20/01/2012 Daily Politics


20/01/2012

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Afternoon folks and welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday.

:00:44.:00:47.

Chris Huhne's troubles over alleged driving offences are about to come

:00:47.:00:50.

to a climax. The Sunday Times say it will hand over to police,

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crucial evidence relating to the case. We'll have the latest from

:00:54.:00:57.

the High Court. Could we be about to give billions

:00:57.:01:04.

more to the IMF to help shore up countries in the eurozone? Many

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Tory MPs aren't too happy about that prospect. Could George Osborne

:01:08.:01:13.

be facing a rebellion from the backbenches?

:01:13.:01:16.

Metal theft is on the increase - MPs want new laws to end the cash

:01:16.:01:21.

trade in scrap metal. But some say this could penalise small

:01:21.:01:31.
:01:31.:01:32.

businesses. If we tried to ban cash, this will drive the business

:01:32.:01:35.

Underground into illegal operation and potentially to encourage growth

:01:35.:01:41.

of organised crime. Yes, all that in our last ever

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half-hour programme! That's right, from Monday the Daily Politics

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becomes an hour-long feast of political programming. You lucky

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people! Joining me on this historic day are Kevin Maguire of the Mirror

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and Melissa Kite. She works for a magazine called the Spectator. Nope,

:02:08.:02:13.

I haven't heard of it either. Welcome to you both. First this

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morning let's go straight over to the High Court. We've got some more

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news about the alleged driving offences surrounding the Climate

:02:18.:02:25.

Change Secretary, Chris Huhne. Ben Geoghan is there for us. Then came

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what has been happening this morning?

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It came as a surprise to everyone. We turned up at the court,

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expecting the Sunday Times would argue the court had to agree with

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them they should hand over these e- mails that had been at the centre

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of this whole issue. E-mails the Sunday Times had which Essex Police

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want to have a look at, as part of their investigation into the

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allegations surrounding Chris Huhne. But within a few minutes it became

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clear the Times newspaper group had decided not to challenge the

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production order which had been issued by Essex Police and as one

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lawyer said this morning, the original production order had been

:03:10.:03:16.

is conceived, the challenge to the Miss -- the challenge to the

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original production order had been Miss conceived. So it looks as

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though these e-mails will be handed over by the Sunday Times to the

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Essex Police, so it will form part of the police investigation. Are we

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any nearer knowing when and if the police are going to charge Chris

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Huhne, or walk away because they haven't got the case against him?

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think this decision will be pivotal. In November, the DPP Keir Starmer

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said they were very close to making a decision. He did not spell out

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what that decision was likely to be, but he did say what they were

:03:59.:04:02.

waiting for was a resolution about this issue of evidence, which at

:04:02.:04:07.

the time the Sunday Times were reluctant to hand over. Now they

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have agreed to do that and things are likely to move on quickly. We

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should expect a decision from the CPS before too long. Keir Starmer

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Sen we wouldn't prosecute if we did not have enough evidence, but he

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said we wouldn't shy away from prosecuting a politician if we felt

:04:26.:04:36.
:04:36.:04:36.

there was evidence. Thanks for the update. Kevin, what has the Sunday

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Times on first? There will be some criticism because this goes to the

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heart of journalists sources? protecting your sauce. The police

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can apply for a production order way you are required in law to

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produce what ever evidence it is. Traditionally newspapers fight it

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all the way, otherwise why would people come to you as a journalist

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and give you information if they think it will be handed to the

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police? I think the Sunday Times performed a public role by putting

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these allegations out into the public arena, but it was for the

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police to get their own evidence. Chris Huhne has not got a huge

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number of allies in the Tories or in his own party. But you do have

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to feel for him. The police have to make up their minds. This has been

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hanging over him for a long time. They have to make up their minds if

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they will take this forward or, if they have not got the evidence,

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back off? He has not got any friends because this was a stupid

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thing to have got involved with. If he had just been done for speeding,

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none of this would have happened. It is assuming he has done anything

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wrong, which we don't know? He has maintained his innocence all the

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way through. It has gone so long, it started last summer. He could

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have driven round the world several times. Maybe he did? Maybe he did!

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He has very few friends. But he has a rhino hide, he has the toughest

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skin I have come across in politics. It all bounces of him, he will have

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to have his fingers prized one by one from a red box if they will get

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him out, should he be charged. he is charged, he will have to step

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down from the Cabinet and Mr Cameron will be faced with a

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reshuffle. The question then, does David Cameron goes for an

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Elastoplast reshuffle just to fill the position, limit changes as much

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as he can, or will he go for a Big Bang? I am told he wants to go for

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a big bang. He hasn't had a reshuffle for a while and wants to

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move a few people. This will be the time to do it. There are rumours he

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will be even bring back David Laws, who you'll remember was forced to

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resign in another scandal. He will either bringing back or move Ed

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Davey, who he has talked as a proper -- possible replacement. He

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could move Vince Cable out of business and put David Laws into

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the business role. Moving Vince Cable over to Chris Huhne's job.

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:07:44.:07:44.

Vince Cable, Ed Davey, three had been smile as? Fall of the joys.

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Big Bang or Elastoplast? I think he would get that over and done with

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and then have a proper reshuffle later. He is ready for one but had

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an Elastoplast went David Laws went. Also Liam Fox, the Defence

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Secretary for taking his best friend to work. He has two

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reshuffles. A Lib Dem reshuffle with her five posts and the

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conservative reshuffle. If the police decide they have no evidence,

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there will be no reshuffle at all no doubt. Absolutely.

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How much should British taxpayers contribute to rescuing the

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eurozone? It was reported this week that the International Monetary

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Fund is seeking more than double its lending resources for countries

:08:32.:08:42.
:08:42.:08:45.

in trouble to around a trillion dollars. And that means the UK is

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in the frame for another huge contribution. As a member of the

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IMF, the British government is liable to contribute 4.5% of the

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IMF's lending facility. The United Kingdom has already pumped in �30

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billion to the IMF's coffers. But now the international body wants

:09:02.:09:11.

more. It needs more bail-out money. The Chancellor has ruled out any

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direct support to the eurozone, but said the UK would be willing to

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provide more resources if he felt it was a decent request. That could

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mean expanding our contribution by an additional �17 billion, taking

:09:22.:09:32.
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it over the �40 billion limit already approved by Parliament.

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That vote, last July, saw 32 MPs rebel and having to go back to the

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Commons again will give euro sceptics yet another chance to have

:09:39.:09:49.
:09:49.:09:59.

a pop. Here's what one of those rebels said this morning.

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We should be putting money into the IMF to bail out the Euro. That is

:10:05.:10:10.

what is being suggested. So billions of pounds of British

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taxpayers' money as a fig-leaf and then be put into the Euro. We did

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say we wouldn't bail out the Euro, but we would be it be put it in Mia

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the IMF. Enough is enough. But that was to come before Parliament I

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think there would be a battle. We're joined now by the

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Conservative MP and former adviser to George Osborne, Matthew Hancock,

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and by the Shadow Treasury Minister, Chris Leslie. Matthew Hancock, if

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we do participate in a 500 billion cash call by the IMF, how much

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would we be up for? It depends exactly on the numbers. That is

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what I am asking for, a number? you said, there was a leaked IMF

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document that suggested the UK's contribution would be in the region

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of tens of billions. But the question is, do we want to be a

:11:05.:11:11.

member of the IMF? As we saw in the clip, it is clear the Government

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has said it shouldn't bale-out the eurozone. It is for the eurozone to

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do. But the IMF exists to support countries that go bankrupt and not

:11:21.:11:27.

currencies. It is an important distinction. Are you raising the

:11:27.:11:32.

issue of our membership of the IMF? If you vote against giving more

:11:32.:11:35.

resources to the IMF, when the rest of the world gives more resources

:11:35.:11:40.

to the IMF, he was saying you won't stand up to your international

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responsibilities. We were talking about needing to expand trade to

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China and Brazil, but you cannot both want to get the benefits of

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being part of the international economy, but not have the

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responsibilities which is paying your part. Britain's part is a

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small proportion. Do we stay in, or get out of the IMF? We absolutely

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stay in. I was very clear, I think we should absolutely stay in and

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live up to our international responsibilities, but the money

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should go to countries and not currencies. Do you think the

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British should participate in this cash call from the IMF? I don't

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know about this one, but we have to recognise there is a difference

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between being supportive of the IMF as an institution and then judge in

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every time they ask for more resources, is it necessary? The

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things it depends upon art is it going in as a sticking plaster to

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help these eurozone countries. Well eurozone countries themselves be

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dipping into their own pockets first before asking the rest of the

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world? We have to be supportive of the IMF, but we cannot just give a

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more and more cash Ann Leslie have a European central bank doing a

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proper job and Germany and others of dipping into their own pockets

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first. We are talking about conditions that might not be met,

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so you might be sceptical about another chunk of cash to the IMF?

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We need to see more action on the ECB. They have been doing more

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things in the secondary market. A lot of people are asking will they

:13:20.:13:24.

be a proper lending as a last resort? Where is the diplomatic

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pressure on Germany who are giving away tax cuts. It is a very wealthy

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eurozone, they should be putting up some of their own resources more

:13:34.:13:38.

quickly than they come to the rest of the world. It sounds like you

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could be facing a vote against by the Labour Party and by a lot of

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your own backbenchers? The position of the Labour Party seems to be

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extraordinary. I don't understand it. It you could just explain it?

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The Labour Party support of the membership of the IMF. The last

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increase in contributions to the IMF was knitters it to buy Gordon

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Brown. The party voted against it. -- was negotiated. The Labour Party

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said it would support the IMF if the money was for individual

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countries. That is the proposal on the table, so why don't you say you

:14:23.:14:28.

will support it? He did not say it was a proposal. It is a leaked

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document. Until we know what is out there... We are trying to clarify

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the Labour position. You sound as it you would take some convincing?

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I'm not going to make any apologies for taking care of taxpayers' money.

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This is billions of our resources, and we have to be careful. It it is

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the right thing to do and make sense, it there are no other

:14:53.:14:56.

solutions and the European Union and the Arizona are doing what they

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have to do, we will have to look at it. -- eurozone. The implication of

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some of your answers where, if we did not participate in this

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upcoming cash call, it would lead to questioning are very membership

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of the IMF. But as revealed on this programme about three weeks ago,

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the Americans were not participating in this. The White

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House has made it clear they are not going to put an extra dollar

:15:28.:15:31.

into the 500 billion the IMF wants. It was confirmed again this week on

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the record, by the President Obama White House. Nobody says it takes

:15:37.:15:41.

away the membership of the Americans from the IMF. If the

:15:41.:15:44.

Americans don't participate, and they are there because ones who

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pony up the cash, the 500 billion It is about living up your global

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responsibilities. This is about practice, not principle. If America

:15:58.:16:03.

doesn't participate, and given that the Europeans don't have any money,

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the round probably will not happen. It will only happen if there's a

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large number of G20 countries that come on board. But money in even if

:16:14.:16:19.

the Americans didn't. I would not support us putting money in

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different league if we were not supported by a large number of G20.

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-- 20 -- different league. Including the Americans or not? If

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an let C. Would we still participate without American

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participation? Let's find at the final proposals. It is really

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important, the Obama administration is trying to put pressure on

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Germany. We are saying the same. If you are saying whatever they ask,

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we must deliver the cash, that would be childish. I don't think

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anybody has to listen to a Labour spokesman on value for money.

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political points at this time on a Friday? It is what the viewers were

:17:07.:17:14.

thinking. I think this is quite a difficult issue for Labour and

:17:14.:17:19.

Conservative at the moment. There is no appetite to put in billions,

:17:19.:17:23.

particularly if the Americans have said no, which are then used to go

:17:23.:17:27.

to eurozone countries. It is a backdoor way of shovelling billions

:17:27.:17:31.

into the euro. It might be going to the countries rather than the

:17:31.:17:36.

currencies, it is the same. Using the IMF as a middleman. Matt and

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Chris probably agree more than it appears. I believe their line

:17:42.:17:48.

managers, George Osborne and Ed Balls, do. Particularly if Labour

:17:48.:17:52.

is not necessarily on board, these rebels could scupper this. Absolute

:17:52.:18:01.

glee. I can see why Tory MPs want to draw a line in the sand. This is

:18:01.:18:06.

a moment when Tory MPs who oppose pouring money into euro land say

:18:06.:18:11.

this is it, this is the line in the sand. If not here, when when you

:18:11.:18:19.

draw it? When the IMF get this money and uses it for a bail out,

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why would Labour want to do it? The conditions it imposes on the

:18:23.:18:27.

countries, like Greece, are exactly the kind of austerity conditions of

:18:27.:18:31.

Gough -- cutting government spending, raising taxes, that you

:18:31.:18:37.

oppose. Why would you at the IMF? Sometimes their policies could

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change. Posterity alone is definitely not the answer. -- or

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austerity alone. Another party political point! 1-1. We will leave

:18:51.:19:01.
:19:01.:19:01.

it there. The IMF do what is right. It's being stolen from church roofs,

:19:01.:19:03.

schools, motorways and railway lines across the country and now

:19:03.:19:06.

MPs are pushing for tougher rules to stop metal thefts. A Private

:19:06.:19:10.

Members Bill on the issue gets its second reading in parliament today.

:19:10.:19:13.

It comes as a BBC investigation has revealed that �35 million worth of

:19:13.:19:17.

metal has been stolen in just one region, the West Midlands, over the

:19:17.:19:27.
:19:27.:19:37.

past four years. Here's Susana Metal. Crushed in the Black Country,

:19:37.:19:42.

destined for places like China. And there are huge amounts of money to

:19:42.:19:48.

be made. A ton of copper, for example, will be worth around

:19:48.:19:54.

�5,000 on the metals market. Steel would be worth a bit less, �340 a

:19:54.:20:03.

tonne. But a ton of lead could Wrekin almost �1,300. -- bring in.

:20:03.:20:06.

No wonder thieves took the lead off the roof of this Birmingham School

:20:06.:20:12.

while no one was in. It has been replaced with a substitute material,

:20:12.:20:15.

but staff want to know why scrapyards are not asking more

:20:15.:20:21.

questions. They seem to be able to strip a building and turn up at a

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scrapyard and just presented as something they have got legally

:20:25.:20:31.

without too many questions. It is a growing problem nationally. In one

:20:31.:20:35.

region, the West Midlands, figures released after the BBC under the

:20:35.:20:40.

Freedom of Information Act show they have been almost 30,000 metal

:20:40.:20:44.

thefts there since 2008, the bulk of those dealt with by West

:20:44.:20:49.

Midlands police. The West Mercia force saw metal thefts a rise by

:20:49.:20:52.

95% and the largest theft Staffordshire police reported was

:20:52.:20:57.

to the tune of �100,000. MPs behind a private member's bill say the

:20:57.:21:02.

answer is a ban on cash sales. absolute key point is the cashless

:21:03.:21:06.

system. It is the only industry that has an extension to deal

:21:06.:21:11.

almost exclusively in cash. I think that is wrong and most of the

:21:11.:21:16.

industry which is legitimate also thinks it is wrong. It is a few

:21:16.:21:22.

rogue trained as -- traders handling storing metal.

:21:22.:21:29.

association representing scrap dealers favour photo ID. That will

:21:29.:21:34.

produce the answers we want. That will produce the audit trail and a

:21:34.:21:40.

traceability whereas if we tried to ban cash, this will just drive the

:21:40.:21:43.

business underground into illegal operation and potentially to

:21:43.:21:51.

encourage the growth of organised crime. The stakes are high. After

:21:51.:21:59.

all, this is an industry that Joining us now is the Conservative

:21:59.:22:03.

MP Chris Kelly - he was in the film there. He founded the parliamentary

:22:03.:22:11.

group demanding reforms on so called "metal laundering".

:22:11.:22:17.

Sounds a bit painful! What do you make of the British metals

:22:17.:22:21.

recycling Association? They said that if you go to a cashless system,

:22:21.:22:25.

it will be bad for a small businesses and you create a black

:22:25.:22:31.

market. That is completely false. I have a lot of metal dealers in my

:22:32.:22:37.

constituency... It is causing huge damage to the economy.

:22:37.:22:40.

Manufacturers are having metal stolen before they can even fulfil

:22:40.:22:46.

customer orders. In the constituencies like mine in Dudley

:22:46.:22:49.

South, it has to be eliminated, cash has to be eliminated from the

:22:49.:22:56.

system. What about the idea of an ID for metal? I'm not sure how that

:22:56.:23:01.

would work. Couldn't you just melted down? That is exactly the

:23:01.:23:05.

point. Most of the metal is melted down within a few miles of where it

:23:05.:23:11.

is stolen. The traceability is an important issue. As long as you

:23:11.:23:14.

allow cash to be used for the sale of metal, you will never be able to

:23:14.:23:18.

trace it. That is the fundamental issue. You seem to think this has

:23:18.:23:22.

been a problem for some time, but getting worse. As the value of

:23:22.:23:27.

metal has spiked. Be it has become more valuable to steal. Exactly.

:23:27.:23:31.

Lead offered church roof is so valuable that people can get

:23:31.:23:35.

thousands of pounds in cash. That will not be declared to the Revenue.

:23:35.:23:39.

This could build a lot of schools and hospitals. Has parliament been

:23:39.:23:44.

slow to act or are you now, having seen the evidence, on-track?

:23:44.:23:51.

Home Office has a joint task force across departments. What the

:23:51.:23:54.

Government have said is that the cashless system is on the agenda,

:23:54.:23:58.

it is now just finding the right legislative vehicle to do that,

:23:58.:24:01.

whether it is legislation currently going through the Lords or the

:24:01.:24:05.

private member's bill. The Government wants to outlaw cash

:24:05.:24:11.

from the system. Parliament doing the right thing? A thing so.

:24:11.:24:15.

There's public outrage about war memorial sculpture being stolen,

:24:15.:24:19.

the inconvenience when your train is cancelled because tow it -- some

:24:19.:24:24.

toe rag has gone off with copper cabling. But that government is not

:24:24.:24:30.

backing the private member's bill. You have to ban cash payments. If

:24:30.:24:35.

it is all bank transfers, that is how... Are you can trace it. Have

:24:35.:24:39.

you had much metal stolen? Not yet, but I'm starting to get worried

:24:40.:24:46.

about it. It is quite depressing. There's a horrible moral thing

:24:46.:24:51.

about people stealing metal crosses from churches and so on. I wonder

:24:51.:24:55.

if it is linked to the downturn as well. People are more desperate.

:24:55.:24:59.

Yes. Why is the Government not backing this? The at his for the

:24:59.:25:05.

Government spokesman to answer. Will they make time for you?

:25:05.:25:10.

have met with Oliver Henley, we are meeting with the deregulation

:25:10.:25:13.

minister to discuss how the Government can introduce cashless.

:25:13.:25:17.

If you can come back in six months, will it be on the statute book?

:25:17.:25:21.

doubt it, but we will be a lot closer by the second half of 2012.

:25:21.:25:25.

Thank you. Time now for our look back over the

:25:25.:25:28.

big stories of the last seven days - here's Giles with the week in 60

:25:28.:25:37.

Capitalism was in the firing line this week as the country played

:25:37.:25:43.

Spot the difference with leaders calling for a fare economy.

:25:43.:25:47.

Response until capitalism. Popular capitalism. And there were also

:25:47.:25:51.

cross-party calls for Sir Fred Goodwin to be stripped. Of his

:25:51.:25:56.

knighthood. I can promise you now... Ed Miliband angered union

:25:56.:26:02.

supporters by saying Labour could not promise to reverse cuts. For

:26:02.:26:05.

Boris Island could become a reality as grand plans to build the new

:26:05.:26:09.

airport on the Thames estuary gained support from ministers.

:26:09.:26:14.

Figures this week showed more than 370,000 migrants are claiming work-

:26:14.:26:18.

related benefits. And what better way to cheer us all up and building

:26:18.:26:22.

a brand new yacht for the Queen. A leaked letter revealed Michael

:26:23.:26:26.

Gove's support for the plans although he later said it would be

:26:26.:26:32.

privately funded. Should we expect easy Britannia? HMS ASDA? Or

:26:32.:26:42.
:26:42.:26:44.

There was a time when parts of the Labour Party used to talk about

:26:44.:26:47.

socialism. Now they talk about capitalism with a cuddly adjective

:26:47.:26:56.

in front of it. That is a change. get all due regard for the past! I

:26:56.:27:01.

suppose the big change was in 1994. Using that change is still...

:27:01.:27:05.

think it is in labour's constitution to support the dynamic

:27:05.:27:13.

market economy. It is the new battleground, the new sexy thing to

:27:13.:27:17.

talk but in politics. Everyone wants moral markets, but nobody has

:27:17.:27:24.

come up with a blueprint to do it. Do you get a sense, I certainly do,

:27:24.:27:31.

that this view to strip Fred the shred of his night had? They are

:27:31.:27:34.

building this up with Goldman Sachs announcing �8 billion in bank

:27:34.:27:40.

bonuses. It is a diversion. It is a side issue. I couldn't care less.

:27:40.:27:46.

It will not help either way. Shall we get the 45 billion Royal Bank of

:27:46.:27:50.

Scotland... A couple of hundred 1,000 people would probably like

:27:50.:27:58.

their jobs back. What about the 7% of GDP we lost? Talking about

:27:58.:28:06.

taking it back from the Tories, saying... It is a gesture. It is.

:28:06.:28:11.

It does strike a popular chord. What probably gets me even more is

:28:11.:28:15.

that if you look at the House of Lords, you have expenses cheats, an

:28:15.:28:19.

arsonist, they have jobs for life and they pass laws. At least with

:28:19.:28:24.

Fred the shred, he doesn't get any taxpayers' money. The bank had it.

:28:24.:28:32.

We shall see. I think his knight had his post. -- nightclub.

:28:32.:28:36.

That's all for this week - Jo will be back on Monday with more Daily

:28:36.:28:40.

Politics and she'll be with you for a whole hour, from 12-1. She'll be

:28:40.:28:43.

Presented by Andrew Neil.

Conservative MP Matthew Hancock and Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie discuss the prospect that the UK may have to give billions more in loans to the IMF to help bail out the eurozone. Political journalists Kevin Maguire and Melissa Kite join Andrew in the studio.


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