to retire on a pension that's as


good as they have now. We announced cost ceilings a month ago. We had a


very good meeting on Monday with the TUC, where we exchanged views.


It was a full and frank exchange of views. So you just agreed! We made


an agreement that these people will still be able to retire on a


pension at least as good as they retire on at the moment. Why are


these negotiations not getting any more? Life expectancy is ten years


longer, which is great, than in the 1970s and is rising by three months


a year. It is not unreasonable to expect, the majority of taxpayers


who don't have access to pensions like this, a guarantee of a pension


index linked and inflation proof after the reforms. People are


living longer why. Should all taxpayers bear the burden of trying


to keep going and maintaining public sector pensions? Are you


getting anywhere with these negotiations? These are the same


arguments you've been using for the last years is. There any progress?


There is progress. For the first name the scheme discussions unions


have come forward with specific concerns, specifics counter


proposals which have been helpful. I pay tribute to the unions for the


way in which that's been done. We've been consistently making an


offer, saying what we think the right outcome is, but getting very


little back. There is now positive and scrubtive engame one of the --


constructive feed-back. It sounds like there is progress. We hope


there'll be progress. On the age or the contributions for type of


scheme? We are not quite there yet. We've waited nine months for the


Government to say what the cost ceiling will be. We've got it. We


are looking at it. He a meeting with the Department for Education


yesterday and we said electronically to the officials we


are prepared to negotiate but this cost ceiling isn't good enough. We


can't negotiate within this. So we've sent them back, the officials,


to say we can present very strong arguments about why the cost


ceiling needs to be improved and we are going to do that. Reach reach


reach, whose side are you on here? I think we need an outcome --


Rachel Reeves, whose side are you on here? I think both sides need to


give a bit. The Government commissioned Lord Hutton to produce


a report but pre-empted that with the increase in contributions. The


unions need to give on things like moving to a career average pension


scheme. Would you do that? Retirement age does need to


increase as people live longer. Both sides need to give and have


frank discussion. At the moment we've had megaphone diplomacy from


the Government. No, we've been making proposals. Upping the


rhetoric doesn't help get the solution that people in the public


sector need and people who rely on public services need. Yes or no to


a negotiated deal? You've got to have a negotiated deal. The speaker


has ruled he doesn't want the hear the words hypocrite or mug used


again. Unparliamentary. But you can always talk about this mug. The


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