24/02/2012 Daily Politics


24/02/2012

Political magazine with Andrew Neil. Bob Stewart and Mousab Azzawi discuss Syria, Sir David King talks about GM foods, and Adrian Ramsay is live from the Green Party conference.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 24/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Can anyone stop

:00:43.:00:48.

Syria's dictator from killing his own people on an increasingly large

:00:48.:00:52.

scale? Delegates at an international conference in Tunis

:00:52.:00:56.

are hoping to ratchet up pressure on Damascus to agree a ceasefire.

:00:56.:01:00.

They are expected to call for humanitarian workers to be given

:01:00.:01:03.

urgent access to Homs and other areas where Syrians are being

:01:03.:01:08.

attacked. We will have the latest. At the Speaker of the House of

:01:08.:01:12.

Commons of the tax payer is being fleeced for the cost of trees at

:01:12.:01:16.

Portcullis House. In an interview he defends his timekeeping at PMQs

:01:16.:01:21.

and declares himself a happy man. The Tories are having an awayday.

:01:21.:01:27.

Yes, they are. We will be asking what they should be talking about.

:01:27.:01:33.

And we will be revealing the longest ever word to hit Hansard.

:01:33.:01:43.
:01:43.:01:51.

Why does that remind me of an episode of Blackadder? All will be

:01:51.:01:56.

revealed. That and much more in the next hour. With us for the duration,

:01:56.:02:00.

Nick Watt of the Guardian and Peter Oborne of the Telegraph. Let's

:02:00.:02:04.

start with the ongoing row over the Government's work experience

:02:04.:02:10.

programme. The High Street shop can Brant said it had decided to

:02:10.:02:15.

suspend the Government's mandatory Work Programme while the Government

:02:15.:02:23.

clarifies its scheme and introduces other youth employment initiatives.

:02:23.:02:28.

-- Poundland. The picture is rather confused. Let's see if our

:02:28.:02:32.

correspondent Louise Stewart can enlighten us. What has hound land

:02:32.:02:39.

done? You are right. It is very confusing I spoke to the company

:02:39.:02:43.

earlier and they said can we get back to when we are 100 % sure

:02:43.:02:47.

which scheme we are pulling out of! They have said they are pulling out

:02:47.:02:51.

of one of the Government's work programmes. It seems to be their

:02:51.:02:56.

problem with it is the fact that there could be if somebody signs up

:02:56.:03:00.

for one of these schemes to get them back into work, there could be

:03:00.:03:04.

sanctions imposed which would mean if they decided not to continue

:03:04.:03:08.

with the scheme after a week or two, they could end up losing some of

:03:08.:03:13.

their benefits. Poundland said to me they believe it is wrong that

:03:13.:03:17.

people have to work for their benefits. They say they will

:03:17.:03:20.

continue to offer voluntary work schemes, they say it is successful

:03:21.:03:25.

and they have had over 1,000 people who want to get into retail and

:03:25.:03:29.

they want to offer some of them jobs, but they are concerned about

:03:29.:03:33.

elements of the Government scheme. This comes on the back of other big

:03:33.:03:38.

retailers also voicing concerns about it. We tried to get

:03:38.:03:42.

clarification from the relevant government department. Have you

:03:42.:03:47.

been more successful? I have been calling them all morning. They said,

:03:47.:03:50.

yes, Poundland have confirmed they are pulling out of one of the

:03:50.:03:54.

schemes but they will continue to provide work experience on a

:03:54.:03:58.

voluntary basis. But then the Employment Minister Chris Grayling

:03:58.:04:02.

came out this morning. He has been defending the scheme. We were going

:04:02.:04:06.

to do an interview with him but he seems to have pulled out. He

:04:06.:04:09.

defended the scheme saying it was a good way for people who have been

:04:09.:04:14.

out of work to get back into work and for young people to get work

:04:14.:04:19.

experience. He says he has a meeting on Wednesday with C E Ls

:04:19.:04:26.

from some big companies. Greg's voiced their concerns last night on

:04:26.:04:31.

Newsnight. The chief executive there will be meeting Mr grayling

:04:31.:04:36.

and leaders from Matalan and Waterstone's. These are all

:04:36.:04:39.

companies which have expressed concerns about some elements of the

:04:39.:04:43.

Government's scheme. I think politically what this says is that

:04:43.:04:47.

some companies are getting cold feet, if you like, about being

:04:47.:04:52.

involved in these schemes. There have been terms bandied around of

:04:52.:04:57.

slave labour. Tescos were involved in that earlier in the week. Some

:04:57.:05:01.

companies are getting cold feet about being involved in the schemes.

:05:01.:05:04.

Thank you, I think you have clarified it as well as you can in

:05:04.:05:09.

the circumstances! Peter Oborne, is this government losing its grip?

:05:09.:05:14.

This is a scheme which has support from all of the coalition. Labour

:05:14.:05:20.

is not against it. The public overwhelmingly supports it. There

:05:20.:05:27.

is a well-organised come -- campaign against it but the public

:05:27.:05:31.

think if you are on benefits and there is a chance of work

:05:31.:05:36.

experience, you should take it and yet it is a complete Horlicks.

:05:36.:05:40.

do not know what has happened but judging by the report we have had

:05:40.:05:44.

their and judging by what I heard on the today programme, Poundland

:05:44.:05:50.

seems to be not objecting to the cock-up by the Government, it seems

:05:50.:05:54.

to be taking a principled stance by what the Government is doing. This

:05:54.:05:58.

is an elected government. It has the support of the opposition and

:05:58.:06:04.

there is an element of compulsion to the workfare scheme. As far as I

:06:04.:06:11.

read it, pounds land, the chief executive of it, is taking a

:06:11.:06:15.

principled objection to that part of the scheme. Shouldn't he have

:06:15.:06:19.

worked it out before he signed up to it? We do not know the full

:06:19.:06:23.

facts. It sounds like he has gone off and joined, not the Labour

:06:23.:06:29.

Party but the Socialist Workers' Party. It looks like Poundland is

:06:29.:06:33.

taking a far left point of view that we should Molly coddle people

:06:33.:06:38.

who are out of work. Good for Pam bland but I do not think it is

:06:38.:06:42.

appropriate for a chief executive of a public company to take that

:06:42.:06:46.

view -- good for Poundland. looks like companies are running

:06:46.:06:52.

scared of the campaign. They say they are pulling out of a mandatory

:06:52.:06:56.

scheme when it is a voluntary scheme and there is a reason why

:06:56.:07:00.

they call netminder a tree which is somebody took part in this scheme,

:07:00.:07:04.

worked in Poundland and then after three weeks left and sued the

:07:04.:07:08.

Department for Work and Pensions sake I had been forced to take part

:07:08.:07:12.

in it. The DWP had to admit that this person had been wrongly

:07:12.:07:16.

advised. It is voluntary that you take part but it is Monday tree

:07:16.:07:20.

that you lose your benefit if you pull out of it. I think the problem

:07:20.:07:23.

for Poundland is they are the victims of a very effective

:07:23.:07:26.

campaign saying essentially people are being forced to work for

:07:26.:07:33.

virtually nothing. The governors say it is voluntary. In a

:07:33.:07:39.

recession... You only lose your benefits if you take part and

:07:39.:07:43.

withdraw. A lot of people would say if you turn this down, you're not

:07:43.:07:49.

sure you should get benefits. point is, we are in a recession.

:07:49.:07:52.

These big stores are having to fight for every single customer. It

:07:52.:07:58.

does not look good for them if their stores are being occupied.

:07:58.:08:02.

looks like a blatant political intervention, caving in to fire

:08:02.:08:07.

left pressure from Poundland and I think that is reprehensible and

:08:07.:08:10.

disgraceful. We may not have clarified it but struck -- some of

:08:10.:08:15.

us have strong opinions! Urgent talks are due to take place

:08:16.:08:19.

in Tunisia later today to try to force the Syrian president to call

:08:19.:08:24.

a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid into the country. Fighting is

:08:24.:08:27.

continuing around the city of Homs and the Red Cross said it had

:08:27.:08:30.

received no response from the Syrian government for its request

:08:30.:08:35.

for a pause and the fighting to allow aid to be taking in.

:08:35.:08:38.

Commentators have expressed fears that because China and Russia are

:08:38.:08:42.

not attending a conference, the chances of a breakthrough Arslan.

:08:42.:08:47.

Just before we went on air, I spoke to the BBC diplomatic correspondent

:08:47.:08:52.

Jonathan Marcus. He is in the Tunisian capital of Tunis. I began

:08:52.:08:57.

by asking him what the conference was trying to achieve. The genesis

:08:57.:09:03.

of this conference is really the blockage of the United Nations, the

:09:03.:09:07.

Chinese and Russians have vetoed any combined effort of the UN

:09:07.:09:10.

Security Council. This conference is trying to get around that

:09:10.:09:15.

roadblock. It has three main aims. One is to issue an urgent call to

:09:15.:09:18.

get humanitarian assistance in two cities like Homs which are under

:09:18.:09:22.

attack by Syrian government forces. They will need an immediate

:09:22.:09:26.

ceasefire to do that. Secondly, they want to try and encourage the

:09:26.:09:30.

Syrian opposition forces, they want to engage the Syrian National

:09:30.:09:34.

Council, the main opposition grouping. They are likely to

:09:34.:09:38.

recognise it as a legitimate representative of Syrians who want

:09:38.:09:41.

a change in their society. Interestingly, not the

:09:41.:09:45.

representative, they want it to become more inclusive, to put down

:09:45.:09:48.

better routes in Syria itself. And thirdly, there will be an attempt

:09:48.:09:53.

to increase the pressure on the Syrian regime, both by focusing and

:09:53.:09:57.

co-ordinating sanctions, but also by putting the regime on notice.

:09:57.:10:01.

You will remember yesterday a un Human Rights Commission report was

:10:01.:10:05.

delivered which alleges war crimes have been committed by a senior

:10:05.:10:09.

Syrian officials and there is a responsibility to the highest

:10:09.:10:13.

levels in Damascus. The message that will come from here is they

:10:13.:10:18.

are on notice. Evidence is being collected. What they are doing is

:10:18.:10:22.

being closely watched and there will be a day of reckoning at some

:10:22.:10:27.

point mackerel in the future. they think they can do all of that

:10:27.:10:32.

in a meaningful way without the involvement of China and Russia? Do

:10:32.:10:36.

they expect China and Russia to look the other way or block what

:10:36.:10:42.

they are doing in practice? I think it will work up to a point. The

:10:42.:10:46.

problem is diplomatic sanctions is a cumulative process, it is a

:10:46.:10:51.

question of taking time and clearly time is not on anyone's side. I

:10:51.:10:54.

think the difficulty is this meeting is essentially watching

:10:54.:10:59.

from the sidelines. The real events are tragically taking place on the

:10:59.:11:02.

ground in Syria. You have to remember that this is a regime in

:11:02.:11:06.

Syria which is fighting for its survival. It believes its back is

:11:06.:11:11.

to the wall which we have clearly seen in Homs and elsewhere. It

:11:11.:11:15.

needs to do what is required to maintain itself in power. It is

:11:15.:11:18.

also important to realise that there are significant groups of the

:11:18.:11:22.

population in Syria who may not be happy with what is going on at the

:11:22.:11:25.

moment but perhaps they are still willing to give President Bashar

:11:25.:11:31.

al-Assad the benefit of the doubt. They prefer the guy they know to

:11:31.:11:35.

the potential chaos which might come after. Is a hugely complex

:11:35.:11:38.

situation and that complexity is one of the reasons why outside

:11:38.:11:43.

military intervention is not been cancelled as it was in Libya.

:11:43.:11:47.

was Jonathan Marcus in Tunis. We are now joined him in London by Bob

:11:47.:11:52.

Stewart from the commander of UN forces in Bosnia now a Conservative

:11:52.:11:57.

MP, and Mousab Azzawi of the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Let me

:11:57.:12:02.

start with you, Mousab Azzawi. Humanitarian aid, some kind of

:12:02.:12:06.

temporary ceasefire, it does not sound to me like that will be

:12:06.:12:12.

anywhere enough to please the rebels in Syria? No, at all, that

:12:12.:12:17.

is not enough because it is not realistic. The regime methodology

:12:17.:12:22.

is to accept every initiative and then emptied. If the regime will

:12:22.:12:27.

accept that, it will not be a permanent solution to deliver

:12:28.:12:33.

humanitarian aid for those pockets of geographical places with people

:12:33.:12:38.

trapped there. Many people died every day because they do not have

:12:38.:12:44.

fuel, they do not have clean water, they do not have fluid or access to

:12:44.:12:50.

healthcare. This is not enough and I do not think it will not be

:12:50.:12:55.

accepted for a temporary remedy for the crisis -- they do not have food.

:12:55.:12:58.

What would you be telling this organisation to do? I would be

:12:58.:13:03.

telling them to do three steps. The first step is the humanitarian

:13:03.:13:06.

corridors which needs to be done through the United Nations with a

:13:06.:13:11.

very clear plan to deliver this aid. The second thing which is buffer

:13:11.:13:15.

zones with the borders with Turkey to allow the Syrians who are end

:13:15.:13:19.

trapped to flee to a safe haven. The third step which might be

:13:19.:13:23.

controversial is the no fly zone because the biggest proportion of

:13:23.:13:28.

the Syrian army is waiting for the right moment to desert the army but

:13:28.:13:33.

they do not want to be easy targets. How do you know that? Basically,

:13:33.:13:37.

there are signals coming from those ordinary people who serve in the

:13:37.:13:41.

army. They are not professional soldiers. They are just ordinary

:13:41.:13:45.

people serving in the army to do their national service the two

:13:45.:13:49.

years. They tell their families we are waiting for the moment to

:13:49.:13:53.

desert the family -- to desert the army but we do not want to be easy

:13:53.:13:58.

targets for the military aircraft as happened in August last year.

:13:58.:14:02.

Six officers deserted the army with their tanks, they were very easy

:14:02.:14:06.

targets. That is the key solution to sort out the Syrian crisis as I

:14:06.:14:11.

see it. Bob Stewart, I do not get the impression that we in the West

:14:11.:14:18.

are anywhere near a no-fly zone or a safe haven on the border with

:14:18.:14:25.

Turkey? That is correct. The big problem, of course, is that the

:14:25.:14:28.

Security Council of the United Nations requires a resolution and

:14:28.:14:33.

there are two people on the permanent Council, Russia and China,

:14:33.:14:39.

that won't agree it. In order to set up humanitarian operations at a

:14:39.:14:42.

United Nations level, you have got to have a Security Council

:14:42.:14:47.

resolution. Even if we had the UN on side on this, I'll be even up

:14:47.:14:51.

for those? I'm not sure who I am talking about, the British, the

:14:51.:14:55.

French, the Americans in a presidential year? Are they going

:14:55.:15:01.

to put a no-fly zone over Syria? Are they going to back UN troops

:15:01.:15:07.

going into a safe haven with the border with Turkey? There is no

:15:07.:15:11.

wish for us to get involved in this situation. And indeed, it may be

:15:11.:15:16.

time in my view for the Arabs to start doing a little bit more.

:15:16.:15:21.

Who'd you mean by the Arabs? I mean Saudi Arabia, Jordan. Their troops

:15:21.:15:27.

are not going to fight. But why is it always ask? As a politician, I

:15:27.:15:33.

am saying, there is a limit. Each time we going, what is our national

:15:33.:15:37.

interest in going in there? Apart from the fact we have a

:15:37.:15:41.

humanitarian desire to try and stop people dying and that is quite

:15:41.:15:45.

right, but it is us again, the Americans. If people turn to us and

:15:45.:15:49.

say, can you do it and the answer is, I don't think we can. I suppose

:15:49.:15:54.

we could if we put more money into it but that is it. Again, more

:15:54.:16:04.
:16:04.:16:05.

money is required. Defences at its It sounds to me that the brutal

:16:05.:16:11.

reality is, if you are hoping for help from the West, you will be

:16:11.:16:17.

disappointed. The point is that any open civil war in Syria will not be

:16:17.:16:20.

limited to the band a series of Syria. The risk for the Western

:16:20.:16:25.

powers, if they leave this crisis without supporting the Syrians and

:16:25.:16:30.

facilitating the transition to democracy, this civil war is easily,

:16:30.:16:37.

because of the tribal clans interlinking, it may move to the

:16:37.:16:42.

neighbouring countries quickly. Then, if they pay $100 for a barrel

:16:42.:16:47.

of oil now, they will pay $400, because it is easy to move to Saudi

:16:47.:16:57.
:16:57.:16:59.

Arabia. There are signals coming from those tribes in Syria. They

:16:59.:17:04.

are saying, if you are going to fight on a sectarian background, we

:17:04.:17:08.

will fight with you. That is something we do not want to see.

:17:08.:17:13.

Peter Oborne, rightly or wrongly, there is no appetite to intervene,

:17:13.:17:20.

is there? Yes. I think the West miss reports what is happening in

:17:20.:17:27.

many ways. Absolutely, there is a popular uprising against President

:17:27.:17:32.

Assad. And he is absolutely a frightening dictator and becoming

:17:32.:17:36.

more so. But it is worth remembering that he has a lot of

:17:36.:17:41.

popular support. How do you know? have looked at surveys from the

:17:41.:17:48.

Russians, for instance. They say 60% of people are defined -- behind

:17:48.:17:55.

him. That suits the Russian narrative. Yes, but I do not think

:17:56.:18:04.

we should assume that the Russians talk nonsense. But there are two

:18:04.:18:07.

different things. That is an interesting we writing of what is

:18:07.:18:11.

going on in Syria to say that President Assad has support. What

:18:11.:18:19.

is sustaining him is an alliance with his tried and the Sloaney

:18:19.:18:21.

middle classes, who are uneasy about what is going on. The reason

:18:21.:18:29.

why Russia are saying they do not support action is because they were

:18:29.:18:32.

badly burnt by what went on in Libya and they do not want to

:18:32.:18:35.

sanction an action against Syria because they thought it would be a

:18:35.:18:39.

simple military operation, and it turned into regime change. Russia

:18:39.:18:45.

do not want a repeat of that. do you say to Peter Oborne, who

:18:45.:18:47.

says that President Assad is more popular than we report him to be in

:18:47.:18:53.

the worst? This is not correct. We rely on evidence and statistics. In

:18:53.:19:03.
:19:03.:19:04.

Syria, there are 1200 villages and towns. Last Saturday, more than 684

:19:04.:19:08.

places off demonstrations existed. The total number of demonstrators

:19:08.:19:16.

in a country in which 60% of the population is under the age of 18,

:19:16.:19:22.

was more than 1 million in all the cities. There is no spare city

:19:22.:19:32.
:19:32.:19:35.

whatever. There is a very small Shiite community. 20%? No, less

:19:35.:19:43.

than one in 1000. President Assad's supporters are less than 1%, that

:19:43.:19:52.

tried it. They do exist. But many of the people who participate in

:19:52.:19:58.

the uprising are also from that stride. It is not true that it is a

:19:58.:20:02.

sectarian issue. The most important thing is to stop people dying. That

:20:02.:20:07.

is the most crucial thing. We all agree with that, but how? That is

:20:07.:20:16.

what the conference should be thinking about. So you are saying

:20:16.:20:22.

we have to get rid of him? They remain in power by mowing down

:20:22.:20:28.

their opponents. There are a lot of reports. Again, there is over-

:20:28.:20:33.

simplification of the conflict from the start. There has not been a

:20:33.:20:38.

civilised opposition movement. We have had armed men from the start.

:20:38.:20:42.

Al-Qaeda did those atrocities in Damascus a couple of months ago. I

:20:42.:20:47.

am sure they are involved with that now. This is not true. The main

:20:47.:20:52.

body of the revolution, which is named the Syrian revolution General

:20:52.:20:56.

Commission, comprises 200 Revolutionary members on the ground.

:20:56.:21:00.

They are similar to the French Revolution. They have stated, we do

:21:00.:21:04.

not have links with any fundamentalists. We do not like Al-

:21:04.:21:09.

Qaeda. We have to leave it there. Let's hope it works out better than

:21:09.:21:12.

the French Revolution. Now, cast your mind back to the

:21:12.:21:16.

days of Super tomatoes, trampled fields and even an accusation that

:21:16.:21:21.

we had a Prime Monster. That was the GM debate of the 1990s, but

:21:21.:21:25.

have things moved on since then? The men in white coats are still

:21:25.:21:29.

quietly at work and preparations are almost complete for a new GM

:21:29.:21:39.
:21:39.:21:48.

wheat field trial in Hertfordshire. Imagine the perfect fruit - not

:21:48.:21:52.

just began juicy, but actually better than nature itself could

:21:52.:21:58.

provide. That was the idea. In the late 1990s, two letters struck fear

:21:58.:22:03.

into the hearts of public and media alike - GM. Campaigners wrecked

:22:03.:22:08.

crops and took their protests to Number 10. Tony Blair was AGM fan,

:22:08.:22:13.

as were many of his ministers, but there was one unbeliever. I think I

:22:13.:22:19.

was a lone voice. I found I had no other ministerial support. I found

:22:19.:22:26.

myself isolated. But I resisted. That could have been the reason why

:22:26.:22:30.

I was sacked. Despite the protests, Labour allowed the commercial

:22:30.:22:36.

planting of GM maize in 2004. But the firm behind the project pulled

:22:37.:22:40.

out shortly afterwards. So is the former minister happy with where we

:22:41.:22:45.

are now? I think we are in the right place in the sense that there

:22:45.:22:53.

is now much greater concern about the possible long-term effects of

:22:53.:22:58.

GM, and therefore there is an inhibition against spreading it

:22:58.:23:02.

indiscriminately across the world. There are checks and balances. And

:23:03.:23:07.

that is right. GM crops have never been grown commercially in this

:23:07.:23:11.

country, but that is not the end of the story. This is one of a tiny

:23:12.:23:15.

number of scientific trials currently under way in the UK. The

:23:15.:23:22.

scientists here hope they can change the way we think about GM.

:23:22.:23:27.

This is roughens their research in Harpenden. They are tried to create

:23:27.:23:32.

a breed which will be resistant to greenfly. This new approach is

:23:32.:23:37.

taking naturally occurring genes which occur in other plants, and

:23:37.:23:42.

immobilising them in a way that mimics what happens in nature,

:23:42.:23:48.

because at some plants do deter insects from landing on them. So we

:23:48.:23:54.

have taken it to a new level. We call it a Green GM. The work they

:23:54.:23:57.

are doing is cutting edge, but these scientists believe that

:23:57.:24:01.

Britain is running to catch up on what could have been a

:24:01.:24:03.

technological and economic opportunity. We have exported

:24:04.:24:10.

thousands of jobs over the years to the US and South America that we

:24:10.:24:18.

could have had at a time when, from an economic point of view, we are

:24:18.:24:23.

hoping to develop economic growth through technology and innovation.

:24:23.:24:27.

But is that a reason to pursue something which has consistently

:24:27.:24:37.
:24:37.:24:38.

divided public opinion? difference is not for its own sake.

:24:38.:24:44.

If it is not doing something useful, we should take a sceptical view.

:24:44.:24:49.

has never been a place in the world where the consumer, given the

:24:49.:24:54.

choice of being able to say, we live by it or not, as uniformly

:24:54.:24:59.

said, we will not touch a GM product. So the argument goes on.

:24:59.:25:03.

The science of GM may be moving into a new future, but the debate

:25:03.:25:08.

is always likely to be influenced by its past.

:25:08.:25:15.

The government's former chief scientist David King is with us now.

:25:15.:25:21.

You were broadly in favour of proceeding with GM experiments and

:25:21.:25:23.

moving to their commercial exploitation. Tony Blair was in

:25:24.:25:29.

favour. The then science minister, Lord Sainsbury, was in favour.

:25:29.:25:32.

Given these powerful and well- informed voices, how did you manage

:25:32.:25:37.

to lose to a coalition of the Daily Mail and the Greens? Firstly, yes,

:25:37.:25:43.

I was in favour. Lord Sainsbury and I were clear about this. We were in

:25:43.:25:48.

favour, but within a regulatory environment in which each new food

:25:48.:25:53.

product was carefully regulated. The line we took was, don't ban the

:25:53.:25:57.

technology, ban the products that might be risky to the environment

:25:57.:26:01.

or to human health. A reasonable line, but you still lost the

:26:01.:26:07.

argument. Unfortunately, I think the argument was initially framed

:26:07.:26:14.

as a result of a very vigorous campaign of advertising by one

:26:14.:26:18.

company in the GM field, Monsanto. And this created a backlash against

:26:18.:26:23.

this rather brash American company that seemed to be taking over the

:26:23.:26:30.

world of agriculture and plant foods. The issues around

:26:30.:26:35.

environmental and human safety got caught up in that. But if you

:26:35.:26:40.

examine those issues, they were not dealt with in the sort of detail

:26:40.:26:45.

that one might expect, except to show that no GM products in the

:26:45.:26:53.

market has yet shown any negative impact effects. So even though GM

:26:53.:26:58.

food is now quotidian in the US, there is no evidence, you say, of

:26:58.:27:05.

any detrimental effect on Americans' health? Correct. The

:27:05.:27:11.

United States and South America, Canada and Mexico, that entire area

:27:11.:27:15.

has gone heavily over to GM products for the simple reason that

:27:15.:27:21.

those products are very efficient at producing good crops. You can

:27:21.:27:28.

produce resistance to disease. You can also produce resistance to

:27:28.:27:33.

drought and flooding. There are real advantages in this very

:27:33.:27:39.

refined technology. I would also point out that most of the soya

:27:39.:27:46.

that we can get in the world is now produced by GM techniques. It is

:27:46.:27:51.

difficult to buy soya anywhere in the world that has not got a large

:27:51.:27:59.

percentage of GM products Dinnet. - - in it. Rightly or wrongly, the

:27:59.:28:05.

other side of the argument won. Is it the blunt truth now that

:28:05.:28:08.

although we at one stage as a country were not at the cutting

:28:08.:28:13.

edge, but pretty well into the science, but we have fallen so far

:28:13.:28:18.

behind now that we will not catch up? There is a good argument to be

:28:18.:28:24.

made around that. Britain invented molecular biology. We were the

:28:24.:28:29.

leaders in this field. Two companies, Unilever and Astra

:28:29.:28:32.

Zeneca, invested heavily in second- generation products which would

:28:32.:28:37.

give health to people who ate them. All of that has been closed down.

:28:37.:28:41.

But that strength in the science base of molecular biology still

:28:41.:28:45.

exists. If there was a change in public opinion, I think the

:28:45.:28:50.

situation would change. The other factor that is important - while we

:28:50.:28:53.

can say that we know of no human being who has suffered from eating

:28:53.:28:57.

GM products, we know of many who have suffered from not having

:28:57.:29:02.

availability of GM products. I am referring largely to the developing

:29:02.:29:08.

world, where GM products could have met malnutrition problems that

:29:08.:29:13.

still massively exist, especially after 2007, with the big food price

:29:13.:29:21.

rises that have occurred. Now, the Speaker of the House of

:29:21.:29:24.

Commons has entered the row over a dozen fig trees which are being

:29:24.:29:29.

rented at an office block for MPs at a cost to the taxpayer of

:29:29.:29:34.

�30,000 a year. Writing in Westminster's House magazine, John

:29:34.:29:39.

Bercow declares that the contract to supply and maintain the trees in

:29:39.:29:42.

Portcullis House should be terminated as soon as possible. We

:29:42.:29:47.

wanted to speak to a correspondent live from Portcullis House, but the

:29:47.:29:51.

powers that be will not let us in because Parliament is not sitting

:29:51.:29:57.

today. And why should they? After all, it is only our Parliament. We

:29:57.:30:01.

paid for the building. This is a democracy. But we are not allowed

:30:01.:30:05.

it. Anyway, we probably cannot manoeuvre there because of the

:30:05.:30:09.

trees. But we are joined by Vicki Young on College Green. She has

:30:09.:30:19.

tons of room to manoeuvre. What is This does date back to when the

:30:19.:30:25.

building was put up. The fig trees cost �30,000 a year. The tax payer

:30:25.:30:29.

is renting them from a company which goes towards the upkeep. John

:30:29.:30:34.

Bercow is making it clear that the contract should be terminated as

:30:34.:30:39.

soon as possible. It is up for review in September. In the last

:30:39.:30:42.

hour, the Prime Minister's official spokesman has waded into the

:30:42.:30:46.

argument. He said it is right that the whole of the public sector

:30:46.:30:50.

should be looking at cutbacks and Parliament should be no different.

:30:50.:30:54.

There are issues, if you're going to get rid of them, they belong to

:30:54.:30:57.

this company, they would have to get them out of the building and

:30:57.:31:01.

someone said you would have to take the roof off of Portcullis House.

:31:01.:31:04.

But I think they will be going cheap and you could get one for

:31:05.:31:09.

your living room. I could do that, I would just have to put a hole in

:31:09.:31:14.

the ceiling of my living room! Can explain why these trees cost so

:31:14.:31:19.

much? We don't actually own them so the problem is this money is not

:31:19.:31:23.

going towards the taxpayer at the end of the day even owning them. It

:31:23.:31:28.

is some thing where people say it was signed off by officials many

:31:28.:31:33.

years ago. That will be the problem to get out of if it is a contract

:31:33.:31:37.

which cost more to get out of. It is up for review in September and

:31:37.:31:41.

John Bercow is strongly hinting that some changes will have to come

:31:41.:31:47.

about. And finally, will I understand the Speaker has some

:31:47.:31:51.

views on party conferences. What is he saying? He basically said that

:31:51.:31:54.

Parliament should be sitting in September and if the conferences

:31:54.:31:57.

are going on, they should be held over the weekend so they should

:31:57.:32:01.

start on a Friday and go on Saturday and Sunday. He says MPs

:32:01.:32:05.

should be working in their workplace in September which is

:32:05.:32:09.

what most people expect given that they go on their holidays in July.

:32:09.:32:13.

I do not think that will be popular. Particularly because the parties

:32:13.:32:17.

make a lot of money out of the conferences with the stalls and so

:32:17.:32:23.

one. We will have to see if that changes in the future. Thank you.

:32:23.:32:28.

People watching this must think, you rent fig trees? You rent a

:32:28.:32:32.

tree? Does anybody in the country do that except parliament and you

:32:32.:32:38.

rent it for 30,000 quid a year. Who is the landlord of these trees? I

:32:39.:32:43.

would like to get into this business. I do think Speaker per

:32:43.:32:47.

cow is in charge of the House of Commons and these views of

:32:47.:32:52.

annoyance, he was responsible for these -- this contract. Micheal

:32:52.:32:57.

Martin would have been speaker at the time, Portcullis House went up

:32:58.:33:05.

in 2001. As Speaker he is responsible for every conference --

:33:05.:33:10.

aim -- every contract. That idiot Micheal Martin was probably

:33:10.:33:17.

responsible. There was that huge hubris of the House of Commons as

:33:17.:33:21.

the political class that they regarded themselves above reproach,

:33:21.:33:25.

worthy of the best of everything. think it reminds us of an era when

:33:26.:33:30.

the taps were on and there was not a great deal of monitoring money

:33:30.:33:33.

which will spend. George Osborne has this lovely story that he

:33:33.:33:38.

decided he would say something like �5,000 by not having the designated

:33:38.:33:42.

Christmas tree in the Treasury and he went down the road and spent 20

:33:42.:33:46.

quid on a Christmas tree. The health and safety rules meant that

:33:46.:33:51.

only one person was in -- able to put the start on the top of the

:33:51.:33:56.

tree and that had to be the permanent secretary. Can I just

:33:56.:34:00.

point out that Speaker burka has spent several thousands of pounds

:34:00.:34:09.

of money on his portrait -- John Bercow. People have been able to

:34:09.:34:15.

see a picture of the Speaker. Maxwell famously half inched the

:34:15.:34:20.

wind from the House of Commons cellar. There are things the

:34:20.:34:29.

general public would be amazed at about. Portcullis House has a

:34:29.:34:35.

portrait of almost every third-rate politician. We may joke about the

:34:35.:34:40.

Speaker but one thing he is really doing is holding this executive to

:34:40.:34:44.

account. In this interview he said he made George Osborne answer

:34:44.:34:49.

questions for three hours because he was so angry with him for the

:34:49.:34:52.

way the Autumn Statement had been leaked out before. The excepted do

:34:52.:34:56.

not like it because he is making them be held to account. If anyone

:34:56.:35:00.

is interested in several fig trees, I would get your bid in now because

:35:00.:35:04.

I have a sense they will not be there for much longer. No one has

:35:04.:35:09.

any record of them producing figures but that is another matter.

:35:09.:35:12.

They have been lots of things happening this week but the only

:35:12.:35:15.

things MPs have been talking about is the rest of the MP for Falkirk,

:35:15.:35:19.

Eric Joyce, who is alleged to have started a bit of a fracas in House

:35:20.:35:26.

of Commons bar on Wednesday night. That is what happens when you

:35:26.:35:29.

subsidise cheap drink. You are watching pictures of Mr Joyce

:35:29.:35:32.

leading central London police station in a car late last night.

:35:32.:35:37.

He was charged in the end. No doubt our guests would like to talk about

:35:37.:35:41.

the alleged incident but first, let's take a look back over the

:35:41.:35:46.

last seven days of proper politics. Here is Max with the Week in 60

:35:46.:35:53.

Seconds. The week began badly for Andrew

:35:53.:36:02.

Lansley. Date you dare lie to me! Another battle, this one between

:36:02.:36:07.

the men who resigned for personal reasons as Liam Fox and David Laws

:36:07.:36:11.

disagreed about whether the low- paid or business should be the

:36:11.:36:15.

beneficiary of the Chancellor's largesse at next month's budget.

:36:15.:36:20.

Professor Les Ebdon is the new man charged with trying to make higher

:36:20.:36:24.

tuition fees at universities fairer. His appointment is seen as one up

:36:24.:36:29.

for the Lib Dems. RBS announced that it lost a

:36:29.:36:33.

further �2 billion last year. As yet, the money has not been found.

:36:33.:36:37.

Big losses in a very strange way are a sign of success.

:36:37.:36:42.

And finally, a girl from West Norwood with a lovely voice caught

:36:42.:36:46.

the attention of an ancient willow read baronet from Ealing. I shared

:36:46.:36:50.

her disappointment that her speech was cut short by what she called

:36:50.:36:58.

the suits. Now, he has been charged so my

:36:58.:37:02.

learned friends are telling me to be careful what we say but no one

:37:02.:37:07.

is talking about anything except Eric Joyce. They have been over the

:37:07.:37:12.

years plenty of fracas in the Strangers' Bar which is normally

:37:12.:37:22.

fairly quiet but this is something which by all accounts was a truly

:37:22.:37:26.

spectacular outburst. Five policemen carted him away. The

:37:26.:37:36.
:37:36.:37:36.

broken windows. It is a magnificent mess. It is interesting that

:37:36.:37:40.

Parliament has really changed with the sitting hours. In the old days

:37:40.:37:44.

it would not start until after lunch and it would be going until

:37:44.:37:48.

10 o'clock at night and there would be votes and people would be

:37:48.:37:51.

drinking late at night. That has changed since parliament started

:37:51.:37:55.

sitting earlier. This has gone back to an era we thought we had moved

:37:55.:38:00.

on from. Eric Joyce is a decent man. I suspect he has got a problem and

:38:00.:38:05.

we should not really be... I think it is a very sad story. Lots of

:38:05.:38:09.

people get these sorts of problems. I'm not going to mention names, we

:38:09.:38:15.

know who they are but I think he needs help rather than... I agree.

:38:15.:38:19.

For Westminster is hopeless at noticing this. Indeed, it looks the

:38:19.:38:23.

other way and offers you another drink. Quite right.

:38:23.:38:27.

Andrew Lansley and the health reform, Peter, does the health

:38:27.:38:31.

reform get through in the end. It is back in the Lords where it seems

:38:31.:38:36.

to be ravaged by guerrilla warfare at every turn. Does it get through

:38:36.:38:39.

in the end bruised and battered and does Mr Lansley get through bruised

:38:39.:38:46.

and battered as well? I thinks so. At the end of the day, you can look

:38:46.:38:49.

at Andrew Lansley and I think he is a well-meaning man and I think he

:38:49.:38:53.

passionately cares for the health service. I think a lot of

:38:53.:38:56.

opposition comes from vested interests. The BMA is a vested

:38:56.:39:02.

interest of the worst kind. It opposed the original formation of

:39:02.:39:07.

the health service. I think Mr Lansley may well win three. His

:39:07.:39:11.

reforms are supported by the Labour Party. The Labour Party is

:39:11.:39:14.

opportunistically causing mischief but basically it supports bringing

:39:14.:39:18.

markets into the health service. You get the feeling that a lot of

:39:18.:39:22.

Tories, whatever their views on the reforms of health think we have got

:39:22.:39:27.

welfare to reform, education reform, deficit to cut, I wish we had never

:39:27.:39:33.

been down this road? Yes, they have mixed emotions. They are annoyed

:39:33.:39:36.

with the Liberal Democrats who signed up to the Bill eight days

:39:36.:39:41.

before it had its final reading. Nick Clegg described it as a fusion

:39:41.:39:44.

of Liberal Democrat and Conservative thinking. But on the

:39:44.:39:48.

other hand they are worried that if this Bill does become an Act of

:39:48.:39:51.

Parliament, three years before the general election, every single

:39:51.:39:54.

problem which happens in the NHS, and there will be problems because

:39:54.:39:58.

of the inevitable squeeze on spending and the ageing population,

:39:58.:40:03.

with every problem, Labour will say I know what caused that, this bill.

:40:03.:40:10.

It is the Greens' spring conference. They are in Liverpool. The Deputy

:40:10.:40:13.

Leader Adrian Ramsay joins us now. Welcome to the Daily Politics.

:40:13.:40:18.

Thank you for joining us from our BBC offices up there. You must be

:40:18.:40:22.

very enthusiastic about the Government's economic policy. You

:40:22.:40:25.

do not believe in economic growth and that is precisely what the

:40:25.:40:29.

Government has achieved, no economic growth. You're at one with

:40:29.:40:34.

Mr Osborne? Far from it. The Government's policies are

:40:34.:40:37.

increasing the gap between rich and poor and what the Green Party is

:40:37.:40:40.

saying is we can and must be protecting the services that

:40:40.:40:45.

vulnerable people rely on. There is a �2 billion a year that we could

:40:45.:40:48.

be getting in if we clamp down on corporate tax avoidance, make

:40:48.:40:52.

people pay the taxes that I do and that is about the same amount of

:40:52.:40:55.

money that was taken out of public services in the deficit reduction

:40:55.:40:59.

last year. The Green Party is alone in politics in saying there is a

:40:59.:41:02.

different approach from the one the Government is taking in slashing

:41:02.:41:08.

and burning things. You say you want to allow negative growth to be

:41:08.:41:12.

feasible. Your leader, I'm not sure you call her the leader, Caroline

:41:12.:41:17.

Lucas has said economic growth is becoming an economic, you do not

:41:17.:41:21.

believe in growing our economy, do you? We are making a very serious

:41:21.:41:26.

point about how you measure success in the economy. If you make it

:41:26.:41:29.

clearly based on GDP, you're treating all economic activity as

:41:29.:41:34.

the same, whereas some like building a school a good, other

:41:34.:41:38.

economic activity like clearing up after a car crash is bad. Lots of

:41:39.:41:42.

economists are saying we need a far greater range of measures to see if

:41:42.:41:46.

our economy is successful. A far more sophisticated approach which

:41:46.:41:50.

looks at the level of inequality in our society, the impact of the

:41:50.:41:54.

Environment on health and well- being. Even David Cameron said he

:41:54.:41:57.

things well-being should be a measure of economic success. My

:41:57.:42:01.

question is what is the Government doing in taking on board advice to

:42:01.:42:05.

make that happen in practice. Their policy on cutting public services

:42:05.:42:08.

and building over the green belt and destroying public spaces is

:42:08.:42:13.

taking us in the wrong direction. Your policy statement also says

:42:13.:42:18.

there must be an optimum population for the UK, what is an optimum

:42:18.:42:23.

population? What we need to do is make sure that all our policies are

:42:23.:42:27.

about living in harmony with the planet and we need to have a debate

:42:27.:42:32.

about population levels and lots of respect. But what should be, what

:42:32.:42:37.

is an optimum population as I don't have those figures to hand myself.

:42:37.:42:41.

But your party policy says you need one and it must be introduced to

:42:41.:42:47.

the UK so what is it? It is one of the factors about living within the

:42:47.:42:52.

sustainable means of the planet. What is it? I cannot tell you of

:42:52.:42:56.

the top of my head. We need to make it easier Thrupp whole world, it is

:42:56.:43:01.

not just about population within the UK, but it is about the whole

:43:01.:43:05.

world. We need to make sure we are promoting birth control and women's

:43:05.:43:08.

writes in developing countries, we need to make sure we are reducing

:43:08.:43:12.

the gap between rich and poor globally, getting the food to where

:43:12.:43:15.

it needs to be, rather than countries exporting foods which

:43:15.:43:18.

they cannot afford to buy themselves, that we are taking

:43:18.:43:23.

seriously the fact that we need to feed the world. We need a very

:43:23.:43:27.

different economic policy if we are to do that. Thank you. Enjoy

:43:27.:43:30.

yourself in Liverpool. You may or may not know that the

:43:30.:43:34.

Tories are holding an away day today. I'm sure you did not know,

:43:34.:43:40.

why would you care? In leafy and I emphasise the word leafy,

:43:40.:43:44.

Portcullis House. Yes, that is right! The one with the expensive

:43:44.:43:51.

trees in it. Last night, they all went out for dinner, 300 of them.

:43:51.:43:56.

The mind boggles. 300 Tories at dinner in the same place. One of

:43:56.:44:01.

the MPs we spoke to could not remember where the dinner was held

:44:01.:44:06.

but he thought it was over the river and good fun. We tried to get

:44:06.:44:11.

hold of today's agenda but to no avail. We have made up our own.

:44:12.:44:16.

First, how to achieve the biggest U-turn since the poll tax and ditch

:44:16.:44:19.

the health bill. Next, how to make the Chancellor

:44:19.:44:24.

George Osborne a real Tory hero and deliver tax cuts in the Budget.

:44:24.:44:28.

And then be pressing question which always gets them going, should they

:44:28.:44:31.

be nice or nasty to our European neighbours.

:44:31.:44:36.

And then be difficult one, working out whether Nick Clegg is a goody

:44:36.:44:40.

or rave baddie. To answer all of these and more

:44:40.:44:44.

systemic questions, I'm joined by the Conservative MPs Matt Hancock

:44:44.:44:49.

and Peter Bone. Welcome to both of you. I remember you used to go away

:44:49.:44:54.

on away-days. Was it good for you? Was a lot of group hugs and paint

:44:54.:45:02.

balling? No. No group hubs but self deprecating humour was the key to

:45:02.:45:11.

it all -- group hugs. We talk about our coalition partners as well. In

:45:11.:45:15.

the sporting language that stop was there a lot of agreement in the

:45:15.:45:21.

wigwam of trust? It was the Portcullis House of trust today.

:45:22.:45:27.

What did you discuss? We are not going to go into what was in a

:45:27.:45:31.

private meeting but it was a bigger picture than the one you mentioned.

:45:32.:45:36.

It is about showing Conservative values in action. For instance, how

:45:36.:45:42.

to tackle Labour's something for nothing culture which a lot of our

:45:42.:45:48.

politics -- policies are aimed at. Why do need an awayday if you are

:45:48.:45:52.

doing that? We have got to come together from time to time. I'm

:45:52.:46:02.
:46:02.:46:03.

sure you do it at the BBC. I tried Did you get an answer as to whether

:46:03.:46:07.

Nick Clegg is a goodie or a bad day? It came up, but I am not sure

:46:07.:46:12.

what the consensus of opinion was. What is your opinion? You know that

:46:12.:46:19.

I think the coalition is there for a purpose. But Nick Clegg?

:46:19.:46:22.

coalition should be got rid of. Nick Clegg has been brave in

:46:22.:46:29.

leading his party to oblivion. These two are telling us nothing.

:46:29.:46:35.

They are not telling us a lot, but I understand their predicament. The

:46:35.:46:40.

BBC is every bit as given to these self surging... I have never been

:46:40.:46:47.

to one. The Conservatives have made real progress. 15 years ago, when

:46:48.:46:51.

there was a Conservative awayday, it would be at an ancient Hotel in

:46:51.:46:54.

Eastbourne. And they would all be lined up in their embarrassing

:46:54.:46:59.

woollies. Look at Peter and Matt, beautifully turned out. The only

:46:59.:47:06.

person with a woolly is Peter. But where is Mrs Bone? The government

:47:06.:47:11.

is telling us that she is more on- message than you these days.

:47:11.:47:16.

was there in spirit. Last night, that was probably the view of our

:47:16.:47:21.

host, that Mrs Bone was more on- message than I sometimes am. What

:47:21.:47:25.

was the consensus on the Health Bill and Mr Langley? There is

:47:25.:47:31.

strong backing. There is strong backing for getting this bill

:47:31.:47:37.

through, because it will improve outcomes for patients and put power

:47:37.:47:44.

in the hands of doctors. By you have not convinced anybody. This is

:47:44.:47:52.

why there was strong support... We have strong support to get this

:47:52.:47:56.

bill through. But when you fought the election, the polls showed that

:47:56.:48:01.

on a matter of who you could trust with the NHS, you were on even

:48:01.:48:05.

Stevens with Labour. At one stage, you were even ahead. Now you are

:48:05.:48:09.

back to your historic gap. People trust Labour much more than the

:48:09.:48:12.

Conservatives on this, because of these reforms. Didn't you talk

:48:13.:48:19.

about that? The biggest cheer of the night and the most applause was

:48:19.:48:24.

for Andrew Lansley. But that was a sympathy gear. No, it wasn't. When

:48:24.:48:28.

you are trying to reform a state monopoly, you will get interested

:48:29.:48:33.

groups opposing it. It is clear that we are doing something in the

:48:33.:48:37.

interest of the patients. It is unpopular, so the idea that we just

:48:37.:48:41.

do popular things is nonsense. Didn't the three Cabinet ministers

:48:41.:48:46.

who had briefed Conservative home with their reservations, didn't

:48:46.:48:50.

they speak up? Or almost all of the Cabinet were there, and there was

:48:50.:48:58.

strong support. Andy polling is not conclusive on this. What matters is

:48:58.:49:01.

improving the health service, getting rid of a lot of the waste.

:49:01.:49:06.

It is conclusive that you have lost the trust of the people on the

:49:06.:49:10.

health service. If you want to look at polling, you should look at all

:49:10.:49:16.

polling. There are poles that say, or would you trust Labour any more?

:49:16.:49:19.

And they are level pegging. More importantly, it is about whether we

:49:19.:49:25.

are improving the NHS so that it is free at the point of use, and

:49:25.:49:29.

available to everybody. Can you give us any indication as a result

:49:29.:49:39.
:49:39.:49:40.

of this awayday, which seems to just be an excuse for a dinner...

:49:40.:49:45.

Of a new direction you might be taking? Was there any concern

:49:45.:49:48.

expressed that the Prime Minister or the Chancellor listened too much

:49:49.:49:52.

to the Lib Dems and not enough to the people at this awayday? Are I

:49:52.:50:01.

do not think that was brought up. Why not? It is what you think.

:50:01.:50:04.

my table seemed to be an awful long way from where the Prime Minister

:50:04.:50:10.

was sitting. I wonder why. No idea. But we were talking about running

:50:10.:50:13.

the country, not the Liberals, because they are irrelevant.

:50:13.:50:20.

would not be in government without them. He said there was lots of

:50:20.:50:26.

talk about the Lib Dems. You should get your story straight. I did not

:50:26.:50:30.

say there was much talk about them. Maybe you should spend more time

:50:30.:50:35.

within the wigwam of trust. broader point is that the Liberal

:50:35.:50:39.

Democrats support the Government in doing what needs to be done in the

:50:39.:50:44.

national interest. A party believing in the national interest

:50:44.:50:52.

- it will never catch on. I think it was a waste of time. I suspect

:50:52.:50:56.

that there is a divide in the leadership between Cameron in

:50:56.:51:03.

particular and his troops. They feel neglected. But the love here

:51:03.:51:08.

between Peter and Matt does show that the mood is much less scratchy

:51:08.:51:12.

than at the end of last year, when there was real anger over the

:51:12.:51:18.

Europe vote. People like Peter were delighted when David Cameron will

:51:18.:51:22.

do that veto. That was the biggest cheer, actually. When it was

:51:22.:51:27.

mentioned about the veto, that was the biggest cheer of the awayday.

:51:27.:51:32.

Everybody in the room cheered the Prime Minister. The veto that he

:51:32.:51:42.

then reneged on? He then said yes. No, he didn't. Well, it allows me

:51:42.:51:46.

to say goodbye to itchy and scratchy. I have never been called

:51:46.:51:50.

Scratchy. I have called you It chief.

:51:50.:51:53.

Now for the most difficult question of the day other than which one is

:51:53.:52:03.
:52:03.:52:03.

itchy and scratchy. Can any of you pronounce this? Neither can I. I

:52:03.:52:08.

can, but I am not trying it live on air. But I know a man who can.

:52:08.:52:12.

requirement not to be rude about judges only applies to judges in

:52:12.:52:16.

this country. It does not apply to judges in the European Union. So

:52:16.:52:21.

let me be rude about them. Let me indulge in the

:52:21.:52:23.

floccinaucinihilipilification of judges of the European Union. Let

:52:23.:52:28.

me quote from the Book of Amos about judges of the European Union.

:52:28.:52:32.

We know their manifold transgressions and our mighty sins.

:52:32.:52:36.

They afflict the just, they take a bribe, they turn aside the poor at

:52:36.:52:40.

the gate from their right. These are the judges of the European

:52:40.:52:44.

Union. Her Majesty's government is right to stand up to them. They do

:52:44.:52:48.

not deserve their money and it is iniquitous that they have allowed

:52:48.:52:51.

themselves to be judges in their own cause. It is a breach of

:52:51.:52:56.

justice and ought to be criminal. come Rees-Mogg in the House of

:52:56.:52:59.

Commons. That is the longest ever entry in Hansard, that word. For

:52:59.:53:04.

those of you who have no idea what Hansard is, here is Quentin Letts

:53:04.:53:12.

without to Z of Parliament. -- our to Z of Parliament.

:53:12.:53:17.

The letter H is for Hansard, available at 7:30am every day. This

:53:18.:53:22.

publication records what is said in the Houses of Parliament by our

:53:22.:53:26.

legislators. Parliamentary reporting only goes back to

:53:26.:53:31.

Napoleonic times, when William Cobbett, that terrific journalist,

:53:31.:53:34.

decided it was an outrage that the people did not know what went on in

:53:34.:53:40.

Parliament. He produced glorified histories of law-making in the

:53:40.:53:46.

British Isles. In 1811, he sold his interest to Thomas Curzon Hansard,

:53:46.:53:50.

son of the printer who served the House of Commons. Slowly, you get

:53:50.:53:55.

the arrival of verbatim reporting in the House of Commons. The people,

:53:55.:54:01.

at last, could find out how the laws were being reached at. Here we

:54:01.:54:05.

are in the parliamentary archives act room, with all the ancient

:54:05.:54:13.

statutes stacked up. This is vellum, animal skins. But if these are

:54:13.:54:18.

impressive, what about this? The Daily Hansard. Thousands of words,

:54:18.:54:23.

ensuring that we have an accurate verbatim report of what our

:54:23.:54:30.

legislators say. A pretty good. MPs have the ability to tidy up a bit

:54:30.:54:34.

of what they say. Some of their hesitations get taken out. On

:54:34.:54:38.

Prescott's words used to be given major surgery by Hansard. It does

:54:38.:54:42.

not always capture the full atmosphere of the House of Commons.

:54:42.:54:45.

When there is terrible raucous laughter, it just says laughter.

:54:45.:54:51.

When people are heckling, you just get "interruption". But this daily

:54:51.:54:55.

publication catches the arguments that are used in Parliament to

:54:55.:55:00.

produce these laws. It also catches ministers' answers. They can't

:55:00.:55:05.

wriggle off the hook after this. Hansard employs dozens of reporters

:55:05.:55:09.

and sub-editors with brilliant shorthand skills. You ought to see

:55:09.:55:13.

their fingers flying across the stenographer keyboards. They turn

:55:13.:55:18.

this thing around in record time. It is now online, too. At a time in

:55:18.:55:23.

our history when journalism has a slightly spotty reputation, the

:55:23.:55:32.

people from Hansard are keeping the side up. Well played, lads.

:55:32.:55:42.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is with us now. What does this would mean?

:55:42.:55:47.

habit of estimating that something is worthless. What was the word,

:55:47.:55:52.

remind me? Give me the Latin derivation -- the Latin derivation.

:55:52.:55:57.

I can't, not of hand. I don't always have to give the etymology

:55:57.:56:05.

of every word I use. It comes from a word meaning a piece of wall and

:56:05.:56:11.

a trifle and another word meaning nothing and another word meaning

:56:11.:56:17.

something insignificant. Everyone knows that. I could not give a

:56:17.:56:24.

straw. That is the literal interpretation. Why did you not use

:56:24.:56:29.

a small a word? I did not think of it. Floccinaucinihilipilification

:56:29.:56:33.

came to mind, as it does from time to time. But it often come to your

:56:33.:56:37.

mind? It is one of those words I have known since I was a schoolboy.

:56:37.:56:43.

When it comes to your mind, is their room for anything else?

:56:43.:56:48.

particularly pointing out that we wanted to indulge in the

:56:48.:56:50.

floccinaucinihilipilification of the European Court of Justice,

:56:50.:56:57.

which is the key point. The ECJ ruled to their own benefit that the

:56:57.:57:02.

pay rises of European officials had to go through, and that included

:57:02.:57:06.

their own pay. This is against one of the most important principles of

:57:06.:57:11.

justice that you should not be a judge in your own cause. Thankfully,

:57:11.:57:17.

using this odd word has got some attention to that tremendously

:57:17.:57:24.

important point of corruption in the law courts of Europe. You have

:57:24.:57:29.

made that point. The Big Issue I want to know - did the Hansard

:57:29.:57:33.

people have to ask you to spell it? No. And Saab are fantastic, as

:57:33.:57:38.

Quentin Letts was saying. They improve my speech. They take out

:57:38.:57:43.

the um-ing and ah-ing and make what one said make better sense.

:57:43.:57:48.

spoke at this Tory dinner last night. I did. It was just on the

:57:48.:57:54.

other side of Lambeth Bridge. Whereabouts? On the other side. The

:57:54.:58:00.

Plaza Hotel. You spoke as a new MP. What was your message? My message

:58:00.:58:03.

was that the Conservatives are wonderful and the Liberals are not

:58:03.:58:07.

as good. So it was controversial with the audience. It was a hard-

:58:07.:58:12.

hitting message. Do you expect promotion afterwards? I do not

:58:12.:58:16.

think so. Why aren't you in the government? Because I am a

:58:16.:58:23.

backbencher. I love representing the county of Somerset. How many

:58:23.:58:27.

more letters does your favourite word have an

:58:27.:58:37.

antidisestablishmentarianism? 1. Correct. He is good. I do not want

:58:37.:58:45.

to show off. We have now run out of time. We have used such big words.

:58:45.:58:49.

Andrew Neil is joined in the studio by Nick Watt of the Guardian and Peter Oborne of the Daily Telegraph.

Bob Stewart MP and Dr Mousab Azzawi of the Syrian Network for Human Rights discuss Syria; Conservative MPs Matthew Hancock and Peter Bone talk about the Conservative 'away-day'; and Adrian Ramsay, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, talks live from their spring conference in Liverpool.

Plus, former Government Chief Scientist Sir David King talks about GM foods, and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP explains how he managed to use the longest word in the dictionary in Parliament.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS