25/01/2012 Daily Politics


25/01/2012

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn have live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions and the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Good morning, folks. This is the Daily Politics. The Governor of the

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Bank of England says, do not despair, or crises come to an end.

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Is that the best he can do? There is more bad economic news this

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morning. According to provisional figures, the economy shrank by 0.2%

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in the last three months of 2011. We will have the latest on what

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that might mean. Despite the economic gloom, the Prime Minister

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is ahead in the polls. He will be taking on Ed Miliband at midday.

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And he'll be taking on the European Court of Human Rights. This

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afternoon he is off to Strasbourg to demand changes to the way the

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court operates. And everyone seems to think lobbying is a dirty word.

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We will be talking to one man who claims it is actually a noble

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So, all of that and much more coming up in the next 90 minutes.

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That is before half the Cabinet Probably not for skiing, although I

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bet a few of them get a couple of slopes in. But they are going to

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sort out the world economy... That will not take them along(!) With

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its port the duration are a couple of politicians. They are not

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carrying ski gear. They are more interested, according to the Daily

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Mail, in beach volleyball. With us we have the employment minister

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Chris Grayling and the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne.

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Is it true that there is a strong interest in beach volleyball among

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ministers? There is no doubt that if you live in the Cabinet Office,

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the hottest ticket is having an office overlooking Horse Guards

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Parade. According to the report, politicians and bureaucrats have

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spent �26,000 on 410 tickets, all of them on beach volleyball?

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don't think it is for the politicians, but it is for the

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Olympics staff. It is their choice, they seemed very keen. I have no

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idea why. You must have some idea! It is a mystery to me. Let's turn

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our attention to Alex Salmond. In a couple of hours he will be

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outlining his proposals for a referendum on independence. I'm

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joined by Stuart Maxwell, a member of the Scottish parliament. He is

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from Alex Salmond's SNP. Speaking for yourself and not for Alex

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Salmond or the Scottish Executive, run by your party, of course, what

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question are all questions would you like to see on the ballot

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paper? I would like to see a straightforward question about

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whether or not the people of Scotland want to vote yes or no to

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independence. That is my position, my colleagues' position, my party's

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position and Alex Salmond's position. If it is your position

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and the position of the Labour and Conservative parties, even the

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Liberal Democrat party, I assume that is what we will get? Well, of

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course, the consultation will launch this afternoon. We will lay

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out the question we want to see. We will also ask the people of

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Scotland what they want. It is clear this is a democratic process.

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We have to listen to the people and see whether or not there really is

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widespread demand for not just an independence question, but perhaps

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a second question on further powers. That is a matter for the people

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involved in the consultation. would you judge what Scottish

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opinion is on this matter of whether there should be more than

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one question? Well, obviously the consultation this afternoon will be

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launched. We will have several months of people having the chance

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to put their views to the Scottish parliament. I think that will show

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a very widespread opinion. We have also got meetings and campaigns

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been launched by civic Scotland, trade unions, voluntary

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organisations and others, saying that they want to take part. They

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have a strong opinion and I am sure there will also contribute to the

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debate. I think we will get a clear position about what they want to

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save. Is it accepted that you can have views on the nature of the

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referendum, the question, who should preside over it to make sure

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it is fair and free, but in the end you need the support of the

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Westminster Parliament to avoid a legal challenge? I don't agree with

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that. I think we can have the referendum and it is quite clear

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that has already been proven in that the 2010 paper issued by the

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Scottish government. But I think it is a red herring. If the UK

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government wished to pass a section 30 order, as it is called, and take

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away any doubt of legality, we are quite willing to accept this. We

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have said many times, go-ahead, give the Scottish parliament the

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power to carry out the referendum, legally, but do not attach any

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strings. If they are worried about legality, they should pass power to

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the Scottish parliament. It is the strings they want to attach that is

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the problem. At the weekend, the Professor of Law at the University

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of Glasgow and at the University of Edinburgh, and I think we agree you

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cannot get higher authority than that in Scotland, they both said it

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was clearly a reserve power and that Westminster had to have the

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final say. Well, the constitution clearly is a reserve power. There

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has never been an argument about that. The issue is whether or not

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the Scottish parliament could ask questions of the Scottish people

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and find out what their views are. A consultative referendum, in other

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words. That has always been a position, it is the position of

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many experts in Scotland and it is within the power of the Parliament

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to do that. It is a bit of a red herring. Nobody wants to argue

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about these things. Go ahead and give the Scottish parliament powers.

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Just don't try to dictate the terms along with those powers. I want to

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bring in our guests in London. Chris Grayling, what is the

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Government redline? Will they allow more than one question on

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independence? David Cameron has been very clear. This is a matter

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for the Westminster Parliament. We accept that the question needs to

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be put. But we have also said that we think there needs to be a yes or

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no question put sooner rather than later, so that the issue can be

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addressed. It is not one where Scotland is going to benefit from a

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long, drawn-out process, with huge amounts of uncertainty. Yes or no

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is what you insist on? What is the Labour position? It is a big

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question. I don't think we should muck about. We should get on with

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getting the question put to the people of Scotland. I think it

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should be one question on the ballot paper. Let's not muddy the

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waters, let's come to a clear and rapid view. Mr Maxwell, if the

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Scottish government executive proceeds with what you have just

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called a consultative referendum, if you do that, would you not then

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have to return after you tried to negotiate independence and have a

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binding referendum, a second referendum by the Scottish people

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to agree on what you have negotiated? No, another red herring

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and another scare story about multiple referendums. One single

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referendum would empower the Scottish people are at her you just

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said it would only be consultative. A consultative referendum, that

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cannot be enough for independence? I'm sorry that I have to let you

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know that virtually every referendum that has been held in

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the UK has been consultative. The AV referendum last year was

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consultative. But the results are not ignored. It is just a legal

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technicality. That is normal process. Even after you have done

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the deal and negotiated terms, which might be very different from

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what was discussed in the first referendum, you would not go back

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to the Scottish people to get approval? Correct? The Scottish

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people would have made their decision that they wanted

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independence and a positive vision for Scotland. I think that is what

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they will do. One referendum, clear enough. Thanks for joining us.

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Let's turn our attention to the armed forces. A group of MPs have

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called it grotesque and shocking about 40% of redundancies amongst

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servicemen and women are to be compulsory. Current civilian

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redundancies at the Ministry of Defence will be voluntary. The

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defence select committee also wants to know why people cannot be

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retrained. Chris Grayling, that does sound and fair, if civilian

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staff are allowed the flexibility and not military staff? -- unfare.

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That's not actually true. Philip Hammond has said this morning that

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is wrong. We have to make reductions in the Ministry of

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Defence and the armed forces. There are more posts going into a

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civilian area. We are looking to make sure that, where possible, any

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changes come through voluntary redundancy. There are not enough

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people coming forward. That puts you in a position where you have to

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take other measures. We would rather the whole thing was done

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voluntarily, certainly offering people the opportunity to retrain

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in other areas. That is something we are doing across government,

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looking at how people can have an opportunity to go elsewhere.

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are you being more successful with civilian staff? There are quite

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significant shortages in particular areas. Some people need to be

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highly trained, like bomb disposal experts. But why are not enough of

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the military staff are being offered the retraining? We are

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offering retraining where we can. You ask why eat fewer people are

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coming forward for voluntary redundancy from the military side,

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it is because fewer people are coming forward. We cannot dictate

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how many people come forward for voluntary redundancy. We just have

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to respond to the situation as it arises. What about the second part?

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They still have huge shortages, fill them with the staff that don't

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want to go. We are clear in saying that we are offering retraining

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wherever we can. Obviously not enough. If you are having to make

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that number of people, 40%, redundant and there are that many

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vacancies, there is a mismatch? There is never the case where every

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individual is suitable for every vacancy. But we are doing

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everything we can. Why would we pay somebody off if we can retrain

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them? I don't know, I think that is the question. Of course, we will

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try to do that. Liam Byrne, there is a practical reality here. Labour

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supports the cuts, as they stand, presumably? Reductions need to be

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made, but this is a cross-party House of Commons select committee

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and it is a pretty damning indictment. Yes, using the words

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grotesque and shocking. It is frankly letting the troops down. I

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have met senior officers that have looked at what is happening and

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have taken successful jobs in the private sector. They say there is

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not the kind of retraining opportunities to help them take

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roles that are available in the MoD on of the civilian side. The

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Government cannot be complacent. We need to step back, that that the

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detail of the report and perhaps take on board recommendations.

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be fair to Chris Grayling, he said that not enough people were coming

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forward for voluntary redundancy. What do you do in that situation?

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When the report is saying that troops are being let down and not

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given enough opportunities to retrain and potentially fulfilled

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roles within the MoD, the Government should not dismiss it

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out of hand. It should sit down with the committee and see if there

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is more that the Government can do. Britain's national debt is at a

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record high. It is one trillion pounds. That is almost as much as

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Jo's expenses! In a nutshell, the Governor of the Bank of England

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said it is not looking pretty, but don't worry, it will be OK in the

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end. He did not say when the end might be. The IMF has weighed in as

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well. It is not just Britain that is doomed. It says the rest of the

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world economy is going to suffer, especially the eurozone, where it

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predicts a recession. Jo, bring us up to date.

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This morning, the Office of National Statistics announced that

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the UK economy shrank by 0.2% in the 4th quarter of 2011. That is

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down from 0.6% that the economy grew between July and September.

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The bad news seems unlikely to stop here. Yesterday, the International

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Monetary Fund revised down its forecast for the UK 2012 growth,

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from 1.6%, down to 0.6%. At least we are not alone. The IMF forecast

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for growth in the eurozone has also been scaled down from 1.1%

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expansion, the eurozone economy is now projected to shrink by 0.5%. In

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a speech yesterday, the Bank of England governor Mervyn King struck

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a downbeat note, saying that the path of recovery is likely to be

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arduous, long and uneven. But, in case these gloomy figures are

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getting you down, he added that there is no need to despair.

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Earlier, George Osborne gave his reaction. Well, they are

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disappointing figures about what happened to the economy at the end

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of last year. They are not entirely unexpected because of what is

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happening in the world and they eurozone crisis. They are similar

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to what our independent forecasters predicted in November. Now, Britain

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has substantially built up debts over the last 10 years. We are

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dealing with those. But the truth is, dealing with the problems is

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made more difficult by the situation in the eurozone. Clearly,

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what is happening at home is also affected by what happens abroad.

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Joining me now is our Economics Correspondent Hugh Pym. There has

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always been this talk about a double-dip recession. Does that

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I don't think it looks inevitable. We have just had this preliminary

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figure of 0.2. It could be revised when subsequent data comes in. We

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are in the current first quarter of 2012. It looks possible that that

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might be slightly negative. Then you would have two in quarters of

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negative declining output. That is technically a recession but it

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could be zero or 0.1. I think what economists will say is it is

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consistent with a flat economy, the economy not lurching back as it did

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in 2008 / 9 but not rebounding. It is almost stalling, moving ahead in

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a lacklustre fashion. George Osborne blames the eurozone for

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many of the problems here in Britain and that does not look like

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it will be sorted any time soon, does it? Yes, indeed. For France

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and Germany, their 4th quarter figures will show something

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negative as well, so Britain was not alone in having declining

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output in the 4th quarter of last year. Although the IMF is

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forecasting a eurozone negative situation this year, the IMF still

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thinks the UK will grow slightly. But does not help the UK in the

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sense that we do do a lot of trade with the eurozone. A solution of

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some sort to the debt problem is seen as hugely important for the

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eurozone, as -- and the UK because of our trade. There is no sign of

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an imminent solution. All these forecasts I have been referring to,

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assume that the euro hangs together and they muddle through somehow.

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Thank you. We are joined now by Louise Cooper, an old friend of

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this programme. It is fair to say, is it not, whatever the rights and

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wrongs of the government's policy, the inability of the eurozone to

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sort out its own problems is acting as a drag across the European

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Union? Without a shadow of a doubt. To be fair to Osborne and Cameron,

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I don't think policy makers in the UK are in charge of the UK's

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destiny any more. Really, it is all about the eurozone. It continues to

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be Ns. We do not have the details of how the bail-out funds will work.

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The S F -- the GSM, the new bail- out fund, it is supposed in place

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by July, do we have much detail,? No. The Greek debt swap talks which

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was supposed to happen and we were promised it would be done in the

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next couple of days, the latest I have heard we have a deadline in

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the middle of February. They have got to do it by March 20th, in fact

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they have to do it before then to get the legality is struck. Yes,

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Greece has 14.5 billion euros bond maturing on March 20th and they do

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not have 14.5 billion euros tucked down the back of the sofa. Joe it

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does. -- Jo does. I'm generous like that! They have got to get back

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together. I was on the tube with a friend of mine who has been in the

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city for 30 years and the view from the financial markets is a great

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deal will be done. He said he thought the chance of a default was

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70 %. That is not what people in the markets think at the moment.

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Greece has not gone away. All these problems have not gone away. We in

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the UK are so badly affected by what is happening in the eurozone.

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Chris Grayling, what happened to George Osborne's march of the

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makers? June 2010, emergency budget, the Chancellor - Britain will be

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borne aloft by the march of the makers. What happened? We are

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looking to create an environment where we can build manufacturing,

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where we can get research and develop ment, we have made changes

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to the corporate tax system, the truth is, over the last few months,

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as the Office of Budget Responsibility has said, first we

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had the big rise in global commodity prices and are the last

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two months we have had the eurozone crisis. I sat with a group from

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Liverpool who said from their perspective, when the eurozone

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crisis started become visible and a major problem, it was as if a break

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was put on to commercial and investment in new property.

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Although we are not part of the eurozone, we are affected by it.

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but there can be no much of the makers when industrial production

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fell 1.2 %, that is the collapse of the makers. We have to do

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everything we can to encourage and stimulate growth. Can we accept

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that so far the march of the makers has not happened? We can accept

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that the march of the makers remains a priority for us and it is

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not much and as fast as we would wish. It is a bit like the Italian

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army, they are marching in reverse, to get into a stereotype. The truth

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is, none of our economy is performing in the way that we wish.

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If you look at Germany, today's figures actually lower than the

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most recent German economic forecast for their own economy.

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They are predicting a drop even greater than ours. The National

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Loan guarantee Scheme which is supposed to help small businesses,

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how many loans has it guaranteed? do not know because I am not in the

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Treasury. You're just telling me about what businessmen liveable

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were telling you. We cannot find out what it has done at all. Are

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you aware that it has done anything was that what has the Local

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Enterprise Partnership done? They are running all round the come tree.

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What have they done? They are to encourage investment -- all around

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the country. We have seen investments still coming into the

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UK. That is not the Local Enterprise Partnership. What has

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the regional growth fund done? are providing funds for

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manufacturing businesses. If you take the north-east, for example,

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the regional growth fund has provided investment capital been to

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research and development facilities, into the chemical industry, for

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example. We are pulling every lever that we can. How much has the

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regional growth fund given to the north-east of England? From memory,

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it is about �50 million. That is it? And we have debts of a trillion.

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The regional growth fund first tranche was about a billion pounds

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but that is spread around the country. Has Labour got a policy on

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this? Of course. We have put a plan. To add to our debt? In the medium

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term, debt has got to come down but that job is harder to get the

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medium debt down if you have dole bills going through the roof. You

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have dole bills, housing benefit, incapacity benefit going up by

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nearly �8 billion higher than originally expected. That does not

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make a debt easier to pay down, it makes it harder. You asked where

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the makers have gone, they have gone to the back of the dole queue.

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We have unemployment in this country going up faster than

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America, France, Germany and Japan because in the last year the

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economy has been stalling and now it has gone into reverse. The only

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reason we did not go into recession last year is because we were

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exporting our way. We do think the government has got to change course

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and they should listen to the IMF he said the government should

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consider changing course. How much would you add to the debt?, in the

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upcoming financial year how much would you add? Some methods would

0:22:310:22:36

be self financing. A cut in VAT would be temporary so that would be

0:22:360:22:40

12 billion a year, in order to get a medium term position implies.

0:22:400:22:42

What would the reaction of the markets be if the British

0:22:420:22:47

government did that? At the moment, the UK is in a lovely position of

0:22:470:22:54

being able to borrow very cheaply. Last week, 50 year government debt

0:22:540:22:59

actually yielded below 3% for the first time other. If you have to

0:22:590:23:05

buy 50 year gilts, you would get less than 3% back a year. That is

0:23:050:23:11

astonishing. At the moment, there was a gilt auction yesterday,

0:23:110:23:16

massively oversubscribed. Investors at them and a love buying UK debt.

0:23:160:23:23

If we ever threaten that, then we are in a very dire position. What

0:23:230:23:28

you mean threaten it? The trouble with debt figures is when the

0:23:280:23:32

economy starts -- starts to slow down, they explode very quickly.

0:23:320:23:36

Far more so than any politicians and a forecast. You look at Greece,

0:23:360:23:41

Ireland, Portugal, the debt forecast started here, the economy

0:23:410:23:44

started slowing down, they ballooned really quickly. You have

0:23:440:23:49

to avoid that. We do not want to be the next Italy and Spain. We have

0:23:490:23:55

to avoid that. Louise Cooper, thank you. We have Prime Minister's

0:23:560:23:58

questions, we cannot be late for that!

0:23:580:24:01

The more this -- the more perceptive among you might have

0:24:010:24:05

noticed that tonight is Burns Night. I'm sure Alex Salmond's decision

0:24:050:24:08

that line his plans for a referendum have nothing to do with

0:24:080:24:14

that at all! He once the referendum on the anniversary of Bannockburn,

0:24:140:24:18

a mere coincidence, I say. A very happy Burns Night to you all.

0:24:180:24:22

Across the globe many a patriotic Scot will no doubt be sinking a

0:24:230:24:26

couple o' wee drams as well as addressing and feasting upon the

0:24:260:24:30

haggis. What you might not know is that a similar tradition exists

0:24:300:24:33

here in our small corner of Westminster. Yes, in time-honoured

0:24:330:24:39

tradition, I shall now perform "An Address to the Mug". Little John,

0:24:390:24:49
0:24:490:24:49

bring on the mug. Never heard before! Fair fa' your honest,

0:24:490:24:53

sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the MUG-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your

0:24:530:24:56

place, Painch, tripe, or thairm, Weel are ye wordy o' a grace As

0:24:570:25:06
0:25:070:25:08

lang's my arm. How my supposed to follow that?! I have no idea what I

0:25:080:25:15

just said. I thought you where Flint in Gaelic. -- fluent in

0:25:150:25:22

Gaelic. To be honest, the tray is pretty weird with the greenery.

0:25:220:25:27

do not get this on Sky News, you know. We have grown it in the Daily

0:25:270:25:33

Politics green house. Carry on! am not doing this in any accent

0:25:330:25:41

except my own! To win a chance -- to get a chance

0:25:410:25:46

of winning a mug, you can enter our competition. Seed you can guess

0:25:460:25:56
0:25:560:26:35

when this happened. -- see it you If the police stand for sanctions

0:26:350:26:43

and penalties, you should stand for help and love. Hugging a hoody is

0:26:430:26:53
0:26:530:27:00

And to be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send

0:27:000:27:05

your answer to our special quiz e- mail address. Full terms and

0:27:050:27:12

conditions for Guess the Year are on our website.

0:27:120:27:17

It is coming to midday here. Let's take a look at Big Ben. It can only

0:27:170:27:21

mean one thing as it is a Wednesday, Prime Minister's Questions and also

0:27:210:27:28

Nick Robinson of the BBC. What will happen? Of course, the economy. One

0:27:280:27:31

thing that will be interesting is that Ed Balls, the shadow

0:27:310:27:35

chancellor and who knows, Ed Miliband are seizing on some

0:27:350:27:41

remarks made by the IMF. We had the report yesterday, warning of a

0:27:410:27:45

1930s style crisis on Monday. Yesterday, our economics editor was

0:27:450:27:50

quoting someone in the IMF saying there may be a case for the UK to

0:27:510:27:55

slow down in order to support growth. We now have the words used

0:27:550:27:59

in the injured the -- in the year and they are very interesting. To

0:27:590:28:03

the extent that these countries - he is talking about Britain and

0:28:030:28:08

Germany - to the extent that these countries have plausible medium-

0:28:080:28:14

term plans, they can slow down and it would help. So we do not need to

0:28:140:28:18

cut as deep as we were? He answers - we have some room to do something

0:28:180:28:22

if needed, yes. He doesn't then go on and say,

0:28:220:28:26

Britain may have a particular problem because having set out a

0:28:260:28:30

plan, there is a price incredibility. If you deviate from

0:28:300:28:36

the plan. But three times when pushed, he says, yes, Britain does

0:28:360:28:43

have some flexibility to promote some growth. Liam Byrne mentioned

0:28:430:28:47

it before you came on. I did not know you had mentioned that but it

0:28:470:28:52

will start a bit of a debate. People find Westminster politics

0:28:520:28:56

complicated enough, there is IMF politics as well. Traditionally,

0:28:560:29:02

the boss of the IMF is a former politician. They deal with politics,

0:29:020:29:05

they do not fall out with the government. I do not expect

0:29:050:29:09

Christine Lagarde to say anything unhelpful when she meets George

0:29:090:29:13

Osborne, particularly as she needs hundreds of millions of dollars

0:29:130:29:18

from countries like the UK to have a bigger IMF fund but it is

0:29:180:29:21

interesting but IMF economists are saying, look, Britain, there is a

0:29:210:29:25

bit of space to do something here. What is your reaction, Chris

0:29:250:29:29

Grayling? I think we have to be enormously careful. If we were to

0:29:290:29:33

lose the confidence of the markets, and bear in mind we have

0:29:330:29:37

exceptionally low interest rates, any interest -- any increase in

0:29:370:29:40

interest rates would lead to greater pressures on the public

0:29:400:29:44

finances. It would lead to higher mortgage rates where those rates

0:29:440:29:47

are variable and the market, where people are looking to sign up to

0:29:470:29:53

fixed rates. I think it is a dangerous path to tread. Even with

0:29:530:29:59

the sanction of the IMF? As we heard a moment ago, if we get the

0:29:590:30:03

markets wrong, the consequences for Britain are massive. I do not

0:30:030:30:07

personally believe that this is the moment for Britain to announce we

0:30:070:30:13

should increase borrowing. I think you read between the lines, you can

0:30:130:30:17

see what he is trying to say, do you take that as an endorsement to

0:30:170:30:22

some extent of Labour's position on the economy? They are very

0:30:220:30:27

significant remarks. The government is having to borrow extra because

0:30:270:30:33

it has undershot its growth forecast. 158 billion is a lot of

0:30:330:30:40

money. And you add up all the years. In a body's language. Our message

0:30:400:30:45

is simple, there is flexibility there. If he did change course, you

0:30:450:30:47

can maintain market flexibility because you have a better story

0:30:470:30:57
0:30:570:31:02

about tax revenues coming in. This morning, I had meetings with

0:31:020:31:06

ministerial colleagues and others. The Prime Minister frequently

0:31:060:31:10

claims that he is not complacent about the tragedy of youth

0:31:100:31:14

unemployment. Can he tell the House why his youth contract scheme still

0:31:140:31:20

has not started? Well, the youth contract scheme will make a big

0:31:210:31:24

difference to young people because it will, over the course of the

0:31:240:31:30

coming years, have 160,000 places for people on private sector firms.

0:31:300:31:34

That will be far better than the failed future jobs fund, which, in

0:31:340:31:39

some cases, had over 97% of jobs placed in the public sector. It

0:31:390:31:43

will be up and running this year and make a big difference to young

0:31:430:31:52

people. Mr Speaker, today is the anniversary of the birth of the

0:31:520:32:00

great Scottish poet Robert Burns. Does the Prime Minister agree that

0:32:000:32:03

-- with his impassioned plea for the unity of our nation when he

0:32:030:32:10

says in his poem, the Britain still, to Britain true, a man ourselves,

0:32:100:32:17

United. For never but to buy British hands, made British wrongs

0:32:170:32:25

I'm grateful to the Honourable Lady for her question. The point she

0:32:250:32:30

makes is a good one. Burns Night will be celebrated not just across

0:32:300:32:34

Scotland, but across the whole of the United Kingdom and, indeed, in

0:32:340:32:38

many parts of the world. When I hear the Scottish nationalists, who

0:32:380:32:42

are so keen to leave the United Kingdom, yet so anxious about

0:32:420:32:50

having a referendum, perhaps they should remember his words, the

0:32:500:33:00
0:33:000:33:08

cowering beastie, what a panic Ed Miliband. Mr Speaker, we are 18

0:33:080:33:12

months into his government and today's figures show the economy is

0:33:120:33:17

not growing, it is shrinking. What has gone wrong with his economic

0:33:170:33:23

plan? Well, these are extremely difficult economic times. These are

0:33:230:33:29

disappointing figures. They are not unexpected figures. They are what

0:33:290:33:32

the Office of Budget Responsibility for past at the end of last year. I

0:33:320:33:38

will be frank with the Honourable Gentleman. They reflect the

0:33:380:33:45

overhang of their debt and deficit. They reflect the higher food and

0:33:450:33:48

fuel prices that put a squeeze on household income towards the end of

0:33:480:33:53

last year. Yes, they also reflect the crisis in the eurozone that has

0:33:530:33:58

frozen Europe's economies. The forecast for France, Germany, Spain,

0:33:580:34:04

Italy, for the end of last year, forecast as greater decline or, in

0:34:040:34:09

many cases, as great a decline. This is the year where we have to

0:34:090:34:11

take further action to get the economy moving. The most important

0:34:120:34:15

thing is to have a credible plan to get on top of the deficit which has

0:34:150:34:21

given us the lowest interest rates for over 100 years. Mr Speaker,

0:34:210:34:25

people are fed up with his excuses about what is happening in our

0:34:250:34:30

economy. He blames the eurozone. Growth has been flat-lining in our

0:34:300:34:36

economy since well before the eurozone crisis. In fact, since his

0:34:360:34:42

spending review in autumn 2010. What has characterised the

0:34:420:34:48

Government's approach throughout this period? Total arrogance. In

0:34:480:34:53

his first Budget, the Chancellor painted a glowing picture of what

0:34:530:35:00

his policies would deliver for the economy. He said his policies would

0:35:000:35:04

deliver a steady and sustained economic recovery with falling

0:35:040:35:09

unemployment. We have a shrinking economy and the highest

0:35:090:35:14

unemployment in 18 years. Mr Speaker, how bad do things have to

0:35:140:35:20

get in our economy to shake him out of his complacency? As usual, he

0:35:200:35:24

writes the question before he listens to the answer. I didn't

0:35:240:35:30

trust say that this is an issue of the eurozone. -- didn't just say

0:35:300:35:33

that this is an issue of the eurozone. It's an issue of debt,

0:35:330:35:36

deficit, a squeeze household incomes and issues affecting many

0:35:360:35:42

other economies. He talks about our policy, we remember his policy, no

0:35:420:35:45

more boom and bust. He gave us the biggest boom and bust that we are

0:35:460:35:49

having to recover from. There is not one ounce of complacency. That

0:35:490:35:55

is why we are cutting corporation tax, we scratch Labour's jobs tax,

0:35:550:36:05
0:36:050:36:05

we have traduced record sums... Order! Both the Prime Minister and

0:36:050:36:08

the lead role of the opposition must be heard. We are doing all of

0:36:080:36:13

these things. The party opposite has only one answer, to deal with a

0:36:130:36:18

debt crisis by borrowing more and adding to debt. That is his answer.

0:36:180:36:22

That would wreck our interest rates, wreck the economy and make things

0:36:220:36:27

much worse. Mr Speaker, he says there is not one ounce of

0:36:270:36:32

complacency. But he and his Chancellor of the byword for self-

0:36:320:36:36

satisfied, smug complacency. That is the reality. He talks about

0:36:370:36:41

borrowing. He is failing not just on unemployment, not just on growth,

0:36:410:36:45

but on borrowing as well. Because of his failure on growth and

0:36:450:36:52

unemployment, he is borrowing �158 billion more than he forecast. And

0:36:520:36:56

now we know, he said unemployment would fall, it is not. He said the

0:36:560:37:01

economy would grow, it hasn't. He said we are all in this together,

0:37:010:37:05

we are not! When will this Prime Minister face up to the fact that

0:37:050:37:12

it is his policies that are failing the country. Our economy grew last

0:37:120:37:17

year. But he cannot find it in himself... There are more people in

0:37:170:37:25

work today than there were at the time of the last election.

0:37:250:37:32

house must calm itself. We were given clear instruction yesterday

0:37:320:37:35

at 5:00pm that the shadow chancellor said that the Government

0:37:350:37:40

should listen to the IMF and change course. At 7pm, the IMF told us

0:37:400:37:46

what we should do. They said this, we do not think that fiscal

0:37:460:37:50

consolidation adds to the problem. Fiscal consolidation is part of

0:37:500:37:55

resolving the problems facing the UK economy. That is the truth, Mr

0:37:550:37:59

Speaker. There are two parties in this country taking responsibility

0:37:590:38:03

for clearing up the mess. There is one party refusing to take

0:38:030:38:13
0:38:130:38:16

Sir Fred Goodwin has recently been censured by the FSA in their report

0:38:160:38:23

into the RBS shambles. Can the Prime Minister tell the House when

0:38:230:38:25

the honours forfeiture committee will be sitting to consider

0:38:250:38:30

stripping this man of his ill- deserved knighthood? The they will

0:38:300:38:34

be meeting, as I understand it, this week. It will be considering

0:38:340:38:39

all the evidence, including, as I have said before, the Financial

0:38:390:38:43

Services Authority report into RBS and what went wrong, who was

0:38:430:38:50

responsible for what went wrong. Speaker, I seem to get more

0:38:500:38:55

reaction from Labour than their own leader. Does the Prime Minister

0:38:550:38:59

agree that in Scotland the people are sovereign. They have the right

0:38:590:39:02

to determine their own constitutional future as they see

0:39:020:39:07

fit? Of course, this is an issue for the people of Scotland. I think

0:39:070:39:10

that we should bring forward the date when we put the question to

0:39:100:39:15

the Scottish people on whether they want to stay in the United Kingdom,

0:39:150:39:22

which I ideally hope that we do, or whether they want to leave. I think

0:39:220:39:24

the point everybody needs to understand is that options for

0:39:240:39:28

further devolution and changes across the United Kingdom are

0:39:280:39:34

matters for of the United Kingdom, matters that the United Kingdom

0:39:340:39:44
0:39:440:39:48

May I put it to the Prime Minister that for Britain to commit still

0:39:480:39:57

more funds to the IMF would, in effect, be providing he subsidy to

0:39:570:40:04

Germany? Because it is still not fully supporting its own currency,

0:40:040:40:10

while benefiting from its appreciation. The right honourable

0:40:100:40:16

member makes an important point. Of course, the IMF, the managing

0:40:160:40:19

director Christine the guard, she is in London today. Our message has

0:40:190:40:23

been clear that they should not be a question of committing further

0:40:230:40:27

IMF funds until the eurozone itself has shown that it is

0:40:270:40:30

comprehensively going to stand behind its own currency. I think if

0:40:300:40:37

you read Christine Lagard's speech last night in Germany, she made

0:40:370:40:46

absolutely clear that the role the IMF is to support currencies and

0:40:460:40:52

not countries. The Prime Minister said about his flagship health bill,

0:40:520:40:57

and I quote, we have the Royal College of GPs, physicians, nurses,

0:40:570:41:01

people working in the health service supporting changes we are

0:41:010:41:03

making. Can the Prime Minister give the house and update on the support

0:41:030:41:11

for his bill from the medical profession? I have certainly

0:41:110:41:15

learned that when it comes to the NHS you should always expect a

0:41:150:41:20

second opinion. Conceivably even a third opinion. The point is this.

0:41:200:41:26

Them are thousands of GPs across the country, not just supporting

0:41:260:41:33

our reforms, they are actually implementing our reforms. Let me,

0:41:330:41:43
0:41:430:41:43

if I may, give him one example of a supportive GP. Order! Honourable

0:41:430:41:48

Members should not be yelling out. The question was asked, the answer

0:41:480:41:54

will be given and the answer will be heard. I think they want to hear

0:41:540:42:02

from this one particular GP who hails from Doncaster. He said this

0:42:020:42:06

when he was the acting chairman of the Doncaster GP commissioning

0:42:060:42:10

group. He said, becoming one of the first national pathfinder areas is

0:42:110:42:15

a real boost for Doncaster. I think what is good for Doncaster is good

0:42:150:42:22

for the rest of the country. Speaker, how out of touch is he

0:42:220:42:29

about what is happening in the NHS? Let me tell him what the medical

0:42:290:42:35

profession is saying. The latest survey of the Royal College of GPs

0:42:350:42:40

says that 98% of GPs want the Bill withdrawn. The Royal College of

0:42:400:42:44

Nursing have said, and I quote, the turmoil of proceeding with these

0:42:440:42:49

reforms is now greater than the turmoil of stopping them. Now, the

0:42:490:42:54

Prime Minister said in his famous listing exercise, change, if it is

0:42:540:42:58

to endure, to really work, should have the support of people who work

0:42:580:43:02

in the NHS. We have to take our nurses and doctors with us. Mr

0:43:020:43:06

Speaker, if he wants to hear the voice of doctors and nurses across

0:43:060:43:11

the NHS, why doesn't he listen? seems to be out of touch with what

0:43:110:43:21
0:43:210:43:22

is actually happening in Doncaster. He asks what is happening in the

0:43:220:43:26

NHS. Let me tell him what is happening in the NHS. 4000 extra

0:43:260:43:31

doctors since the election. 100,000 more patients treated since the

0:43:310:43:36

election. In-patient and out- patient waiting times lower than

0:43:360:43:42

they were at the election. �7 billion of the �20 billion already

0:43:420:43:49

saved. And, at the same time, we have got hospital and quiet --

0:43:490:43:52

hospital acquired infections at lowest-ever levels. That is what is

0:43:520:43:57

happening in the NHS. It would listen to him we would be cut in

0:43:570:43:59

funding in the NHS, scrapping reforms and the NHS would be

0:43:590:44:03

getting worse, not better. I'll tell him what is happening in the

0:44:030:44:07

NHS. Waiting lists at the, morale down, and his own health select

0:44:070:44:13

committee, majority Conservative committee, what do they say about

0:44:130:44:18

the reorganisation? They say that it will be disruption and

0:44:190:44:22

disruption -- destruction that hinders the ability to create

0:44:220:44:27

savings. This is a pill nobody wants. It is opposed by doctors,

0:44:270:44:33

nurses and patients. Before the election, he said no more top-down

0:44:330:44:37

reorganisation. That is what he said. Isn't it time that he kept at

0:44:380:44:43

least one promise? Put aside his pride and arrogance and drop this

0:44:440:44:51

unnecessary and unwanted bill. know that he panics and backs down

0:44:510:44:54

at the first time of a trade union saying no. But this government does

0:44:540:45:01

not. Of course, if you introduce choice, if you introduced

0:45:010:45:04

transparency, competition, if you say that the private and voluntary

0:45:040:45:10

sectors should play a greater role, of course you face a challenge. But

0:45:100:45:13

that it is what doing the right thing is sometimes all about. Let

0:45:130:45:19

him remember what his Health Secretary said when he was in

0:45:190:45:23

government. He said about a GP commissioning, he said this, the

0:45:230:45:28

change will put power in that hands of local GPs to drive improvements

0:45:280:45:34

in the area so it should give more power to their elbow than they have

0:45:340:45:37

at present. That is what I would like to see. What a shame that they

0:45:370:45:41

talk about it in government, but they don't have the guts to face

0:45:410:45:50

down opposition when they are in Following the death of 167 workers

0:45:500:45:56

in the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea, this country developed a

0:45:560:45:58

world leading safety case regime for offshore oil and gas which is

0:45:580:46:03

now threatened by regulations from the European Union. Will he use his

0:46:030:46:06

best endeavours to back his department for energy and climate

0:46:060:46:10

change to persuade the rest of the European Union but what we need is

0:46:100:46:20
0:46:200:46:29

no more regulation... Sorry, Mr Speaker. Not regulation but a

0:46:290:46:33

directives, which can be implemented flexibly? I think my

0:46:330:46:37

honourable friend makes an important point. I well remember

0:46:370:46:41

the Piper Alpha disaster and the huge suffering and loss of life

0:46:410:46:45

that that caused. Things that day we have put in place and absolutely

0:46:450:46:49

world-leading system of regulation and I will do everything I can to

0:46:490:46:51

support the climate change secretary to make sure we get a

0:46:510:46:55

result in Europe which means we can go on for the right regulations for

0:46:550:47:00

the North Sea. On the 2nd May 1920 10, the Prime

0:47:000:47:04

Minister said the test of a good society was how it cared for the

0:47:040:47:10

frail and vulnerable, even more important in difficult economic

0:47:100:47:12

times. Will the Prime Minister not defending the basics sense of

0:47:120:47:16

decency of the British people if he persists next week with proposals

0:47:160:47:21

to take away up to �94 per week in employment and support allowance

0:47:220:47:27

from up to 7,000 recovering cancer patients across the country? What

0:47:270:47:32

our plans envisage is actually more people, with cancer, will have the

0:47:330:47:38

greater level of benefit and fewer people will actually face the face-

0:47:380:47:42

to-face interview. That is the case. As he knows, there are two types of

0:47:420:47:45

employment and support allowance. On the support group, you get that

0:47:460:47:49

money forever for as long as you need it, as long as you are unable

0:47:490:47:53

to work. Many people with cancer will go straight into that group

0:47:530:47:57

and quite right, too. I know my right honourable friend

0:47:570:48:02

was aware that the Coryton oil refinery in my constituency went

0:48:020:48:05

into protective administration yesterday, and while the future is

0:48:050:48:09

uncertain, it is by no means bleak. Does my right honourable friend

0:48:090:48:12

agree with me but what is needed now to protect the 1,000 jobs the

0:48:120:48:16

refinery provides, is the full support of the customers and

0:48:160:48:21

suppliers and for accurate reporting of the situation. Will

0:48:210:48:24

the Prime Minister agree to ensure that and it with all relevant

0:48:240:48:28

ministers to discuss what further action the government can take to

0:48:280:48:33

secure this important is this? My honourable friend is absolutely

0:48:330:48:36

right to raise this issue and is right to mention the importance of

0:48:360:48:40

the customers and suppliers and the role that they play. I will

0:48:400:48:43

certainly ensure that he meets with ministers as appropriate. I think

0:48:430:48:47

the key thing is the role of the administrator and the administrator

0:48:470:48:50

has made it clear that its immediate priority is to continue

0:48:500:48:55

to operate the refinery operations at Coryton and other sites owned

0:48:550:48:59

the UK, while the financial position is clarified and all the

0:48:590:49:03

restructuring options are explored. We are confident that the

0:49:030:49:08

administrator is doing all that it can but we will keep on the case.

0:49:080:49:13

The existing UK controls on the movement of terrorist suspects that

0:49:130:49:18

today. This includes the case of suspect CD, of whom Mr Justice Owen

0:49:180:49:23

said that his appeal last year, relocation is a necessary and

0:49:230:49:27

proportion at measure to protect the public from an immediate and

0:49:270:49:32

real risk of a terrorist rated -- related attack. Could the Prime

0:49:330:49:36

Minister tell the House wide his government supporter that

0:49:360:49:40

relocation power at the court hearing last year, but has since

0:49:400:49:45

legislated to remove it and to give freedom to suspect CD and others

0:49:450:49:50

like him, to come to London in the run-up to the Olympic games?

0:49:500:49:54

think most people across this house realise that the control order

0:49:540:49:58

regime needed reform. It did not have public confidence, nor did it

0:49:580:50:02

have confidence of many people in the police and security services.

0:50:020:50:05

We have reformed it, we have worked with the police and security

0:50:050:50:09

services, we have put in all the resources they believe are

0:50:090:50:16

necessary to make sure our country is kept say.

0:50:160:50:20

Following the renewable energy subsidy review, will the Prime

0:50:210:50:23

Minister ensured tax payers that this government will focus its

0:50:230:50:26

support on technologies which are cost-effective and reliable like

0:50:260:50:31

biomass, rather than inefficient, costly, large-scale offshore wind

0:50:320:50:37

farms? My right honourable friend will know that the review

0:50:370:50:40

obligation banding review consultation has just closed. It

0:50:400:50:44

was proposing targeting only the most cost-effective onshore wind

0:50:440:50:48

farms, recognising that it is now one of the more mature and cheaper

0:50:480:50:54

technologies and we should increase support insubstantial biomass which

0:50:540:50:58

is reliable, cost-effective and help us to meet our renewable

0:50:580:51:05

energy targets. On Friday, Holocaust Memorial Day

0:51:050:51:10

commemorates the liberation of the concentration and extermination

0:51:100:51:14

camp at Auschwitz. What can the Prime Minister do to ensure that

0:51:140:51:18

all of our society understand the depravity of the era of Nazi evil

0:51:180:51:21

and learn the lessons of it for the present?

0:51:210:51:26

I think the honourable lady has a long record of supporting the score

0:51:260:51:29

speaks for the whole house and the whole nation in raising it and the

0:51:290:51:33

importance of it. I met with representatives of the Holocaust

0:51:330:51:37

Education Trust yesterday and met with a Holocaust survivor who story

0:51:370:51:40

was truly inspiring about what he had seen and gone through as a

0:51:400:51:45

young boy and then coming to Britain and becoming an Olympic and

0:51:450:51:49

Commonwealth contender. It was a fantastic story. We need to ensure

0:51:490:51:52

that these stories are told in all of our schools right across the

0:51:520:51:57

country. That is the work of the Holocaust Education Trust added his

0:51:570:52:03

work I strongly support. I wonder if the Prime Minister is aware that

0:52:030:52:07

if one takes the whole of Lancaster, average household income after tax

0:52:070:52:13

is a little above 26,000. And my constituents want a fair

0:52:130:52:17

deal. They also want a fair deal for those who work and pay for

0:52:170:52:23

benefits. I think the honourable gentleman speaks for many people

0:52:230:52:29

that when we say proposal for a cap on benefits at �26,000 is fair. It

0:52:290:52:36

is a cap which allows people to receive �500 a day. A week. His

0:52:360:52:41

constituents ask themselves, is it right that my hard-earned taxes,

0:52:410:52:45

when I am learning less than that money, is going to support people

0:52:450:52:48

on benefits. I have to say how disappointing it was that after the

0:52:490:52:53

Labour Party said it would support a cap, the announcement was made on

0:52:530:52:57

the BBC. We were all told they would support a cap but in the

0:52:570:53:04

Other Place they voted against it. What a complete act of hypocrisy!

0:53:040:53:09

Following today's media reports, can the Prime Minister explain why

0:53:090:53:13

ministerial advisers and senior civil servants continued to attend

0:53:130:53:17

networking events with lobbyists who paid several thousand pounds to

0:53:170:53:20

attend, despite the fact that the Cabinet Office had deemed this to

0:53:200:53:24

be a breach of the Civil Service Code and previously issued a ban on

0:53:240:53:28

attendance? The point I would make it is unlike under the previous

0:53:280:53:33

government, there is actually a proper system for declaring the

0:53:330:53:37

interests of special advisers and ministers. That did not used to be

0:53:370:53:42

the case. It is now. My right honourable friend will

0:53:430:53:48

have noted that the government proposed benefits cap excludes war

0:53:480:53:52

widows, the disabled and those claiming working tax credit. Does

0:53:520:53:59

it not agree with me that my constituents on the same wage as

0:53:590:54:01

the number of Lancaster Fleetwood referred to, deserve to know they

0:54:010:54:07

have a government who will do the right thing and support the local

0:54:070:54:09

communities? I think the honourable gentleman speaks very powerfully

0:54:090:54:15

about this issue. That is why a benefit cap is fair. He is also --

0:54:150:54:19

it is also important to recognise that we are excluding from the

0:54:190:54:24

benefit cap those entitled to working tax credit, some want with

0:54:250:54:27

a disability living allowance and we have always said there will be a

0:54:270:54:30

hardship fund, a grace period and a way of helping those families to

0:54:300:54:35

cope with this cap and to make sure, where possible, we get people into

0:54:350:54:38

work because the real shame is there are millions of children who

0:54:380:54:42

live in households where nobody works and indeed, that number

0:54:420:54:49

doubled under the last government. The Prime Minister has said and I

0:54:490:54:53

quote: It would be a personal betrayal if banks failed to

0:54:530:54:58

increase lending to businesses. Yet, last week, the Bank of England

0:54:580:55:01

stated that businesses are still not getting the investment they

0:55:010:55:06

need from the banks. Have the banks betrayed the Prime Minister or has

0:55:060:55:10

the Prime Minister betrayed businesses? What I have done is put

0:55:100:55:15

in place the Merlin agreement which led to an increase in bank lending

0:55:150:55:18

last year. What we now have in place is a massive credit easing

0:55:180:55:22

programme that the Chancellor announced in the autumn statement,

0:55:220:55:25

that will kick in this year and make sure the banks are doing what

0:55:250:55:29

banks ought to do in a free enterprise economy and low into

0:55:290:55:38

businesses large and small. -- loan at to businesses.

0:55:380:55:41

I am sure there will be families with children who may have

0:55:410:55:47

difficulties with the new benefit regime. However, would the Prime

0:55:470:55:51

Minister care to comment on the feelings of elderly couples, who

0:55:510:55:57

have spent their entire life working for this country, paid in

0:55:570:56:05

to the state pension system and are now existing on about �7,000 a year,

0:56:050:56:11

rather than �26,000 a year. I think my honourable friend next a

0:56:110:56:14

very good point, and the fact is, if you look at the figures today,

0:56:140:56:19

there are still families in London who are receiving housing benefit

0:56:200:56:25

worth over �50,000 a year. Each one of those families he is taking up

0:56:250:56:29

the hard-earned taxes of many working people, earning far less

0:56:290:56:33

who could not dream of living in houses like those. Point he makes

0:56:330:56:37

are pensioners is right. I'm proud of the fact that this government

0:56:370:56:41

will be increasing the basic state pension from �5 a week, starting in

0:56:410:56:45

April, because we believe in dignity and security for our

0:56:450:56:51

pensioners in old age. What does the Prime Minister make

0:56:510:56:54

of the National Audit Office slating of his flagship work

0:56:540:56:57

programme. They say the government has totally overestimated the

0:56:570:57:01

number of people they will put back to work. This is not a work

0:57:010:57:05

programme as much as a Doesn't Work programme. Instead of just reading

0:57:050:57:09

the press release, he should read the National Audit Office report.

0:57:090:57:12

It praises the government for introducing a scheme in such a

0:57:130:57:17

short period of time. The basic point that the National Audit

0:57:170:57:21

Office is making is the work programme is not put in taxpayers'

0:57:220:57:26

money at risk, it is putting the providers at risk and that is a

0:57:260:57:30

different way of doing things. It is about payment by results,

0:57:300:57:33

getting better performance, value for money, things that his

0:57:330:57:38

government never provided. Like my honourable friends earlier,

0:57:380:57:42

many of my constituents in Dudley South work extremely hard for

0:57:420:57:46

modest salaries. Given that many people think the benefits cut

0:57:460:57:50

should be set at a lower level than �26,000, does my right honourable

0:57:500:57:53

friend agree with me that the party opposite is completely out of touch

0:57:540:57:58

by voting to make it higher? think my honourable friend makes a

0:57:580:58:01

good point will start let me just remind the right honourable

0:58:010:58:05

gentleman what he said at the beginning of this year. This was

0:58:050:58:11

January 2012 on the today programme. I am not against the cap. If he is

0:58:110:58:16

not against the cap, why could he not get his Labour peers to vote

0:58:160:58:20

for the cap in the House of Lords? What is he, weak, incompetent or

0:58:200:58:28

both? On 14th December I asked the Prime

0:58:280:58:31

Minister about cutting benefits for disabled children and he replied

0:58:310:58:36

and I quote: First of all, we are not cutting benefits for disabled

0:58:360:58:39

children. I wonder whether since that time, he has checked his facts,

0:58:390:58:43

and discovered on 12th December, if two days before I asked this

0:58:430:58:47

question, his coalition members in the Lords voted against the

0:58:470:58:51

protection of benefits for disabled children under the new universal

0:58:510:58:55

credit, resulting in a loss of �1,300. I will give the Prime

0:58:550:58:59

Minister another go. How does this fit in with we are all in this

0:58:590:59:05

together? The honourable lady is wrong. Bit

0:59:050:59:09

money that is going into universal credit for the most disabled

0:59:090:59:13

children is not being cut. She is plain wrong about that. He is into

0:59:130:59:16

it interesting that all of the questions we get from all of the

0:59:160:59:20

members opposite are always calling for more spending. They have learnt

0:59:200:59:25

absolutely nothing about the mess they landed this country and.

0:59:250:59:29

British Airways have announced an agreement that they will takeover

0:59:290:59:33

BMI and although this is being challenged under competition rules,

0:59:330:59:36

what assurances can a Prime Minister give that the landing

0:59:360:59:40

slots at Heathrow from regional airports will be protected if this

0:59:400:59:44

is allowed to go ahead? honourable gentleman makes an

0:59:440:59:47

important point which is important to his constituents as well. I will

0:59:470:59:51

look into this issue about landing slots. I know how important this

0:59:510:59:55

issue is for regional airports and I will get back to him.

0:59:551:00:00

Can I ask the Prime Minister why he wants the NHS hospitals to handout

1:00:001:00:06

up to half of their beds to private patients? That is not what the

1:00:061:00:13

reforms do at all. What the reforms do is ensure that you can have some

1:00:141:00:18

private sector and voluntary sector activity going on within the NHS.

1:00:181:00:24

Before they all... Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition should

1:00:241:00:28

quieten down for his second and listen to what his own Health

1:00:281:00:31

Secretary said. His Health Secretary said this: For the

1:00:311:00:35

private sector but its capacity into the NHS for the benefit of NHS

1:00:351:00:38

patients, which I feared most people in this country would

1:00:381:00:42

celebrate. Again, that is what he said in government, but since they

1:00:421:00:46

got into opposition, they have taken up a position of just

1:00:461:00:50

supporting the producer interest, total irresponsibility, total

1:00:501:00:54

short-termism. I stand by what is set in 2007, pity you could not

1:00:541:00:59

stick by it. It is not my obligation to stick by any of these

1:00:591:01:03

matters. Priti Patel. The Prime Minister will be aware of

1:01:031:01:08

the brutal murder last year of my constituent, the Heath, in Germany.

1:01:081:01:13

The murder trial is set to start in March this year. It will last for a

1:01:131:01:17

couple of months. Will the Prime Minister next sure the government

1:01:171:01:20

will do everything possible to support his mother, Mary Heath, to

1:01:201:01:23

deal with the ever-increasing financial costs she faces to see

1:01:231:01:27

justice for her son? Where honourable friend is absolutely

1:01:271:01:31

right to raise this case. First of all, can I offer my sincere

1:01:311:01:35

condolences to Mary Heath and her family following the tragic death

1:01:351:01:40

of her son, Lee, last year. I know this will be a distressing time for

1:01:401:01:44

them as they travel to Germany. A Foreign Office will do all it can

1:01:441:01:49

to support Mary and her family. I have been impressed with what the

1:01:491:01:53

Foreign Office has done in cases like these. I will make sure this

1:01:531:01:59

is carried through. 25 % of our constituents suffer

1:01:591:02:04

from muscular skeletal diseases. The National Audit Office and the

1:02:041:02:06

Public Accounts Committee believe that we could get better outcomes

1:02:061:02:11

for these people at lower costs if a clinical director was appointed

1:02:111:02:14

to co-ordinate things in the National Health Service. Will the

1:02:151:02:17

Prime Minister agreed to see charities representing these people

1:02:171:02:22

with me in the near future? I will certainly look carefully THE

1:02:221:02:26

honourable gentleman necks. One of the points of the NHS reforms that

1:02:261:02:32

is not fully understood his that the idea of having public health

1:02:321:02:37

budgets properly ring-fenced, probably funded with directors of

1:02:371:02:40

public health in each area, which will be able to help with many of

1:02:401:02:47

these areas. My constituents in the King's would

1:02:471:02:50

entirely agree with the government's proposed benefits cap.

1:02:501:02:54

They believe that nobody should earn more in benefits than hard-

1:02:541:02:58

working families. Does the Prime Minister not agree with make that

1:02:581:03:02

it is a damned disgrace that the Labour Party are opposing and

1:03:021:03:08

trying to wreck this important measure? Order. Moderation in the

1:03:081:03:12

use of parliamentary language and indeed, using parliamentary

1:03:121:03:16

language is much to be preferred. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think my

1:03:171:03:21

honourable friend makes an important point. This is an

1:03:211:03:24

important decision that a house of Commons has got to make. We were

1:03:241:03:27

told that the Labour party would support a cap on benefits, they

1:03:271:03:31

have said that repeatedly and yet when the challenge comes, they duck

1:03:311:03:34

the challenge and refused to support the cap. They will have

1:03:341:03:39

another chance when the legislation comes back to this house. It is no

1:03:391:03:45

good shaking his head. His own peers voted against the cap in the

1:03:451:03:48

Lords. People in this country will not understand why they are taking

1:03:481:03:57

A bit rowdy at the end, as the speaker brings Prime Ministers

1:03:571:04:02

questions to the end. Ed Miliband split his questions into two, first

1:04:021:04:05

on the economy and then to National Health. He stayed away from the

1:04:051:04:12

Kappun housing benefit. Many of you, I think, and it seems to be the

1:04:121:04:15

consensus of commentators, Ed Miliband putting in a stronger

1:04:151:04:18

performance this week than he has in recent weeks, having the Prime

1:04:181:04:23

Minister on the ropes a couple of times. Quaye to a bit of criticism

1:04:231:04:29

for the Government's responses on the economy and on the NHS. But

1:04:291:04:32

there were also responses saying that Ed Miliband's message might be

1:04:321:04:36

right, but there is something wrong with the messenger. John in Leeds

1:04:361:04:41

says, why is it that what Ed Miliband says sounds right but it

1:04:411:04:45

is not yet making any impact? As a Labour Party member, I'm beginning

1:04:451:04:50

to think it is not the substance that is the problem, but the man

1:04:501:04:56

saying it. Colin agrees, it's not that he cannot shoot at the open

1:04:561:04:59

goal in front of him, it's that he cannot reach the target and score

1:04:591:05:03

his political points. When it comes to the economy in general, quite a

1:05:031:05:07

few people that agreed with Richie Hicks. How many more times are we

1:05:071:05:10

going to hear the Prime Minister blame the previous government for

1:05:101:05:14

the country's problems? The excuse is 18 months old and starting to

1:05:141:05:19

win very thin indeed. When it came to the NHS government reforms, if

1:05:191:05:22

David Cameron can only find one GP in Doncaster that supports the

1:05:221:05:27

Health Bill, and we thought that as well, isn't it time he's cracked

1:05:271:05:32

it? Someone should tell him it takes six years to train a GP, and

1:05:321:05:35

all of them started training under Labour. John Wakefield in London,

1:05:351:05:39

if we cannot trust David Cameron and George Osborne with the economy,

1:05:391:05:44

considering they will be borrowing �150 billion more, how can we ever

1:05:441:05:50

trust them with the NHS? Geoff in St Ives, Ed Miliband didn't perform

1:05:501:05:54

as well as he might. Cameron's defence of his NHS policy on the

1:05:541:06:02

basis of what one doctor thinks was called -- quite frankly pathetic.

1:06:021:06:10

Why didn't Ed Miliband go with the quotes from the IMF? It's an

1:06:101:06:13

argument that will play out over the next few days. Christine Lagard

1:06:131:06:20

is in town and we will hear more from her. It is thanks to Nick that

1:06:201:06:26

we have these. I have been reading them. What he says his, if the

1:06:261:06:31

economy is doing worse, let automatic stabilisers work in the

1:06:311:06:36

UK. That is already happening, the increase that you referred to,

1:06:361:06:40

growth slower, welfare payments rise. Then he says, you can go

1:06:401:06:45

further than that, which is what you want to do. If growth is really

1:06:451:06:49

dismal, you may decide that you are going to go a bit more slowly about

1:06:491:06:55

the discretionary part of the Budget, those cuts, and for the UK

1:06:551:06:58

there is some indication that has happened with respect to the

1:06:581:07:01

revision and potential output. That means that the output is not as

1:07:011:07:05

high as they thought it would be. If I was a Labour spin doctor, that

1:07:051:07:09

is very significant ammunition. I would have expected the leader of

1:07:091:07:13

the opposition to use that. Very significant comments. But Nick

1:07:131:07:17

Robinson has only dug them out of the business unit, where the

1:07:171:07:22

transcript is not quite complete. He did not have the transcript.

1:07:221:07:28

are better informed than the leader of the opposition! He has only just

1:07:281:07:34

come in. How did you know? I got the briefing when I came in. It was

1:07:341:07:38

made clear on the Ten O'Clock News last night that the IMF has said

1:07:381:07:45

the exact words that have now been dug out. These are significant

1:07:451:07:49

comments and it reinforces the point we have been making. When the

1:07:491:07:52

economy has begun to plateau and has now gone into reverse, the

1:07:521:07:57

Government has to look at the facts and change course. I suspect we

1:07:581:08:01

have covered these institutions for long enough, the World Bank and the

1:08:011:08:05

IMF, this will now be fudged. Christine Lagard will say something

1:08:051:08:10

which fudges what he has just said. It already has been. The Prime

1:08:101:08:13

Minister quoted another IMF spokesman on Sky News last night,

1:08:131:08:20

who seemed to say the reverse, that you should not do it. Well, what he

1:08:201:08:25

said was that fiscal consolidation is important. Everybody in town

1:08:251:08:29

agrees. The question is the pace. What you have is a significant

1:08:291:08:32

comment from a chief economist saying that you can think about

1:08:321:08:38

being a bit more flexible. He is also a very good Economist.

1:08:381:08:45

hesitate to do a fact guide on the IMF, there are economists, there is

1:08:451:08:49

the chief economist and the more political side. Christine Lagard,

1:08:491:08:54

former French finance minister, I'm not suggesting that she doesn't

1:08:541:08:57

know economics, but her task is to make friends with Treasury

1:08:571:09:00

ministers to get them to do what the IMF wants to do. What I have

1:09:001:09:04

learned over the years, and it is also true of other organisations,

1:09:041:09:08

they did not go to war with ministers. They didn't go to war

1:09:081:09:12

with Gordon Brown and they are not going to war now. You might think

1:09:121:09:14

that puzzling, because their policies are different. They

1:09:141:09:19

generally don't do it. But the words that the chief economist of

1:09:191:09:23

the IMF is saying that there are dangers for Britain in credibility

1:09:231:09:27

in changing approach. But there would be gains. He's very explicit

1:09:271:09:30

that if you went a bit slower in the short term there would be

1:09:301:09:35

growth gains. Two different comments from two different people.

1:09:351:09:39

But we heard earlier from somebody with a clear view on the markets.

1:09:391:09:44

We need to be tremendously careful to be sure that we do not take

1:09:441:09:47

steps that undermine the confidence that currently exists in the

1:09:471:09:49

markets and the business community that are sorting out our problems.

1:09:491:09:53

That is the key point that David Cameron is making. We don't believe

1:09:531:09:59

you saw up -- solve a crisis based on debt by borrowing more. We are

1:09:591:10:02

dealing with difficult circumstances internationally and

1:10:021:10:05

it is of paramount importance that we retain the confidence of the

1:10:051:10:08

markets. If we were to lose that and find ourselves in the position

1:10:081:10:12

of some other European countries, it would be disastrous for of us.

1:10:121:10:18

You may want to carry on on the economy, but I think surprisingly

1:10:181:10:25

it was not the economy that was the main point of Prime Ministers

1:10:251:10:27

questions, it was that the Prime Minister looked extremely

1:10:271:10:33

vulnerable on the NHS. He tried to laugh off the party had lost the

1:10:331:10:37

support of the Royal College of Nurses and of doctors, he said,

1:10:371:10:42

sometimes you need a second opinion. Not many people laughed. You saw

1:10:421:10:46

Labour backbenchers pointing at the backbenchers looking nervous. He

1:10:461:10:53

tried the line about 80 p in Ed Miliband's constituency. He looked

1:10:531:10:57

to me like he was going to go back to the office and say, we had a

1:10:571:11:01

problem. He's lost the Select Committee, he's lost the

1:11:011:11:05

representatives of the professions, but he is committed to plough one.

1:11:051:11:09

Part of the problem of the backbenches is that a lot of them

1:11:091:11:14

have never quite signed up to it. Or they didn't realise they had

1:11:141:11:19

signed up to these reforms. They certainly didn't. It's not the

1:11:191:11:23

manifesto they campaigned on. Roughly the point I was trying to

1:11:231:11:27

make. We sit in the studios and pink, what a great advantage that

1:11:271:11:32

members of parliaments have, they have constituents, they look at

1:11:321:11:37

their own local hospitals and people say, it is quite difficult.

1:11:371:11:41

Or rather stronger language. get the impression from some

1:11:411:11:44

Conservatives that they wish they had never gone down this road in

1:11:441:11:47

the first place. Chris Grayling, I have got to the bottom of why you

1:11:471:11:50

could not tell me how much money had been guaranteed under the

1:11:501:11:54

National Loan guarantee Scheme for businesses. Shall I tell you why?

1:11:541:11:57

Well, probably because it was launched a month ago. It hasn't

1:11:571:12:01

even started yet. It was only announced in the Autumn Statement.

1:12:011:12:07

I've also got to the bottom of why we do not know how much money the

1:12:071:12:09

Business Finance Partnership has doled out so much -- so far. That

1:12:091:12:13

doesn't started either. I don't think you mentioned the business

1:12:131:12:16

finance partnership. I mentioned one of the others. Don't you think

1:12:161:12:22

you need to get a wiggle on? Unemployment is rising. You need to

1:12:221:12:26

get moving. Some practical examples of what we're doing, the new

1:12:261:12:29

Enterprise Allowance is helping thousands of people move into self-

1:12:291:12:32

employment around the country. What we're doing in enterprise zones is

1:12:321:12:36

effectively giving a tax incentive to people setting up new businesses.

1:12:361:12:41

We are moving ahead as fast as we can. The tax changes I mention to

1:12:411:12:44

the corporation tax system that gives an incentive to people to

1:12:441:12:46

invest in intellectual property in the UK, there has been up and

1:12:461:12:52

running for months. Are you going to begin next mayor of Birmingham?

1:12:521:12:57

He laughs, nervously! I was expecting a different question, but

1:12:571:13:01

you may have noticed I have my hands rather full with making sure

1:13:011:13:07

that Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan-Smith... Well, Birmingham

1:13:071:13:12

was the first to vote. It looks like they will vote for directly-

1:13:121:13:16

elected mayors. You are in favour. But you will not run yourself?

1:13:161:13:25

have not given it a thought. A Yes, you have! You may have noticed that

1:13:251:13:29

welfare is quite a busy brief at the moment. I am in favour of a

1:13:291:13:33

mayor in Birmingham. I do think it is time that people in Birmingham

1:13:331:13:39

took control of the City's destiny. Too much power is in the hands of

1:13:391:13:43

the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. I will campaign for a "yes" vote.

1:13:431:13:47

Avid viewers of the Daily Politics will not need reminding that the

1:13:471:13:54

notion of Boris Johnson being mayor of London was broken on this

1:13:541:13:59

programme by me. The reason was because I didn't take the idea very

1:13:591:14:09
1:14:091:14:13

seriously. It all came true. And It is like the mayor of Chicago,

1:14:131:14:23
1:14:231:14:23

mayor earn. I think we will take If I need advice, I will come to

1:14:231:14:31

you. My invoice will follow! Now, now that we have planned Liam

1:14:311:14:35

Byrne's a future career, in 2010 David Cameron said lobbying was the

1:14:351:14:38

next big scandal waiting to happen in Westminster. Last week, the

1:14:381:14:41

Government published its long awaited plans for a statutory

1:14:411:14:44

register of lobbyists. But will it achieve anything and is there

1:14:441:14:48

anything wrong with lobbying? Mark Adams says it is a crucial part of

1:14:481:14:58
1:14:581:15:09

My name is Mark and I am a lobbyist. Actually, there is no such

1:15:091:15:12

organisation as a lobbyist anonymous. We do not need to be

1:15:121:15:16

ashamed of what we do. Lobbyists pay an important part in the

1:15:161:15:21

democratic process and we should be proud of it -- lobbyists play an

1:15:211:15:26

important part. In reality, my job is quite simple. I advise clients

1:15:261:15:30

on how to make their case most effectively to government. I

1:15:301:15:35

explain to them how they can exercise their democratic right to

1:15:351:15:44

try and influence policy decisions. There are many misconceptions about

1:15:441:15:48

lobbying. I rarely meet ministers or Members of Parliament on behalf

1:15:481:15:55

of clients. And I never hang around in the shadows here at the House of

1:15:551:15:59

Commons. Lobbying is a fundamental democratic right, laid down in the

1:15:591:16:04

Magna Carter. Imagine a world in which governments take decisions in

1:16:041:16:10

locked rooms in Whitehall, refusing to hear from outside lobbying

1:16:101:16:13

interests. It is essential here that governments here from those

1:16:131:16:18

affected by its policies and laws. However, there is legitimate public

1:16:181:16:23

concern that lobbyists can, in some circumstances, undermine the

1:16:231:16:27

democratic process. That is why I believe we need effective

1:16:271:16:33

regulation of the lobbying profession. Like the majority of

1:16:331:16:39

other lobbyists, I signed up to our profession's code of conduct, with

1:16:391:16:44

strict rules of behaviour and a publicly available Register of my

1:16:441:16:48

clients. No system of regulation is perfect, but I see no reason why

1:16:481:16:53

statutory regulation would be any more effective. If politicians are

1:16:531:16:58

to be called to account by those they serve, it is an important that

1:16:581:17:03

we have effective lobbying. The very suspicious when politicians

1:17:031:17:13
1:17:131:17:13

tried to regulate and limit it. And Mark Adams joins us now. You

1:17:131:17:16

made a strong case there for the importance of lobbying and

1:17:161:17:20

lobbyists, and the democratic right to influence policy decisions, but

1:17:201:17:25

that is where people are suspicious. What is involved in that

1:17:251:17:29

influencing of policy and decisions, where does it cross the line?

1:17:291:17:32

think I made it clear in the film but actually, what we do is we

1:17:321:17:36

advise clients on how to make their case must effectively to

1:17:361:17:40

politicians, civil servants and the like. I think we have to have some

1:17:401:17:45

faith in our politicians in this. Clearly, we present our case from

1:17:451:17:48

the side of our clients. They will here other cases from other sides

1:17:481:17:51

of the argument and they should make up their own decisions. If

1:17:511:17:56

people think they are swayed by a long lunch on a day at the races, I

1:17:561:18:00

don't think we have enough faith in these guys to do their job. That is

1:18:001:18:04

where I think, there are people out there, also politicians, David

1:18:041:18:08

Cameron has talked about this being the latest scandal to happen, that

1:18:081:18:13

days at the races and lunches, is that being seen as buying? But they

1:18:131:18:17

declare that. The Prime Minister is right. I suspect he is not quite

1:18:171:18:21

right in saying it has only happened, it happened towards the

1:18:211:18:26

end of the last Labour government. Some of us were in discussions with

1:18:261:18:30

previous governments about register of meetings. I think it is right

1:18:301:18:33

that politicians and senior civil servants have to declare the

1:18:331:18:36

hospitality they receive. That is the way it should be regulating

1:18:361:18:40

this with an openness on the part of politicians and frankly trusting

1:18:401:18:45

them. Well, trust in politicians is something which has been slightly

1:18:451:18:50

diminished by the public's perspective, mainly as a result of

1:18:501:18:57

the expenses. How often do meet lobbyists, Liam Byrne? I'd rarely

1:18:571:19:00

meet them. I have worked in business in most of my career and I

1:19:001:19:04

have often felt that business should be more confident in ring up

1:19:041:19:08

politicians and making the points. We do think the government should

1:19:081:19:11

get a move on and introduce a register which was talked about.

1:19:111:19:17

This is the register of people saying they are a lobbyist?

1:19:171:19:21

point is that we want to increase the level of trust in politics and

1:19:211:19:25

we think that where there are confidence building measures like

1:19:251:19:30

this, do not hang around. Do you agree with David Cameron Crowe's

1:19:301:19:35

but would it be the next scandal to happen? It could be and we are

1:19:361:19:42

trying to make sure it would not be. Mark Adams also in a register would

1:19:421:19:48

just be a list of names, it is like an encyclopaedia, isn't it? What it

1:19:481:19:52

would be is that people who are around Westminster are there and

1:19:521:19:55

transparent. If they are recommending -- representing

1:19:551:19:59

clients, we know they do it. There is a register but there are people

1:19:591:20:03

who operate outside it. I think the bigger reform there we have done

1:20:031:20:08

already is to publish in detail a list of ministers' meetings. I

1:20:091:20:13

remember in opposition try and get access to ministers' diaries and

1:20:131:20:19

the wall shut down. It was the way it operated. In it is still quite

1:20:191:20:23

hard because I have tried to get your diary and it is still hard.

1:20:231:20:29

Send it to Liam Byrne afterwards! Can live very briefly ask Liam

1:20:291:20:33

Byrne, unions, should they be included? I have a lovely quote

1:20:331:20:39

from Bob Crow he says the idea that trade unions should be bracketed in

1:20:391:20:45

with the chances and schmooze us from the lobbying world is a great

1:20:451:20:50

insult. I don't think Labour's links with the trade unions are

1:20:501:20:53

secret because we debated in public and people know who is affiliated

1:20:531:20:58

and who is not. I do not think the unions should be different from any

1:20:591:21:02

other organisation. I do not think they can claim somehow that they

1:21:021:21:06

are different. Union links are transparent already but lobbyist

1:21:061:21:10

links are not. It is about bringing complete openness to the picture.

1:21:101:21:14

Thank you. Following his bout at Prime

1:21:151:21:17

Minister's Questions, the Prime Minister is jetting off this

1:21:171:21:22

Rosberg, preparing another battle about reforming the European Court

1:21:221:21:30

of Human Rights -- Strasbourg. Joining us from Central Lobby, the

1:21:301:21:36

human rights lawyer Anthony Lester and the Conservative MP Andrea

1:21:361:21:46

Leadsom. This court has a backlog of about 160,000 cases, some of the

1:21:461:21:52

judges had either no or very little previous judicial experience, it is

1:21:521:21:59

in need of reform, is it not? So what should be done? First of

1:21:591:22:03

all, as far as the judges are concerned, there needs to be much

1:22:031:22:08

more transparent rules about who can be a judge, much better

1:22:081:22:14

scrutiny, much better public scrutiny, in order to improve

1:22:141:22:17

quality all round. The British model is the best one where we

1:22:171:22:21

advertised, we then have an independent body looking and we

1:22:211:22:25

then make recommendations. As far as the backlog is concerned, much

1:22:251:22:31

of that, about a third, is caused by countries like Russia, the

1:22:311:22:38

Ukraine, Turkey which do not show a proper respect for the rule if the

1:22:381:22:41

law. Some of this is caused by countries like Italy which have

1:22:411:22:45

repetitive cases and do not bring themselves into line probably.

1:22:451:22:51

There is an urgent need which is recognised, I think, by a British

1:22:511:22:55

judge for ways of tackling this. They have said they will get the

1:22:551:23:00

backlog down within five years. I am on the commission on a Bill of

1:23:001:23:04

Rights for the UK. We have made recommendations supporting David

1:23:041:23:09

Cameron's proposals. So, Andrea Leadsom, if we get changes along

1:23:091:23:14

these lines, will that do it? could do. Certainly, improvements

1:23:141:23:18

and reform is what David Cameron will be talking about today. What

1:23:181:23:23

we have to do is get a point where we do not have a backlog of 150,000

1:23:231:23:27

plus cases. I get letters from constituents all the time saying

1:23:271:23:32

they have an appeal at the human court and it will be a month before

1:23:321:23:37

it is even considered. It is not fit for purpose so it has to change.

1:23:371:23:41

What the Prime Minister also wants is that where the British courts,

1:23:411:23:45

up to the Supreme Court, have taken a clear decision on a particular

1:23:451:23:50

matter within their competence, that more times than not, European

1:23:501:23:57

courts should leave there, not get involved? What do you say to that?

1:23:571:24:01

I think that is a very difficult idea. It might work in the United

1:24:011:24:06

Kingdom because we have a really good judicial system. By and large

1:24:061:24:10

our judges produced results which are entirely compatible with the

1:24:101:24:14

convention. But if you're going to turn the Strasbourg court into a

1:24:141:24:18

court which starts criticising other country's judges for being

1:24:181:24:22

unreasonable, but is not a good way of getting a partnership between

1:24:221:24:26

Strasbourg and those countries. I worried that in other parts of

1:24:261:24:31

Europe, there are 46 countries and 800 million people, it is important

1:24:311:24:35

that you are entitled way your domestic remedies have failed,

1:24:351:24:38

still to go to Strasbourg. The key thing is to get good quality judges,

1:24:381:24:44

get rid of the backlog and their ISA finally, the other thing is,

1:24:441:24:53

this whole system was started by Sir Winston Churchill and the

1:24:531:24:59

Conservative Party. There commitment is tested. Andrea, had

1:24:591:25:04

to put the chances of reform? would put them pretty high. I think

1:25:041:25:07

all countries see the need for reform, it is a question of what

1:25:071:25:11

and how far. Some countries have a good track of human rights records

1:25:111:25:17

but other countries do not. You cannot use this for everyone else's

1:25:171:25:20

national failures. The One o'clock News is desperate for your camera

1:25:201:25:26

so we have to leave there. We can go to James Landale who is in

1:25:261:25:30

Strasbourg where he has the camera all to himself. We have a rough

1:25:301:25:36

idea what David Cameron is going to ask for, but other British going

1:25:361:25:39

there with hopes of success or simply to lay out their stall?

1:25:391:25:44

I think they are coming here with some hope of success. That is why

1:25:441:25:48

the tone of the Prime Minister's speech will be quite moderate. It

1:25:481:25:52

is not designed to appeal to newspapers like the Daily Mail. It

1:25:521:25:57

is designed to win allies in that building. The Prime Minister sees

1:25:571:26:01

there is an opportunity for reform. The problem is this will take a

1:26:011:26:06

long time. Britain has the rotating presidency for just a few more

1:26:071:26:10

months. Then the Albanians take over. Any reform of this place

1:26:101:26:15

takes a long time. What Parliament Ferring say there should be

1:26:161:26:25
1:26:261:26:27

reformed but no one has said how. The Prime Minister has not said

1:26:271:26:32

about how he will get rid of the backlog. I think we have still got

1:26:321:26:36

a long way to go on this. There is a problem here, there are 47

1:26:361:26:42

members of this court, they will need to agree to any changes, and

1:26:421:26:45

we have had the President of the court he was a British judge saying

1:26:451:26:49

he thinks the court is doing pretty well and does not need any reform

1:26:491:26:56

at all? Yes, there is a huge institutional reluctance I think,

1:26:561:27:01

to move swiftly on this. There is, however, some consensus that some

1:27:011:27:05

reform needs to happen. The most persuasive argument the Prime

1:27:051:27:10

Minister has got, is saying if the court does not reform, he will

1:27:101:27:17

undermine support for human rights for places where there are genuine

1:27:171:27:21

problems. This is the start of a long process and I think it is very

1:27:211:27:24

unlikely to satisfy all the critics back home who say it is not about

1:27:241:27:30

reform, it is about ultimately withdrawal. Should the court here

1:27:301:27:34

really decide on things like giving prisoners the vote in the United

1:27:341:27:39

Kingdom. Thank you. The Prime Minister is on his way to

1:27:391:27:46

Strasbourg. There will be an hour- long documentary on Human Rights on

1:27:461:27:50

BBC2, probably before the end of February since it is pretty topical

1:27:501:27:54

and we had better get a move on. I had better write most of the

1:27:541:27:59

script! Time to put you out of your misery with Guess the Year. The

1:27:591:28:09

answer was 2006. You get to choose a winner. You dig deep. It is Brian

1:28:091:28:14

Sylvester from Nantwich in Cheshire. Well done, Brian. The special mug

1:28:141:28:20

is yours. That is it for today. We thank all of our guests. Special

1:28:201:28:23

thanks to Chris Grayling and Liam Byrne for being our guests of the

1:28:241:28:28

day. We will be back tomorrow at noon. We are an hour-long Daily

1:28:281:28:32

Politics on every day except Wednesday when we are 90 minutes.

1:28:321:28:38

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