27/02/2012 Daily Politics


27/02/2012

Political magazine. Jo Coburn interviews Eric Pickles about council tax, and discusses Lords reform and the Health Bill with Lord Winston, Lord Forsyth and Baroness Jolly.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 27/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Put down that Oscar,

0:00:320:00:35

Meryl, and pay attention please, to the real cut and thrust of

0:00:350:00:38

Westminster politics. There is more trouble for the Government in the

0:00:380:00:42

House of Lords over plans to reform the NHS. And now the Royal College

0:00:420:00:47

of Surgeons is reconsidering its support for too. How many local

0:00:470:00:49

authorities will defy the Government and raise council tax?

0:00:490:00:54

And what - if any - punishment might await those which do? George

0:00:550:00:58

Osborne comes out fighting against those who want him to spend money

0:00:580:01:00

promoting growth in next month's budget. Britain's run out of money,

0:01:000:01:05

he says! And, if your political career goes off the rails, how

0:01:050:01:14

should you best go about organising All that in the next hour. And

0:01:140:01:17

braving the slings and arrows of political fortune, with us this

0:01:170:01:27
0:01:270:01:34

Monday is the former minister for deregulation, Neil Hamilton. Best

0:01:340:01:37

known for the whole Cash for Honours saga, he is now back in

0:01:370:01:40

politics with the UK Independence Party. So, if you have any thoughts

0:01:400:01:43

or comments on anything we are discussing, then you can tweet your

0:01:430:01:46

comments. But first, the German parliament will vote today on

0:01:460:01:49

whether to approve the second bail- out for Greece, which was agreed

0:01:490:01:51

last week by eurozone finance ministers. There are some critics

0:01:510:01:54

of the deal in Chancellor Merkel's own ruling coalition. However, she

0:01:540:01:57

is expected to get the votes she needs with opposition support. The

0:01:570:02:00

German parliament will decide whether to approve the 130 billion

0:02:000:02:02

euro rescue package agreed last week. But one of Chancellor

0:02:020:02:04

Merkel's own ministers has suggested today that Greece's

0:02:040:02:06

chances of regenerating and becoming competitive are definitely

0:02:060:02:12

greater outside the eurozone than in. And here, George Osborne has

0:02:120:02:15

warned that we have run out of money and that any tax cuts would

0:02:150:02:19

have to be paid for. There has been speculation on whether the

0:02:190:02:21

Chancellor will help low earners by raising the personal allowance for

0:02:210:02:25

income tax. And it looks unlikely that motorists will get any extra

0:02:250:02:28

help, the Chancellor says he has already taken action to cancel

0:02:280:02:33

planned fuel duty increases. Let's get more on this with Stephen Evans,

0:02:330:02:42

who is in Berlin. The Germans may not like it. It looks as though

0:02:420:02:49

they will vote through the second bail out for Greece. Chancellor

0:02:490:02:53

Merkel will gets the vote so she needs from the opposition parties.

0:02:530:02:59

They met on Friday and said they would do the deed. The doubters but

0:02:590:03:03

in her own party will be outnumbered, no matter how many of

0:03:040:03:10

them there are. You cannot deny that there is rising scepticism

0:03:100:03:16

about the whole thing. The Finance Minister wrote to Members of

0:03:160:03:19

Parliament over the weekend, basically saying there is no

0:03:190:03:27

guarantee that this will work. That is a change of stance. If you look

0:03:270:03:34

at this newspaper, it is saying pay-day for Greece, billions full

0:03:340:03:39

Greece. Halt! It has thrown its weight behind the sceptics. If you

0:03:390:03:44

are a politician, you will take note. If they're going to go ahead

0:03:440:03:49

with this, it sounds as though the Germans will need to swallow it.

0:03:490:03:55

Them is a hint there could be more money down the line for Greece. --

0:03:550:04:00

there is a hint. The Finance Minister is saying, do not think

0:04:000:04:04

this is the end was that the tone in the past has always been, we do

0:04:040:04:11

this deal and that we seek light at the end of the time off. The 10

0:04:110:04:17

this time is, of the alternatives are worse. We want you to go for it.

0:04:170:04:22

It is not the end of the matter and we do not guarantee success. The

0:04:220:04:26

bigger question beyond this vote is whether the Germans agreed to

0:04:260:04:34

increase the size of the bail out fund. There was the G20 over the

0:04:340:04:37

weekend basically saying the Europeans have to put more into

0:04:370:04:44

their own bail out fund. The implications are that the IMF, for

0:04:440:04:48

example, where Britain could have the say, with then think about

0:04:480:04:52

putting in more money themselves but the Europeans with need to do

0:04:520:04:57

their bit first. That is the next battle and we wait to hear what is

0:04:570:05:06

happening with that. With us now is Neil Hamilton and Chris Lesley. I

0:05:060:05:14

must correct what I said before, cash or on a Skype it was Cash for

0:05:140:05:24
0:05:240:05:26

Questions. This boat may well go through. -- for on us. I think it

0:05:260:05:30

could have serious consequences with default. The current option is

0:05:300:05:34

not that much better in terms of austerity being piled upon Greece

0:05:340:05:38

and the tensions it is stoking up. Ultimately we need to make sure

0:05:380:05:42

that markets have confidence in the eurozone and eurozone countries

0:05:420:05:47

need to dip into their own pockets and put up a firewall of sufficient

0:05:470:05:53

size - a bail out fund that will do the job. The Labour Party has been

0:05:530:05:57

saying this for nine months. The Chancellor is beginning to change

0:05:570:06:00

his mind to say the eurozone countries had to dip into their

0:06:000:06:04

pockets first before coming to the rest of the world. Before we come

0:06:040:06:09

to that, at the Hampton, do you think now would be better for

0:06:090:06:19
0:06:190:06:19

Greece to default and and nine months' time - as Macro -- Neil

0:06:190:06:24

Hamilton, do you think now would be better able greased to default than

0:06:240:06:30

in nine months' time? Definitely. It is an enormous bankruptcy

0:06:300:06:36

machine. The Greek people are being sacrificed on the vanity of

0:06:360:06:42

politicians. Unemployment is 20%. The Greek economy contracted by 6%

0:06:420:06:48

last year. This is worse than anything that has happened in this

0:06:480:06:52

country during the Great Depression. People are not really worried about

0:06:520:06:59

what happens to the Greeks. It is about protecting eurozone itself.

0:06:590:07:04

Thinking this is better for them and having as a disorderly default.

0:07:040:07:09

They should care about social consequences. The difficulty is you

0:07:090:07:13

could be out of the frying pan and into the fire. There is a debate

0:07:130:07:18

about whether they should have joined the euro in the first place.

