20/01/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks and welcome to the Daily Politics on Friday.


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


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


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


the High Court. Could we be about to give billions


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


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


be facing a rebellion from the backbenches?


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


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


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


Underground into illegal operation and potentially to encourage growth


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


news about the alleged driving offences surrounding the Climate


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


what has been happening this morning?


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


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


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


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


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


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


clear the Times newspaper group had decided not to challenge the


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


lawyer said this morning, the original production order had been


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


heart of journalists sources? protecting your sauce. The police


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


produce what ever evidence it is. Traditionally newspapers fight it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


How much should British taxpayers contribute to rescuing the


eurozone? It was reported this week that the International Monetary


Fund is seeking more than double its lending resources for countries


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


it over the �40 billion limit already approved by Parliament.


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


Commons again will give euro sceptics yet another chance to have


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


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


what is being suggested. So billions of pounds of British


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


responsibilities. We were talking about needing to expand trade to


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


being part of the international economy, but not have the


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


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


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


live up to our international responsibilities, but the money


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


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


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


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


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


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


help these eurozone countries. Well eurozone countries themselves be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Americans were not participating in this. The White


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


an let C. Would we still participate without American


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


important, the Obama administration is trying to put pressure on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


schools, motorways and railway lines across the country and now


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


but staff want to know why scrapyards are not asking more


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


scrapyard and just presented as something they have got legally


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


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


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


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


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


95% and the largest theft Staffordshire police reported was


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


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


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


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


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


rogue trained as -- traders handling storing metal.


association representing scrap dealers favour photo ID. That will


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


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


business underground into illegal operation and potentially to


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


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


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


group demanding reforms on so called "metal laundering".


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


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


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


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


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


Manufacturers are having metal stolen before they can even fulfil


customer orders. In the constituencies like mine in Dudley


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lead offered church roof is so valuable that people can get


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


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


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


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


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


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


whether it is legislation currently going through the Lords or the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


minister to discuss how the Government can introduce cashless.


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


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


Thank you. Time now for our look back over the


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


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


Spot the difference with leaders calling for a fare economy.


Response until capitalism. Popular capitalism. And there were also


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


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


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


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


airport on the Thames estuary gained support from ministers.


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


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


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


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


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


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


socialism. Now they talk about capitalism with a cuddly adjective


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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