0:07:180:07:27

We are where we are. They cannot grow in their economy inside the

0:07:270:07:33

eurozone. I totally agree with Neil Hamilton on mess. How outrageous we

0:07:330:07:37

have not had the leadership from those heads of government across

0:07:370:07:43

the eurozone, and also from the British government as well! Pretty

0:07:430:07:47

much everyone has accepted inside and outside of Greece that with

0:07:470:07:53

that level of austerity and that level of pain there can never be

0:07:530:07:56

growth. There is knackery danger that if you have a strategy for

0:07:560:08:03

solving the problem that you will end up with the problem Goering on

0:08:030:08:09

and on. There are steps that can be taken to stimulate growth. We have

0:08:090:08:13

a series of right-wing governments across the eurozone who take the

0:08:130:08:17

view of George Osborne that there is nothing governments can do to

0:08:170:08:22

stimulate growth. You cannot stimulate growth by recycling the

0:08:220:08:28

tax payers money. That is completely nonsensical. Greece

0:08:290:08:34

cannot get out of its current problems by -- without having a

0:08:340:08:44
0:08:440:08:45

lower value currency. The biggest export earners are tourism and

0:08:450:08:48

shipbuilders. There is one potential problem, if it did

0:08:480:08:52

default, there would be the worry of contagion. The firewall has not

0:08:520:09:00

been set up perversely enough and we have not agreed a figure. --

0:09:000:09:05

robustly. Without that, Portuguese and Italian debt could be driven.

0:09:060:09:10

We are not bailing out the Greeks, we are bailing out the French and

0:09:100:09:16

German banks. The Greek people are having to pay the interest on those

0:09:160:09:23

bombs for the foreseeable future, this time to the European tax payer.

0:09:230:09:30

-- bonds. My view is that a lot of pressure should have been put on,

0:09:300:09:36

particularly Germany, but it was not. We needed diplomatic pressure

0:09:360:09:43

to have been stronger. Is that enough for the European mechanism?

0:09:430:09:50

This is what they are discussing. I think there are some queries about

0:09:500:09:56

this. I do not think the Chancellor is out of the words. They could be

0:09:560:10:03

going back and back again. They need the bail out for and -- a bail

0:10:030:10:10

out fund that is more robust. If they think the IMF will come in and

0:10:100:10:14

do the bailing out process, the Americans are right in saying, let

0:10:140:10:18

those wealthy nations dip into their pockets first before coming

0:10:180:10:23

to other countries, like the UK, to do the bailing out job. That is the

0:10:230:10:28

message we have to send. European Central Bank is not the

0:10:280:10:33

lender of last resort. The German tax payer was not prepared to be

0:10:330:10:36

put on the hook for the consequences of that decision. They

0:10:360:10:42

are printing money from nowhere. It is a fast quantitative easing

0:10:420:10:46

programme. The money you are talking about is not money that is

0:10:460:10:51

being lent to the European Central Bank, they are pressing a computer

0:10:510:10:56

key and creating it. There will be huge hyperinflation and that is

0:10:560:11:02

what wants to be avoided. There is huge pressure from Britain. Should

0:11:020:11:06

we contribute more? I think it is time for the eurozone countries to

0:11:060:11:10

dig into their pockets first. The Prime Minister called Bass

0:11:110:11:15

breathtakingly irresponsible for taking that view. The Chancellor

0:11:150:11:22

has come round to active. Not a penny more from the British tax

0:11:220:11:29

payer to pour into this bottomless pit! What you pour in today, it

0:11:290:11:33

will not do what it said it would and they will be back for more in a

0:11:330:11:41

few months' time. You may not have noticed that it is freezing in most

0:11:410:11:44

parts of England. No, not the weather. We are talking about the

0:11:440:11:47

council tax. This is the second year that the Government has given

0:11:470:11:50

local authorities money so that they won't put up bills. But is the

0:11:500:11:54

freeze all that it seems? We sent Adam out during the recent bout of

0:11:540:11:57

wintry weather to investigate. At times, this winter has been pretty

0:11:570:12:01

chilly in West Sussex. It is not just the landscape that has been

0:12:010:12:06

frozen, so has the council tax. is funded by central government who

0:12:060:12:12

are offering the Government to grant -- local government a grant.

0:12:130:12:17

It will vary across the country. For families in West Sussex in an

0:12:170:12:24

average property, they will save about �34 a year, 65p a week. John

0:12:240:12:30

makes a living from freezing things. He is an ice sculptor. Like a lot

0:12:300:12:37

of locals, he is glad that, at last, there is one Bill that is not

0:12:370:12:43

increasing. The cost of heating, electric, stuff like that, is going

0:12:430:12:49

up. It will give us a break, albeit for a short period. No one can

0:12:490:12:55

complain about that. Not all local authorities are as welcoming of the

0:12:550:13:00

idea as West Sussex. I am now in Surrey, where they are not taking

0:13:000:13:05

the Government's money and council tax bills are going up. The council

0:13:050:13:11

here is fighting the freeze with a planned tax rise of 2.9%. The

0:13:110:13:14

county's Conservative leader is doing it because the Government

0:13:140:13:20

handout only lasts for one year. you take the council tax grant this

0:13:200:13:27

year off the Government, you still will be down 2.5% next it in your

0:13:270:13:31

budget. That is the question everyone needs to address. If you

0:13:310:13:35

had gone for a council tax freeze the ship, how much would you have

0:13:350:13:45
0:13:450:13:46

had to have put it up next year? -- this year. Probably about 5%.

0:13:460:13:50

local of authorities had decided what they are doing. At least 20 up

0:13:510:13:55

going the way of Surrey. A few, mainly Labour-controlled and

0:13:550:14:02

Brighton, are opting for increases of 3.5%. So far, none have gone

0:14:020:14:08

beyond that. Otherwise there would have to hold a local referendum. A

0:14:080:14:13

new law designed by the Government which will have an effect on town

0:14:130:14:18

halls as they decide to freeze or not. With me now is the Communities

0:14:180:14:27

Secretary, Eric Pickles. He is the proud owner of a Daily Politics mug.

0:14:270:14:32

How many councils in England are planning to increase council tax?

0:14:330:14:39

tiny number. Do you know how many? We will not know until 12th March.

0:14:390:14:46

So far we have over 300 who are going to freeze it. There are eight

0:14:460:14:52

he will reduce it. That is pretty high for this time of year. I would

0:14:520:14:59

anticipate, in terms of local authorities, it could be near 90%.

0:14:590:15:04

All the councils have not officially declared. That is a

0:15:040:15:11

significant number. Your report said brighten, Taunton Deane has

0:15:110:15:17

not and Scarborough has not. They are in the figures. It is a mix

0:15:170:15:23

politically. These are councils of all shades who could resist. About

0:15:230:15:28

three or four are Conservative but the majority are Labour. It is

0:15:280:15:35

strange. If I was a resident of Surrey, I would say a, why have you

0:15:350:15:41

turn down just short of �40 million in government grants? Instead of

0:15:410:15:48

that you're going to take �16.5 million away from me. That seems a

0:15:480:15:52

logical. The point that was made in the thumb, the council's who want

0:15:520:15:58

to increase, they do not know if they are going to provide the same

0:15:580:16:04

level of funding, they will have to increase by 6%. That is the

0:16:040:16:08

economics of the madhouse. If you are going to give councils the

0:16:080:16:13

equivalent of a 2.5% rise and you were to Dublin next year, it would

0:16:130:16:19

be around 5%. We're changing the way that local government is

0:16:190:16:24

financed. We're changing the process of the business rate next

0:16:240:16:29

year. It is theoretically possible that Surrey maybe in a worse

0:16:290:16:34

position because they have raised the council tax this year. That is

0:16:340:16:39

why most councils have taken the sensible course been taking money

0:16:390:16:42

from the Government in recognition that things are a little bit

0:16:420:16:49

difficult for families, let's show some slop -- solidarity. What about

0:16:490:16:54

localism? Local areas should decide what to do. You are dictating to

0:16:540:17:02

local governments telling them what I am not forcing them to freeze

0:17:020:17:10

their council tax! You have been pretty heavy about it! I am robust!

0:17:100:17:14

Surrey will be putting up their council tax and a number of Labour

0:17:140:17:19

authorities. I am taking no sanctions against them. It is

0:17:190:17:23

interesting. They have stood up for localism but they haven't taken the

0:17:230:17:28

ultimate test, to increase it a bit more and take it to the electorate.

0:17:280:17:36

If they have a good case, take it to the electorate. A politician

0:17:360:17:40

should never be frightened of the public and. Eric has been admirably

0:17:400:17:44

robust about this and has been protecting the interests of local

0:17:440:17:50

taxpayers. But he cannot because a proportion of councils will rebel.

0:17:500:17:55

And they are idiots for doing so. The idea that businesses of these

0:17:550:18:01

sizes cannot make 3% economies in 12 months is ridiculous. Non-jobs

0:18:010:18:07

are still being advertised for by its various councils, a senior

0:18:070:18:10

travel awareness officer for Enfield Council to tell people to

0:18:100:18:15

walk more often and use their bicycle, and Camden is looking for

0:18:150:18:19

someone �30,000 a year with a load of management gobbledegook that

0:18:190:18:25

means nothing. You can always find examples of that but are you saying

0:18:250:18:29

that Chelmsford, Devon and Surrey are basically practising the

0:18:290:18:35

economics of the madhouse? Yes! Follow Brentwood's example.

0:18:350:18:39

Hammersmith and Fulham. Cut the council tax. And which services

0:18:390:18:46

will be harm? No services! This ridiculous idea that merely because

0:18:470:18:50

you buy your services better, because you control your staff

0:18:500:18:56

better, because you concentrate on protecting frontline services, that

0:18:560:19:01

somehow we will get better services... Look at Hammersmith and

0:19:010:19:06

Fulham. It has cut its council tax successfully for five years and

0:19:060:19:12

services have got better. In my own counsel in Wiltshire, they are

0:19:120:19:21

cutting the wheelie bin collections rather than... -- in my council!

0:19:210:19:26

Eric Pickles failed to get councils to do what he wanted about that!

0:19:260:19:32

Totally wrong! I am not forcing them. They do not have to have the

0:19:320:19:34

weekly collection but I am providing serious sums of money

0:19:340:19:39

off... Why should they get more of an incentive to do what you would

0:19:390:19:45

like? Because I give them an advantage so smaller councils can

0:19:450:19:50

go out together and improved procurement. There a lot of things

0:19:500:19:55

two separate rubbish. We will give them a grant for that. Rather than

0:19:550:19:58

putting a yoghurt pot into the wrong being, they will be

0:19:580:20:03

encouraged and not given a fine -- into the wrong rubbish bin. We have

0:20:030:20:08

had that discussion many time before. Let's go back to the idea

0:20:080:20:12

of reassurance under the new scheme that will come in for local

0:20:120:20:15

government. Can you offer reassurance that councils will get

0:20:150:20:21

money next year so they can change their mind? Councils will be able

0:20:210:20:26

to retain the growth in their business rate so if they bring in

0:20:260:20:31

new business... But that is difficult in the current times.

0:20:310:20:35

have started this process whereby they get sums of money for every

0:20:360:20:42

house that they built in their area. We are moving away from where you

0:20:420:20:47

demonstrate how bad your council is to get more money to one in which

0:20:470:20:51

the power is in your hands. The idea that if we don't take the

0:20:510:20:56

money, we have to put it up, that is the view of an officer, not a

0:20:560:21:01

politician. So there will be money next year to compensate? To be

0:21:010:21:07

clear, next year we are moving on to a new system of local government

0:21:070:21:12

and the power is in their hands, not my hands. You said there will

0:21:120:21:17

be no sanction for councils. So no penalty in future for councils who

0:21:170:21:24

do not toe the line? Other than if you bump into me in Westminster!

0:21:240:21:29

was going to say that only people with the legal powers to send you

0:21:290:21:34

to prison if you do not pay for the services that they decide on and

0:21:340:21:37

the level they are provided at could possibly behave in this way.

0:21:370:21:41

If they are in the competitive world of business, they would have

0:21:410:21:47

to cut the Cote according to their cloth. There is not this bottomless

0:21:470:21:50

pit of money that the government can shovel towards local

0:21:500:21:57

authorities. They have to get into the real world. What about high

0:21:570:22:07
0:22:070:22:07

council tax bands for expensive homes, every -- Eric? It would need

0:22:070:22:12

a full revaluation. It would probably cost somewhere in the

0:22:120:22:16

region of �200 million to do that. We have seen this in action in

0:22:160:22:24

Wales. A lot of houses with John two or three bands and I am very

0:22:250:22:30

doubtful that a whether we would recoup this money -- a lot of

0:22:300:22:35

houses would jump. So you are not in favour of it? I am not sure that

0:22:350:22:42

I am. I am being understated. It would be a very expensive process.

0:22:420:22:47

My council tax is �3,000 already and I don't want it to go up any

0:22:470:22:52

more! Why does the owner of a �2 million house in Kensington pay the

0:22:520:22:58

same as someone in a one-bedroom flat were �350,000? If you want to

0:22:580:23:03

raise serious money, you can raise it with a revaluation and we have a

0:23:030:23:08

rule that out. There are legitimate concerns about foreign nationals

0:23:080:23:12

purchasing their property through a company rather than themselves and

0:23:120:23:17

I hope the Chancellor may well be looking at that. You keep saying

0:23:170:23:22

that. We know it is a matter for the Chancellor. Just in case they

0:23:220:23:27

put it back to the Treasury! Thank you.

0:23:270:23:31

Our guest of the day of course is Neil Hamilton. Once a minister in

0:23:310:23:34

John Major's government, who lost his seat in 1997 after weeks of

0:23:340:23:38

headlines about cash for questions. But he is refusing to believe that

0:23:380:23:41

his political life is over and he is back in public life as an

0:23:410:23:44

elected member of UKIP's National Executive Committee. So how do you

0:23:440:23:46

make a successful political comeback? David Thompson

0:23:460:23:48

investigates. All political careers end in

0:23:490:23:54

failure or so the saying goes. Some sail more spectacularly than others.

0:23:540:23:58

I shall be registering the biscuits... Neil Hamilton was

0:23:580:24:03

forced to resign from John Major's government over claims he had taken

0:24:030:24:08

cash for asking questions in Parliament. That led to him losing

0:24:080:24:12

his seat at an election and later been declared bankrupt. Since then,

0:24:120:24:17

he has had a lively alternative career outside politics, but now he

0:24:170:24:21

is back on the political comeback trail as the senior member of the

0:24:210:24:26

UK Independence Party. It is fair to say that Neil Hamilton is not

0:24:260:24:30

dreaming of Number Ten but he is making a political comeback.

0:24:300:24:39

Question is, how do you pull it How you have got to have a brass

0:24:390:24:44

neck and treat people as though the circumstances of your resignation

0:24:440:24:48

were unimportant and you cannot imagine why anybody should suppose

0:24:480:24:51

that you cannot come back because if you start going around penitent,

0:24:510:24:56

you will not get anywhere. Matthew's and voice brought to

0:24:570:25:02

mind the Prince of comebacks. Peter Mandelson was once, twice, three

0:25:020:25:11

times Cabinet minister. comeback kid! Quite enough! And a

0:25:110:25:16

more recent departee would like a Cabinet comeback as well. You come

0:25:160:25:20

into politics to make a difference. There are different ways of doing

0:25:200:25:27

that. Is that a Yes? But given the grief ministers get,

0:25:270:25:35

why would you come back? I was one of the biggest profile ministers,

0:25:350:25:42

to a backbencher. Was I devastated? No. I was profoundly relieved. For

0:25:420:25:47

a while. For a while. And then you start to want to come back.

0:25:470:25:52

Fortunately, Anne Widdecombe saw the error of her ways and

0:25:520:25:56

reinvented herself as the Queen of everything television and that

0:25:560:26:00

seems to be the way many politicians come back in to the

0:26:000:26:04

public eye. The media that most politicians go to of the serious

0:26:040:26:10

stuff. The? No. I went to Strictly Come Dancing. The joy every time

0:26:100:26:16

and is you can say yes or No As You fancy, not because you think it is

0:26:170:26:22

a good stepping stone for your career. She is right. This Week

0:26:220:26:25

attracts politicians but are there shows that should not be touched

0:26:250:26:30

with the proverbial? There on media opportunities which are so cheap

0:26:300:26:35

that you have to be paid a great deal to endure them. For instance,

0:26:350:26:40

if you go on to "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!", look at

0:26:400:26:45

George Galloway for instance. That is probably curtains to your being

0:26:450:26:49

taken entirely seriously so make sure they pay you a lot. Let's face

0:26:490:26:53

it, you would have to appear in something pretty bad because if you

0:26:530:27:01

can come back from this, then anything is possible.

0:27:010:27:07

David Thomson reporting. And we are joined now by the former Labour MP

0:27:070:27:09

for Reading, Martin Salter, who decided to quit frontline politics

0:27:090:27:12

before the last election. And has so far dedicated his life after

0:27:120:27:22

parliament to fish. Being happy! And? Monster fish! Is that your

0:27:220:27:32

It is a kingfish. I spent 15 happy months in Australia and New Zealand

0:27:320:27:40

I wanted to be somewhere where people were not coming up to me in

0:27:400:27:44

the street and giving me problems. I wanted to catch big fish that I

0:27:440:27:49

had dreamt about when I was a little kid, and I did. So you

0:27:490:27:53

achieve your ambition. Would anything tempt you back into

0:27:530:27:58

politics? I have waited to come on this programme, I have listened to

0:27:580:28:02

the interviews, watched the Strictly Come Dancing nonsense. I

0:28:020:28:07

want to come back even less now than I ever did. We had this

0:28:070:28:11

discussion several years ago. I have no intention of going around

0:28:110:28:17

the House of Commons in my 60s. I stood down when I was 57. I am not

0:28:170:28:22

criticising people but it is not for me. What is it that has tempted

0:28:220:28:27

you back about the game? It is not a game. There of things that really

0:28:270:28:32

matter in life. I have left the House of Commons to devote more

0:28:320:28:37

time to politics! Why would you want to go there again? There are

0:28:370:28:41

things I believe in very strongly. We started the programme talking

0:28:410:28:46

about things in Greece. The human tragedy that is tied up in that is

0:28:460:28:52

visited in so many other areas. I want to do something about it. I

0:28:520:28:58

have spent the last 14 years doing a lot of other things! We didn't

0:28:580:29:04

have a big enough programme for all of them! It is not mainstream!

0:29:040:29:10

is not edifying! Why can't we have fun in our 60s? We can do a variety

0:29:100:29:20
0:29:200:29:25

of different things. I am enjoying being on the wing in UKIP. I am

0:29:250:29:29

simply advancing the cause is that I believe in. I have no personal

0:29:290:29:33

ambitions in politics what's the weather. I don't see myself walking

0:29:330:29:39

through the door of Number Ten -- whatsoever. Do you think the fact

0:29:390:29:42

you have trodden the media stage is because that was the only option

0:29:420:29:49

left to you? It was. I was too hot to handle, even for the many people

0:29:490:29:53

who didn't believe the allegations that were made about me. Being

0:29:530:29:56

controversial means you are effectively unemployable and I have

0:29:560:30:03

been self-employed happily for 14 years. I have lost a huge amount of

0:30:030:30:08

money and I was bankrupt for three years because of the legal expenses

0:30:090:30:15

of trying to clear my name. I have spent those years recovering the

0:30:150:30:20

family fortune as it were! I am fortunate enough to have a more

0:30:200:30:24

financially successful partner than most! Do you think part of the

0:30:240:30:29

problem was that if you, if you fall from grace becomes so

0:30:290:30:34

notorious, if you hold on too long, it takes that much longer to come

0:30:340:30:44
0:30:440:30:48

back? And love people like David Of course. Things were said about

0:30:480:30:52

me which caused my political career to be destroyed, which I denied

0:30:520:30:57

because they were untrue. That is different from people like Jonathan

0:30:570:31:04

Aitken and Jeffrey Archer. Perhaps it was not the most enjoyable

0:31:040:31:12

pursuit between 1997 or 2008, being a Tory MP. When and lost my seat, I

0:31:120:31:17

did not stop believing in all the things I've previously believed in,

0:31:170:31:23

I just took up the reins from where I left off. It is difficult to come

0:31:230:31:28

back if there has been a very long and dominating campaign that has

0:31:280:31:34

filled headlines or filled an election. With some MPs, it would

0:31:340:31:40

be the same post expensive -- expenses. It is a little bit tragic

0:31:400:31:45

for a lot of people. There are people who have only to find

0:31:450:31:49

themselves by having those two initials after their names. There

0:31:490:31:55

is an interesting world. I wanted to see if I could make it in civvy

0:31:550:31:59

street. Walking through Reading as not a councillor or not a member of

0:31:590:32:05

parliament was very interesting. I now work for a fantastic

0:32:050:32:12

organisation called the Angling Trust. We look after Britain's

0:32:120:32:15

number one participant sport. I have transferred skills and

0:32:150:32:22

experiences I have learned from politics to another field. The age

0:32:220:32:27

at which she retired from politics meant you could pursue something

0:32:270:32:35

which you enjoyed. -- you retire. Some MPs lost their seats in 1997,

0:32:350:32:41

and 2010. They have to get real jobs and have real careers. I went

0:32:410:32:46

to a gathering of former MPs which was interesting. Those who had

0:32:460:32:51

planned their soft landing, by and large, they have done all right.

0:32:510:32:56

They could use their skills, experiences and contacts, and

0:32:560:33:04

enjoyed their lives. We all miss an incredibly exciting part of our

0:33:040:33:08

lives. Those people who are suddenly turfed out of office, it

0:33:090:33:13

is a shock to the system. It is difficult for people to apply for

0:33:130:33:18

jobs when you look like a beaten individual. That is the experience

0:33:180:33:25

of some MPs. There is an expectation that it used to be a

0:33:250:33:34

Korea by life. If you were an MP, you could rest on your laurels.

0:33:340:33:40

should it be a career for life? In 1980s, the average number of

0:33:400:33:48

letters that an MP got is about 20 a week. Now it is in the hundreds.

0:33:480:33:52

The pressures are huge. I do not think it is a job that people can

0:33:520:34:00

do, particularly in marginal situations, for 20 years. Martin is

0:34:000:34:04

wholly unsuited for a life in politics because he is a genuine

0:34:040:34:12

human being. That is debatable. What the House of Commons lacks is

0:34:120:34:19

people with a hinterland. That is crucial. The professional

0:34:190:34:23

politician who goes from university to researcher or trade union

0:34:230:34:32

boffin... Of like David Cameron. I agree with you. It is a major flaw

0:34:320:34:37

in the system. Politics should be seen, not as a part-time career,

0:34:370:34:43

but you should be able to see you live in compartments. I have had a

0:34:430:34:48

full life in many respects. Not only his third the media stuff and

0:34:480:34:53

nonsense, I do serious things as well. I am a barrister by

0:34:530:34:57

profession and to use my legal expertise. You are a better dancer

0:34:580:35:03

than me. I do not know whether we will seek either of you on Strictly

0:35:030:35:08

Come Dancing. We could dance together! Before we go down that

0:35:080:35:13

road, I was say goodbye to both of you. No doubt you'll have seen some

0:35:130:35:17

red carpet glamour on the news this morning as everyone who was anyone

0:35:170:35:20

was in Hollywood for the Oscars, well in a moment we too will be

0:35:200:35:23

able to add a touch of showbiz sparkle to Westminster with one of

0:35:230:35:26

Fleet Street's most glamorous parings. First, let's take a look

0:35:260:35:29

at what's coming up this week. Today is a busy day with the Health

0:35:290:35:32

Bill being debated in the Lords. Liberal Democrat peers will be

0:35:320:35:35

trying to push through several amendments, most notably on the

0:35:350:35:38

role of competition within the NHS. Speaking of the Lords, Nick Clegg

0:35:380:35:41

is appearing in front of a joint committee to discuss Lords reform.

0:35:410:35:44

The Deputy Prime Minister is keen to push ahead with plans to

0:35:440:35:46

introduce a mainly elected Upper House, despite opposition amongst a

0:35:460:35:50

number of peers. And, on Wednesday, the Employment Minister, Chris

0:35:500:35:52

Grayling, is due to meet companies involved in the Government's

0:35:520:35:56

controversial workfare scheme. Mr Grayling will be hoping to reassure

0:35:570:36:00

businesses that, despite a raft of bad headlines last week, the work

0:36:000:36:04

experience project is still worthwhile. And finally, after a

0:36:040:36:08

two week break, the Leveson Inquiry is back. The hearings will look at

0:36:080:36:14

the relationship between the press and the police. So joining me from

0:36:140:36:17

the red carpet now is Tom Newton Dunn from The Sun and Suzanne Moore,

0:36:170:36:27

who writes for the Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. Tom, how much of a

0:36:270:36:30

strain on coalition relations at the top is the ongoing saga of the

0:36:300:36:38

NHS Bill and now House of Lords reform? This morning we have

0:36:380:36:42

already had significant movement from the Government on NHS reform.

0:36:420:36:47

We will hear from Nick Clegg later on. In lobby this morning, which we

0:36:470:36:52

have every morning, it was asked directly what the position of the

0:36:520:36:56

Government may be on the amendments to the House Bill in the House of

0:36:560:37:01

Lords. They said we'd do not think there should be any significant

0:37:010:37:07

changes. If all they do is clarify legislation, we will not feel any

0:37:070:37:12

need to overturn that. That is totally different from where the

0:37:120:37:18

Government was last week. They said they would fight all the way.

0:37:180:37:23

sounds as if they are suffering the line. There has been some

0:37:230:37:28

discussion about whether this Bill could lead to privatisation. The

0:37:280:37:33

Government has said the service will remain free at the point of

0:37:330:37:38

use. Is that your fear? It has been circulated quite widely a list of

0:37:380:37:42

both MPs and Lords who have interests in private health

0:37:420:37:47

companies. It is a real career. When you have professional bodies

0:37:470:37:52

very against much of this legislation, yes, people are very

0:37:520:37:56

upset about it. The NHS is something the Tories said they were

0:37:560:37:59

not going to privatise and they were not going to change all the

0:37:590:38:05

top-down management. This is what they are doing. In terms of

0:38:050:38:10

privatisation, what you understand by that? Supporters of the Bill

0:38:100:38:14

would argue that competition exists to some extent already within the

0:38:140:38:19

NHS. It is still going to be free. What is the privatisation that

0:38:200:38:24

people are talking about? It is a simple issuing of contracts which

0:38:240:38:28

have already been drawn up with private health care companies. The

0:38:280:38:33

links are already well known, and MPs. If you are going to make any

0:38:330:38:38

of this work, you need to have all the professionals on side. At the

0:38:380:38:42

moment they do not. If GPs are saying they do not want to manage

0:38:420:38:46

the funds and consultants are saying, we do not want to do this,

0:38:460:38:50

it is hard to bring in another level of management to make them do

0:38:500:38:54

it. That is part of what they're doing and that is part of what they

0:38:540:38:58

said they would not do. Chris Grayling is meeting companies who

0:38:580:39:04

are taking part in the scheme. A couple of companies have decided to

0:39:040:39:08

pull out or are reconsidering their position. How much trouble is this

0:39:080:39:15

in? For me, it is quite extraordinary. It should not be a

0:39:150:39:21

story at all. Two things happened last week, the Socialist Worker

0:39:210:39:28

Party led protest. Let's be clear who is behind all this. The

0:39:280:39:36

problems of a man has done as well. As Westminster and the media bubble

0:39:360:39:42

has a tendency to do, it turns it into an avalanche. Stewart rose

0:39:420:39:47

yesterday said, these sort of companies who are buckling in the

0:39:470:39:52

face of an absolute minority protest, need to show some backbone.

0:39:520:39:57

Anyone who might support what is effectively and has proved to be a

0:39:570:40:02

very effective brake getting young people back into work needs to back

0:40:020:40:09

this. -- effective way of getting young people. David Cameron needs

0:40:090:40:17

to stand up and defend his own policy. The group's Against this

0:40:170:40:23

have been accused of being supporters of Trotsky and reds

0:40:230:40:29

under the beds. That is ridiculous. A lot of people do not want to see

0:40:290:40:34

a compulsory element of kids working for nothing. The companies

0:40:340:40:39

have backed down. They have seen the incredibly bad PR. Most people

0:40:400:40:46

would support the idea of the unemployed doing something that was

0:40:460:40:50

based on community led projects. They do not support the idea that

0:40:500:40:57

some huge firms, like Tesco, or pound land or whatever, can make a

0:40:570:41:02

profit of the back of free Labour. The idea that stacking shelves is

0:41:030:41:07

valid work experience, I would like to see some politician stack

0:41:070:41:12

shelves and say that is going to lead to a fantastic career. It is

0:41:120:41:19

typical of a government who has never really worked. They need work

0:41:200:41:23

experience. That is interesting! Now, forgive me if you think I've

0:41:230:41:26

said this before, but the big political news story of the day is

0:41:260:41:29

likely to be the fate of the Government's proposed reforms to

0:41:290:41:32

the NHS in the House of Lords. The English Constitution is a wonderful

0:41:320:41:35

thing which, from time to time, involves legislation bouncing back

0:41:350:41:39

and forth between the two Houses of Parliament. The technical term is

0:41:390:41:44

ping-pong. In our series of the A to Z of Parliament, Quentin Letts

0:41:440:41:54
0:41:540:42:10

B is full parliamentary bills. Where better to talk about

0:42:100:42:13

parliamentary legislation than in a fencing school. Parliamentary

0:42:130:42:19

legislation is about fancy footwork, as you can see from the

0:42:190:42:23

professionals. A Bill is a proposal for legislation. It will become law

0:42:230:42:29

if it passes through Parliament. It has to be introduced to I their

0:42:290:42:34

House by a government minister. Before it becomes law it has to

0:42:340:42:39

pass through various stages. At each stage, the Government must

0:42:390:42:48

beat En garde. There are five stages a bill must pass. First

0:42:480:42:58
0:42:580:43:01

reading, second reading, Committee, report and third reading.

0:43:010:43:06

Throughout this process, the Bill may be changed by new clauses or

0:43:060:43:11

anemones put down by the opposition. All the time the Braille - as that

0:43:110:43:16

of the Bill is being jacked and stamped by opposition MPs. The

0:43:160:43:22

Government may accept some changes and not others. A bill must gain

0:43:230:43:30

the approval of both Houses of Parliament, the Commons and the

0:43:300:43:37

Lords. That can lead to to-ing and fro-ing, called parliamentary ping-

0:43:370:43:44

pong. If the two Houses cannot agree, the Commons can use the

0:43:440:43:51

Parliament Act. It does not happen very often. It finally becomes law

0:43:510:43:58

when it receives Royal Assent. It means Her Majesty thinks it is all

0:43:580:44:03

right. Back to the sharp end of things. Where were we? Is this

0:44:030:44:13
0:44:130:44:15

I didn't fancy Quentin Letts's chances!

0:44:150:44:17

Quentin Letts at the Landsdowne Club in Mayfair with Olympic

0:44:170:44:20

hopeful Corinna Lawrence and her coach, Vladimir Meshkoff. In a

0:44:200:44:22

moment I'll be talking to three members of their Lordships House.

0:44:220:44:25

But first Norman Smith is in Central Lobby now. Norman, we heard

0:44:250:44:29

about this meeting about the Royal College of Surgeons? We seem to be

0:44:290:44:34

seen growing number of health professionals getting wobbly about

0:44:340:44:40

the proposal because the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal

0:44:400:44:43

College of obstetricians and Royal College of Physicians are to hold a

0:44:430:44:48

meeting. They do not hold these extraordinary general meetings to

0:44:480:44:52

swap the time of day, presumably they have concerns about what the

0:44:530:44:56

government is doing to the health service. The absolute linchpin to

0:44:560:45:00

winning the arguments over health reform is getting health

0:45:000:45:03

professionals on board and what is significant about these three

0:45:030:45:08

latest colleges is that they were all invited to the Downing Street

0:45:080:45:12

summit last week, which was meant to be for those who will

0:45:120:45:16

constructively engaged and willing to co-operate. Now it seems even

0:45:160:45:20

they are getting cold feet about these reforms. Thank you.

0:45:200:45:23

And joining me now, Labour's Lord Winston, Liberal Democrat, Baroness

0:45:230:45:25

Jolly and the Conservative, Lord Forsyth. Or Robert, Judith and

0:45:250:45:34

Michael for the next 20 minutes or so. Michael, less support or

0:45:340:45:39

certainly what was already fragile support from health professionals

0:45:390:45:46

is even more under threat. Can the bill continue? Yes. One of the

0:45:460:45:51

things about the bill is that it went through the House of Commons

0:45:510:45:56

pretty well and scrutinised and what has been going on in the Lords

0:45:560:46:01

isn't detailed discussion -- non- scrutinised. Many amendments. Of

0:46:010:46:06

course issues arise. But the fundamental issues of the bill, to

0:46:060:46:11

give patients more choice and to give more power to the

0:46:110:46:15

professionals as opposed to the bureaucrats, are things which

0:46:150:46:20

everyone supports. But surely the backing of health professionals is

0:46:200:46:25

critical to the success? No, the backing of patients is critical and

0:46:250:46:31

that is what the bill aims to achieve. So as far as Michael

0:46:310:46:37

Forsyth is concerned, the patients count more, you on making

0:46:370:46:45

unnecessary and amendments -- you are making unnecessary amendments.

0:46:450:46:51

We have amendments probably down to no more than a dozen clauses, there

0:46:510:46:57

are over 360 clauses. You have already caused it. We played some

0:46:570:47:03

part in it but it took our Conservative partners to work with

0:47:040:47:08

us and work together and also at that stage work with a lot of the

0:47:080:47:12

Royal Colleges on improving this bill. Some of the amendments are

0:47:120:47:16

amendments that the government would be very happy to accept.

0:47:160:47:23

Which ones? Detailed points... but on competition? You probably

0:47:240:47:28

have not followed this in the House of Lords. Judith and Freddie have

0:47:280:47:32

done sterling work and I have listened to this. It is a very

0:47:320:47:37

complicated bill but what we are trying to achieve is very simple.

0:47:380:47:43

More power to the patience. Lord Winston, it is still able to

0:47:430:47:47

achieve what it set out to achieve, which is more patient choice, which

0:47:470:47:53

already existed to some extent anyway, and the support of health

0:47:530:47:56

professionals is a red herring. agree with one thing, I think it

0:47:560:48:02

will go well. I think the record will be astonishing because this is

0:48:020:48:06

a thoroughly bad bill in almost every respect and it is something

0:48:060:48:09

which the Prime Minister at the hustings and Nick Clegg both argued

0:48:090:48:13

that it was something they would not do to the health service, and

0:48:130:48:17

they have done it. They have effectively gone against an

0:48:170:48:20

election pledge. I think it is shocking the Liberal Democrats on

0:48:200:48:25

their own admission have only put down 10 amendments on the bill they

0:48:250:48:29

are deeply worried about. Let's come down to basics. The real

0:48:290:48:33

problem is that what the patient wants is a doctor who has time to

0:48:330:48:39

listen to them and to examine them and to address their concerns. That

0:48:390:48:42

is very healing. What is increasingly happening is the

0:48:420:48:48

separation of the patient from that healing process. This bill, by

0:48:480:48:52

fragmenting the health service, will make it much worse.

0:48:520:48:56

government has said it is about giving power to doctors to make the

0:48:560:49:01

best choices for the patient? will make them more able to choose

0:49:010:49:05

bureaucratically, yes, but if you do for the health service to more

0:49:050:49:09

and more GPs and commissioning groups, you end up with less time

0:49:090:49:16

to do what is important -- if you default. That is, practise medicine.

0:49:160:49:20

This is why the colleges are worried. They are worried because

0:49:200:49:24

they are increasingly concerned, all my colleagues will tell you,

0:49:240:49:27

there will be more and more separation from the patient who

0:49:270:49:31

needs the care. If you cannot persuade doctors and health

0:49:310:49:36

professionals, you will not be able to persuade the Patients. His many

0:49:360:49:41

GPs are worried about this and talking about fears of

0:49:410:49:46

privatisation, you will not persuade the public -- if many GPs.

0:49:460:49:50

The best way to persuade them is by demonstrating success and it is

0:49:500:49:55

entirely natural that people are fearful of change but this bill

0:49:550:50:00

reduces bureaucracy by 4.5 million, it gives more power two GPs and

0:50:000:50:08

nurses and it enables the patients to have more say. The key thing is

0:50:080:50:11

the relationship with the doctor but if we have doctors spending

0:50:110:50:16

more time with patients, we need to have more resources available and

0:50:160:50:20

less spent on bureaucracy. Lib Dem Lords are not trying to scupper

0:50:200:50:25

this? Or absolutely not. purpose of the Lords is to

0:50:250:50:29

scrutinise legislation. There was several areas that we felt were

0:50:290:50:36

lacking. I think 10 is probably too few. We do not have the resources

0:50:360:50:41

of the Labour Party. We have looked at specific areas where we have

0:50:410:50:45

concern and we worked really hard with the government, engaging them

0:50:450:50:50

at every stage. Competition is where there seems to be a lot of

0:50:500:50:55

uncertainty. Lib Dems are worried about the competition element?

0:50:550:51:01

There are areas of this, yes. There is evidence that competition can

0:51:010:51:06

improve performance. It does exist anywhere in the NHS so what are you

0:51:060:51:10

worried about? What we don't want to see is the NHS being overtaken

0:51:100:51:17

by the private sector. And you think this bill will do that?

0:51:170:51:27
0:51:270:51:27

inevitable. Can I just come back quickly on that? Is bill builds on

0:51:270:51:31

the 2006 bill, which laid the groundwork for competition and

0:51:310:51:35

private sector involvement, so what the Liberal Democrats are trying to

0:51:350:51:41

do is use his bill to plug the gap that was left in the 2006

0:51:410:51:46

legislation -- this bill. Labour lay the groundwork so what are you

0:51:460:51:51

worried about? Labour left the National Health Service in a good

0:51:510:51:54

state because if you look at the independent American think-tanks,

0:51:540:51:58

it shows that the British health service is over twice as cheaper

0:51:580:52:03

than the American system, a third cheaper than the German system, and

0:52:030:52:06

a quarter of cheaper than the French. The outcomes are better

0:52:070:52:11

than many countries including France, Italy, Germany and Spain

0:52:110:52:15

and our care of old people has been good and therefore one has to ask,

0:52:150:52:20

why do you meet at this stage, when the country is in such turmoil, and

0:52:200:52:24

through expensive reshuffle of the health service which is as Major

0:52:240:52:28

and as demoralising as this -- why do you need? Do you think it will

0:52:290:52:33

lead to privatisation was mad yes. Unfortunately I think that is

0:52:330:52:40

already happening. This will make it easier and much worse. Once you

0:52:400:52:45

have that, you do not have joined up care. I had a friend the other

0:52:450:52:53

day he spent six hours in casualty to a broken nose. She said, my real

0:52:530:52:59

problem is my sinuses. He said, that is a different department.

0:52:590:53:05

With privatisation, that will get worse and worse. Thank you. I am

0:53:050:53:09

afraid I have to leave it there. A little later today, the Deputy

0:53:090:53:11

Prime Minister Nick Clegg will appear before a joint committee of

0:53:110:53:14

both Houses of Parliament talking about Lords reform. There is much

0:53:140:53:18

talk that there could be a bill to change the composition of the Upper

0:53:180:53:21

House in the next Queen's Speech. If it happens, it will undoubtedly

0:53:210:53:24

soak up days of parliamentary time and be a long and bloody battle.

0:53:240:53:28

And we saw a little glimpse of just how long and bloody on yesterday's

0:53:280:53:31

Sunday Politics. This was the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott taking on

0:53:310:53:33

the Conservative MP, Philip Davis. Our coalition agreements as we were

0:53:330:53:36

established a committee to bring proposals for a major elected

0:53:360:53:40

second chamber on the basis of proportional representation and as

0:53:400:53:44

you are not very good on the coalition agreement, let me give

0:53:440:53:48

you this and you can read it and remember it, and if you go back on

0:53:480:53:52

the deal for that I can assure you, you will not find Lib Dems in

0:53:520:53:58

parliament at all keen to vote for redistribution. Redistribution of

0:53:580:54:06

the boundaries. Frankly... You have made you point. I voted against

0:54:060:54:11

that bill as well so it wouldn't bother me! I was not elected on a

0:54:110:54:15

coalition agreement, I was elected by the people before any coalition

0:54:150:54:21

agreement. I did not sign up to that. Do you back up Lord

0:54:210:54:25

Oakeshott's threat? Islamic is not backing of that sort of reform, you

0:54:250:54:30

can forget it over the boundary review -- if there is not that

0:54:300:54:38

backing? I back his call to reform the House of Lords, yes. Why?

0:54:380:54:48
0:54:480:54:49

than a coalition agreement. In each of the three Party's manifesto is,

0:54:490:54:54

there was this pledge. But who cares whether there is a wholly

0:54:540:55:03

elected House of Lords? A lot of politicians care. The one might

0:55:030:55:09

argue... But this health bill has shown up the importance of the

0:55:090:55:16

House of Lords. As an expert chamber. A political chamber could

0:55:160:55:20

not do to the Health Bill what is actually happening to the Health

0:55:200:55:25

Bill. I have only been in the chamber 14 months and there are

0:55:250:55:30

some experts but also, there are a lot of people who when you enter

0:55:300:55:35

the House of Lords, you come in as an expert but only if you keep on

0:55:350:55:39

practising, your expertise goes, so you have wisdom but not necessarily

0:55:390:55:44

expertise. There on some experts in the House of Lords, and on

0:55:440:55:49

difficult subjects, I go and listen to a debate occasionally. The key

0:55:490:55:53

point is that most people in the House of Lords do not want anything.

0:55:530:55:57

They are not controlled by the whips. They are free to say what

0:55:570:56:02

they want. At the end of the day, the government will decide what

0:56:020:56:07

happens. The House of Commons is pre-eminent. The problem with an

0:56:070:56:10

elected House of Lords is not that it will change the House of Lords,

0:56:100:56:16

which it will to its detriment, but it will destroy the House of

0:56:160:56:20

Commons as the pre-eminent house and if I am elected, I am not going

0:56:200:56:25

to give way on issues and if I am elected for 15 years on

0:56:250:56:28

proportional representation, I will argue I have a stronger mandate

0:56:280:56:33

than people in the House of Commons. If you are elected, you have a

0:56:330:56:37

political career! You are a politician so people know where you

0:56:370:56:44

come from but because it is really long term, it is only... 15 years?

0:56:440:56:49

It is really long. It is only one term. You cannot keep coming back.

0:56:490:56:53

But you do not need to worry, as they do in the House of Commons, of

0:56:540:57:00

keeping on the site of the whips. But I will spend my time trying to

0:57:000:57:05

get people on the side of their... I tell you something. I have been

0:57:050:57:10

in the House of Lords quite a long time like Michael. I don't suppose

0:57:100:57:14

that Nick Clegg has ever once sat through a debate in the House of

0:57:140:57:19

Lords to see how it works. One of the reasons Nick Clegg will sink

0:57:190:57:24

without trace is because of that lack of experience and his

0:57:240:57:27

willingness to opine about various things that he does not have

0:57:270:57:31

experience on and I think his attack on the House of Lords is

0:57:310:57:36

actually a savage attack on our constitution at a time when reform

0:57:360:57:40

is needed in the House of Commons. We should get away from PMQs, we

0:57:400:57:46

should get away from pools in the bar... Let's not bring that up.

0:57:460:57:52

arguments in the bath. It is highly relevant. Why is it so important to

0:57:520:57:57

Nick Clegg? Will it cause a rift in the coalition? I don't think it

0:57:570:58:03

will cause a rift. There are bumpy times in the coalition and both of

0:58:030:58:09

us find issues uncomfortable but we went into this arrangement in 2010

0:58:090:58:14

and deals were made, conversations were had as part of the agreement.

0:58:140:58:18

So the Conservatives should keep to it? I would love them to keep to it.

0:58:180:58:23

The idea that we would reform our constitution so fundamentally in

0:58:230:58:28

return for votes on an issue about the redistribution of seats, that

0:58:280:58:33

is appalling. That is a bill that went to Parliament, has been agreed,

0:58:330:58:37

and the notion that there is a squalid backroom deal to destroy

0:58:370:58:40

the Upper House and change the nature of the House of Commons, I

0:58:400:58:44

don't think any respectable member of any political party would sign

0:58:440:58:49

up to that and I was amazed to hear Matthew suggesting it. Squalid

0:58:490:58:55

deal? I am not aware of any deal within the Liberal Democrats to try

0:58:550:58:59

to scotch anything, as Matthews suggests. We could go on but I have

0:58:590:59:04

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate. Jo interviews Eric Pickles about council tax, and discusses Lords reform and the Health and Social Care Bill with Lord Winston, Lord Forsyth and Baroness Jolly.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS