28/02/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. So stand by for a


blast of bankers, badgers, beer and Borgen! Yes, the Government is


forcing one bank to pay back hundreds of millions of pounds in


tax it avoided perfectly legally. But can you, should you, close


these loopholes in hindsight? Bill Oddie tells us why we should be


protecting badgers rather than killing them to protect our cattle.


Fans of the Danish drama, Borgen, have seen a female Prime Minister


struggling to save her marriage and get home in time to see the kids.


But does life in politics necessarily entail such sacrifices?


And find out what happened next when this waiter got a bit too


All that in the next hour. And with us for the whole programme today is


the investment fund manager, Nicola Horlick. So, if you have any


thoughts or comments on anything we're discussing then tweet your


comments. But first, late last night the police and bailiffs went


in to dismantle the Occupy London campsite outside St Pauls here in


London. 20 people were arrested as tents and equipment were removed


from the site. Demonstrators have been camped out there since mid-


October. In a statement, the City of London Corporation said that it


had nothing against free speech and protest. It is just the bedding and


tents that they could tolerate no more. Could you tolerate it no


more? I never understood why they were there. It was a little bizarre.


I felt at one stage we would be able to ask them why they were


there but had did not get around to it. Are they protesting against


capitalism? Communism did not work. I am not sure what the alternative


is. It is like what Churchill said about democracy - it is the best


you can come up with but it may not be perfect. They might have


appreciated you going down to talk to them about it. There is race


sense in some people's minds but it has taken a long time for them to


go. Do you feel it took too long? would have got rid of them sooner.


It was messy looking. St Paul's was a beautiful building. It was


stranger than fiction. Except, I suppose, it did chime in some


people's minds come up with some of the anti- capitalism feeling we are


going -- we are hearing about. whole communist thing collapsed


rather spectacularly. I have not noticed many people trying to go


back to that. What is the alternative? Capitalism should be


responsible capitalism rather than people diving for profit at every


opportunity. There are better ways of doing it than sitting outside St


Paul's Cathedral. In a democracy people have a right to do it. I


heard in the middle of the night a lot of the tents were empty. There


used to be a time that running a bank was a nice job for the


publicity shy. But no longer. There seems to be a story a day about


banks, bankers or bonuses. And today's is about Barclays and tax


avoidance. The bank is being forced by the Treasury to pay half a


billion pounds in tax it tried to avoid perfectly legally. The move


involves the unusual step of introducing retrospective


legislation to close down the loopholes. One involved the bank


buying back its own debt and not paying corporation tax on it, the


second involved investment funds trying to benefit from tax credits.


Barclays disclosed the schemes themselves under a code where banks


are obliged to inform the authorities of any seemingly legal


tax avoidance plan. The Treasury estimates changing the legislation


could bring in �2 billion of tax they would otherwise have lost.


Speaking earlier, Lord Oakeshott, the former Liberal Democrat


Treasury Spokesman, gave a cautious welcome to the move. I am glad the


Treasury has done this. It has taken them a long time. Four years


ago I was using parliamentary privilege in the laws to expose


enormous tax avoidance operations by Barclays all over the world.


Barclays tax avoidance factory at Canary Wharf is the most productive


system in history. It is highly abusive and highly aggressive. We


have �38 billion in a tax scam in this country. A large extent could


be closed if the Treasury got tough with large-scale tax avoidance by


people like Barclays. The Editor of City AM, Alistair Heath, joins us


now. What do you say to that? Treasury is right to shut down


their schemes. I cannot see why they exist. It defies belief. I


have a big issue with the weight it is done and a language they are


using. It is a retrospective change in the tax code. When you do that


you open the floodgates to all sorts of problems and probably give


too much authority to the tax authorities to change tax codes and


tax laws. In the past that has caught a lot of people who have


behaved illegally and then suddenly they have to pay more tax. What is


wrong with that retrospective element in terms of banks and tax


avoidance? As far as the public is concerned, there would be two


cheers. I agree with the ethics of it. Once you start changing things


retrospectively, where do you stop? Do you change the general public's


tax schemes retrospectively? Do you decide that all sorts of things


that used to be allowed and that law-abiding sister then -- citizens


used to do, suddenly you change the tax code retrospectively? I do not


think that is right. The tax code is much too complex. Some people


pay more tax than others. It is completed wrong and needs to change.


I am not sure that retrospective tax code changes are the answer.


With us now is the Treasury Minister, David Gauke, and his


Shadow, Labour's Owen Smith. Are the public at risk of being hit


from this? We should only use retrospective legislation in


exceptional circumstances. Alastair is right that there are questions


about stability that are being raised. There are exceptional


circumstances with regard to one of the schemes. It was engaged in by a


bank that had signed the code of practice, saying it would not


engage in this type of scheme. It is specifically in an area where


the previous government had made announcements in 2009, change the


legislation in 2010, and said we do not want this. What had happened


was is keen other similar to something that had been closed down


in the past. It sounds like it is something the last Labour


government could have been on top of. We sought to legislate in 2009


to outlaw precisely this issue. The problem is that Barclays found a


way to get around these specific clauses that we put in the built in


2009 and and acted in 2010, by fiddling with the way in which they


were accounting. -- enacted. It was a further Dodge they put into the


system. The only reason we know about this is because other


legislation that Labour made in 2002. Do you think there is a back


to restart industry of tax avoidance by but his macro and


other banks? A lot of people are trying to minimise tax for


companies and clients. The general trend in recent years, although


public attention has got stronger Inez, is that HMRC has become


increasingly effective enclosing this down. The closure of tax


avoidance schemes has been good. We are making a lot of progress but


sometimes we need to be tough. avoidance is perfectly legal. The


rhetoric that has been used by the Government and politicians is


really not appropriate. In my view, it is not. When you invest in a


company, let's remember who owns Barclays. It is our country's


savings which are invested in a company like Barclays. They have a


duty to shareholders to mitigate tax - legally of course. There is


nothing wrong with putting in place schemes that allow you to do that


legally. That means they have more profit to distribute. In our


country, 50% of profits are paid out to shareholders in dividends.


The dividends are taxed and individuals spend the money and pay


VAT when they spend it. At corporate tax level you'll capture


it later. In my view it is a bit of a fuss. It is really important we


have a competitive tax environment. There are some stories about


businesses and tax that is scaremongering. For most businesses


that pay tax which is due, they do tax planning and do not engage with


very aggressive abusive tax avoidance schemes. They are placed


at a competitive disadvantage. We need to do something about


businesses that are more aggressive. It is levelling the playing field.


We want businesses to pay their fair share. We do want the tax


environment which is as predictable and competitive as possible. That


is what we are trying to do. Is it right to make it retrospective?


They were in breach of the spirit of the law. I shared the concerns


of the Prime Minister in that there are an Army of fancy lawyers


employed to avoid tax. It is a cultural issue. I think, very often,


and this case illustrates the fact, there are very fine lines between


tax-planning Cammack aggressive tax planning, tax avoidance and tax


evasion. They need to resource HMRC properly. There is a gap between


the rhetoric and the reality. They are cutting numbers in HMRC and


resources. For the first time, it came to the Spending Review in 2010,


we identified spending on dealing with tax evasion and tax avoidance


and put more money in. What is the overall budget? It has gone down by


2 billion. The number of taxmen has gone down by 10,000. If you look at


the decrees under the last Labour government it was a lot more.


the priority, why aren't to spending more money on it? A lot of


the work of the HMRC is processing paperwork. Some of that money we


are planning back into HMRC so there are more stories about


taskforce teams focusing on particular areas and we are


strengthening the capability. Our record on tackling tax evasion and


tax avoidance is a good one. Can I just come to this other point? The


Public Accounts Committee, and perhaps you can help us with the


figure, says �25 billion of money is going unaccounted for. Do you


recognise that figure? I do recognise that figure. It is gone.


It is not from tax-avoidance? the assessment made by the HMRC. It


is a snapshot that Esmonde of the potential risk before they look at


particular areas. As for total avoidance, the HMRC assessment, and


for the last year we have, it is about 7 billion on avoidance. That


was under the last Labour government. We think we're getting


at number down. No system in the world eliminates it. Our forecast


with the extra investment, we will be getting an extra �700 billion a


year in additional yield because of the money we are putting into HMRC.


Do you think there should be sanctions or banks like Barclays?


The rhetoric is quite strong. We talk about aggressive tax avoidance


and abuses. Why should the Government not introduce sanctions?


Did he say 700 billion extra a year. I said we are putting in 900


million extra which will generate 7 billion a year. Labour collected 11


billion him 2008, 2009. To write think sanctions are a good idea?


Yes. -- do I think? If they are going to introduce an anti-


avoidance rule in the Budget, will at have the teeth the rules have


elsewhere? Penalties and charges that might be introduced or will it


be toothless? Will it be toothless or will you look at it? As the


sanctions, with this particular case, we have close it down. We


have retrospective legislation. We will look to see what house needs


to be done. There has not been a breach of the law. The Labour


spokesman said there should be sanctions and the Government is not


At the moment we don't have sanctions, and something illegal


has been changed retrospectively in this case. The tax system is too


complicated, there are so many loopholes, and HMRC just running


around trying to close the loopholes. The buying back of debt,


which Barclays did, was reported several months ago so everybody


knew about it but it took several months for anything to happen. We


are not fixing the core problem, a corporate tax system that does not


work properly. It is too complicated and it needs to be


reformed. The thank you. Hands up, who has heard of Helle


Thorning-Schmidt and Birgitte Nyborg? The first one is the real


Prime Minister of Denmark, and the other is the fictional star of


Borgen, which has proved to be a big hit drama in Westminster.


This is the latest drama to come out of Denmark. Borgen is all about


the compromises made by female politician Birgitte Nyborg who


rises to the top to become Prime Minister and the pressure it puts


on family life. I may not be Prime Minister, but as a mother working


in Westminster sometimes I know how she feels. But what is the answer?


That key is flexible working, and senior management accepting it is


not a soft thing to do, it is valuable, and would benefit the


company. There are still ingrained sexist attitudes. Senior managers


look to appoint people like them, and that turns to be male, pale,


stale. The men outnumber women four to one in Westminster and only five


of the 23 Cabinet ministers are female. In business, only 14% of


directors on FT-SE 100 boards are women. Is there anything we can do


about it? David Cameron has said he wants a third of his ministers to


be women by the end of this Parliament, but on occasion he has


run into trouble with his choice of language in the Commons. A calm


down, dear. Calm down, listen to the doctor. 37 of the 49 female


Tory MPs has joined together to form the new Conservative Women's


Forum to hand back the Prime Minister. Andrea is one of them, a


former high-flyer in banking and finance, now conquering the world


of Westminster. The accused --PMQs is not a great advertisement for


Westminster. Is politics stellar career you would encourage other


women to going to? It is demanding of your time and it pins you down


because you need to be there when the vote is called and not when it


is convenient to your private life. This is one of the most satisfying


roles there are out there. lesson from Borgen is that women


can't seem to have at all. Birgitte Nyborg may have made it to the


equivalent of Denmark's Number 10, but only at the cost of her family


life. Maybe things are getting better, and some of us can start to


call the shots. Andrew, a cup of tea with sugar. So certainly, one


lump or two. I'm joined now by Labour's Nia Griffith and the


Conservative Nadine Dorries. The main point of Borgen is that women


can't have it tall. Is it possible to hold down a high-powered job,


spend proper time with your children during the week, and have


a successful marriage? The view look at the Cabinet, the answer to


your question is no. In the Cabinet now, there are five women, three of


those are either childless or wealthy. It seems you have to be


one or the other. Looking at the Labour Cabinet of the past,


Margaret Beckett, Baroness Amos, Hazel Blears, the list goes on and


on, they are all childless. The exceptions are women who were


healthy before they came into politics or have a wealthy partner.


If you are wealthy or childless, unless you are those it seems


impossible to get on in politics. Do you agree? It is very difficult.


If you look at the generation who came in in 2005 compared to 2010,


either they have children who are grown up they are beginning to make


a career, I would add that to the group mentioned, but we need to


change the structure so it is easier to come in earlier. When


they are younger you mean? Absolutely. It seems to me the key


is of the hours. If the hours were different, if you look for example


at the Welsh Assembly, even at the Scottish parliament, the hours


seemed to be more conducive to women with young families. It is


not just their hours, it is that now there has been a massive focus


on the constituency and that is because of media and other reasons.


The working week for a politician is Monday to Thursday night in


Parliament, then Thursday night back to your constituency, Friday


and Saturday in your constituency. That is about 15 hours a week, then


you have your constituency, that is like two full-time jobs, being a


mother is like a full-time job as well. But should it change? Is it


desirable to have a lot more? There are 22 female MPs in the House of


Commons. Do we need to have double that? It would be ideal to have a


50/50 split, but if we split Westminster it is impossible


because you have to come to London for most of the week. The air at


economic arguments being put forward to say it makes better


business sense to have women put on the boards, do you agree with that?


Yes, but travelling a lot and bringing up children as well, it is


incredibly difficult. We have not found a way for men to have babies


yet, so I don't think we will ever be in a position where we have


50/50 in politics or business. Scandinavian it is held up as this


model. They have introduced a law. It is only public companies and


state companies, so if you have a private business you don't have to


have 40% women. Sure that be a start? That could make the


difference here. I am not in favour of quotas. The opportunity for


women should be there if they want to do these jobs. A lot of them


don't, at the end of the day. vouch for that. I went into a


sixth-form college recently, and it was like asking who wanted to be a


car mechanic. Politics is ugly, boring, they are not attracted to


politics. That is because there are not enough role models. If there


was a change... A Margaret Thatcher was a pretty good role model.


is only one person. If ladies like you persuaded them it was a good


option, would they think it was a positive option to do? It is the


chicken and the egg. If we put in quotas as well as role models, that


is very important for young people, but by having women in the


organisation's you change the way they work. The worst culprits are


the corporates, and even universities in this country. There


is an assumption that you are property of the company and that


you will do as they wish, and the family will follow. That is not


very easy for any woman to persuade her husband to follow. Where there


are opportunities in their own towns, as in many continental


settings, they can rise to the top more easily. There is a very


obvious fact about women in politics - if you are at a single


mother in the North of England and you want to be a politician and


exist without partner on an MP's salary, it would be impossible. A


whole group of women are excluded before they even start. The you


mentioned the personal, the set-up at home, the assumption that if a


child is ill they will call the woman before her partner. Look at


Yvette Cooper's situation, her partner is also in politics. If you


look at the Women in politics who do have children, either there


husbands are with them in Parliament or they are in the Home


Counties. There is always a unique situation of support that enabled


them to be there. Should women be shortlisted. It is demeaning. I


could not hold my head up knowing the reason I got there is that men


were excluded from competing with me for that role. 27% of people in


the last government were women, we are now 32%. It has gone up. They


have promoted certain candidates, and the Lib Dems have gone down


because they didn't have the system. I'm afraid it is still necessary.


The idea now that 40% of members of the board should be women, given a


certain running period, and if not they will have to do something more


formal about it, at least we are seeing a move forward. If we don't


have targets, it will not happen automatically. We always tend to


appoint people who look like ourselves, and that is the same in


politics as it is in business. Let's have a look at one senior


politician in Europe, who I thought dealt with this crisis rather well.


Look at Angela Merkel, watched the waiter behind her. The rest of


Libya disappears, as you will see, down her neck. I don't know what


you would have done if that had happened. She flicked her hair,


then back to the conversation. What would you have done if somebody


tipped beer down your neck? I would have screamed. Keeping cool is


always the best answer. She is used to being in the public eye, she has


a camera following her, she will not be jumping up and screaming.


Angela Merkel has done pretty well compared to Margaret Thatcher,


hasn't she? Yes, that is great, she has done well. Should women give


other women allege got to help them on to boards? -- a leg up. If there


is a good woman candidate, he she should be given a chance.


Everything should be equal. One of the problems is the queen bee


syndrome, where often you get a woman's at the top who pushes a lot


of the other women down. He you could say that happens in


broadcasting as well as politics. There is also this element that


meant employee like minded people because they want people whom they


can relate to more easily. Does that happen in business? A most


businesses where you get a stereotypical person don't do that


well. The best teams have diversity in all its senses, and they are the


companies that do best. They have actually given it some thought,


they have thought we need different people and that is why they are


able to do better. You have to accept that politics is very unique,


there is no other job like it and it is incredibly difficult if you


Now to kill or not to kill, that's the question. Quite important if


you are a badger. The Government is preparing for trial culls in


Gloucestershire and Somerset in an attempt to control bovine TB, and


culling badgers in areas of high infection, it is claimed, does have


an effect on the disease. In 2010, the Government says 25,000 cattle


were destroyed after contracting the disease. But the Badger Trust


and Humane Society are all raising objections, with some scientific


support, about how efficient the cull would be, and indeed if it


doesn't spread the disease wider. Giles is outside Parliament with


two interested parties. I will introduce them in a moment.


Dementia and the figure of 25,000 but what cold in 2010. -- you


mentioned. Let me introduce Bill oddly, Simon Hart, Conservative MP.


That is a lot of money, a lot of cattle - animals being killed. Does


that justify culling badgers? You will not find a single


conservationist who will not have sympathy with farmers. More than


that they will be looking to co- operate with farmers. We depend on


it. Owl what life does. What are you saying? -- hour wildlife. There


is no evidence to suggest the disease will go away. How can we


improve the situation? In our view, there should be an inoculation


programme. That is possible. It has been down in some areas. Or, the


alternative, is to shoot them. I find that strangely unacceptable.


Let's get to the point. DEFRA says if you go through the trial Coles,


you might reduce the disease by 15%. It does not sound very much. The


methodology chosen seems to suggest it might push the disease elsewhere,


as contain it. We are not looking at this in isolation. We are


looking at vaccines, better cattle Movement. We are looking at these


different options. There is no single cure for this particular


disease. This is one part of the complicated jigsaw. I think 12% to


15% is better than nothing. We can do a lot better. We have looked at


every other possible option. No one wants to do this. We have explored


every option and taken better revise that this is the only way to


nail the disease once and for all. You are asking them to rethink. The


fact of the matter is there would be no justification they could be


viewed in the way you could support become a badgers. Not unless people


were literally dying. It is complete nonsense. It does bother


me a great deal. If you think about it, when you say shoot them, how


will you shoot them? How do you shoot a badger? It is an


interesting comparison with the previous wildlife management debate


we had. It is possible. You can feed them into areas and have


trained marksmen using rifles. sufficient numbers? Absolutely! It


needs to be a combined approach to make this work. We are talking


about hundreds of millions of pounds devoted to this so far. We


have to go down this route, in conjunction with other things.


is reducing it to the level of a sport. It is misrepresenting the


position. You have no excuse to carry it on. We are going to do


this, we are going to do that. have one point. On top of this, the


farmers who do support it, they are going to have to pay for its.


Absolutely. Farmers are absolutely desperate to make progress on this.


Nobody wants to do this. Nobody is taking pleasure from this. People


have very heavy hearts. It is one part of a broad mix to solve a


problem. It is not just about cattle, it is about badgers as well.


They seem to not care about the fact about TB is rife. Are you


making light of it? I am not making light of it at all. I care about it.


I find the process involved, in shooting badgers, is nothing like


as simple as you say. They are amongst the most timid creatures we


have. Thousands of millions of people love badgers. It is a


marvellous occasion. I will leave you to keep debating it. It will go


on and on. That is the issue. They have not started culling yet. It


looks as though there will be some good temps to stop it going ahead


at all. -- attempts. I would vaccinate the cattle. Because of


the various issues we have had with meat and Food, people shy away from


that because of those issues. seems there will be yet more


officially sanctioned changes to the Health Bill that is currently


going through the House of Lords. Yesterday, Nick Clegg co-wrote a


letter with Baroness Williams to all Lib Dem peers and MPs, setting


out the amendments he wants to see in the Bill. In the letter, they


write that the bill is now undoubtedly a better Bill because


of the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg and Baroness Williams go on


to write, we want to rule out beyond doubt any threat of a US


style market in the NHS. The Deputy Prime Minister supports five final


changes to the Bill, including insulating the NHS from the full


force of competition law and making the watchdog, Monitor, to require


Foundation Trusts to put patients first. It is understood Mr Clegg


discussed the letter with the Prime Minister and Downing Street said


the changes were not significant amendments and they are areas where


reassurance is required. However, critics point to a potentially


stormy Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in March where the NHS


could dominate the agenda. Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Andy


Burnham argued the letter was stage managed and part of a face saving


exercise for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. With me in the


studio now is the Health Minister, Simon Burns. Do you agree the Bill


is better because of the Liberal Democrats? The Bill is better


because of the Liberal Democrats and a host of other people as well.


We said at the Independent Future Forum which went had and consulted


with the health service. We have been listening to everyone


interested and concerned about health. Through an amalgamation of


fees from a variety of sources, the Bill has been approved and


strengthened. You are giving into further demands from the Deputy


Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on competition. We have got to a place


now where we believe the Bill is in the right place - where we are


giving protections with regard to competition. We are seeking where


reassurances are needed. We will provide those reassurances.


changes would tighten the rules on competition, insulate it from


competition and place extra safeguards on the private income


that foundation hospitals can earn. Those are changes. Can I pick out


one thing? There was never any intention for a US style insurance


system. You will see that in clause one of the bill. It is about a


health service free at the point of use. That has always been the


intention. So, it is an orchestrated attempt by Nick Clegg?


Nick Clegg does have some MPs, some peers, but also appears -- people


be on the Parliamentary Party who are concerned. They need


reassurances and clarification. During the continuing progress of


the Bill, we will seek to give those assurances and clarifications.


These amendments are not significant? We have 136 amendments


that the Government tabled that were as a result of the


recommendations the Independent Future Forum made an also


discussions that have been ongoing with Liberal Democrat crossbench


and Labour peers to find ways of improving that bill. If it is


insignificant, why has Nick Clegg got to write to his MPs to try to


say he has some concessions? will continue to give reassurances


and clarification where it is needed. In terms of support, if it


turns out that none of the Royal Colleges support the Bill, will do


go ahead? We believe the NHS is an evolutionary body that has to


evolve to meet new challenges. We will be pressing ahead with it.


There has been a lot of confusion over the last 24 hours as to which


were at college is or is not supporting the Bill and a lot of


factual inaccuracies. You have already lost the support of the


Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing and the


Royal College of GPs. If you lose, and it looks IQ will lose almost


everybody except for the obstetricians and gynaecologists,


is it really acceptable for the Government to move ahead? The Royal


College of Surgeons Support the Bill. They continue to support the


Bill. The members do not. If you just let me finish. Under the rules


and the constitution of the Royal College of Surgeons, 25 surgeons or


members can call for an emergency general meeting. 31 out of 18,000


members have called for an emergency meeting. There will be


one under their constitution. It will not be to withdraw support for


the bill. They, like us, no it is important for patients that the


reforms go ahead. You said they are not going to withdraw whatever


happens at that meeting. They will still support the Bill. You are


happy to go ahead with that. There is other areas one needs to look at.


For example, 95% of England is covered by clinical commissioning


groups. GPs are now becoming involved in commissioning care for


their patients. When I talk to them, they are coming to fully appreciate


the independence and power they have to be able to put patients at


the forefront of commissioning care for them. They are welcoming that


extra power. Nicola Horlick, what is your view? I am not a lay person.


I am on the board of a Foundation's trust hospital. I have had a lot to


do with all of this from the sharp end. My view is it is a good thing


to remove bureaucracy, which is what will happen. I think it is


broadly right he should have practitioners involved. That is a


good thing. What we have been concerned about is the whole


competition angle. The fear is you will get bodies coming in from


outside, who will then cherry-pick bits of business from the NHS which


might be the most profitable pits. They will only be interested in the


profitable pits. That is where the concern comes from. It needs to


have all its business within the NHS to make it viable. What do you


say to that specific accusation? can appreciate the concern and I


think I can reassure her. On the face of the bill, we have enshrined


in the legislation that private companies will not be allowed to


cherry pick because we think that is wrong. We are going further than


that. We are stopping what the Labour government last allowed them


to do, which was with the Independent treatment centres, they


would cherry-picking care and were doing it in favour of the private


sector at the expense of the NHS. We are banning that as well.


30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands conflict is next month. On


2nd April 1982, the ruling Argentinean military junta


sanctioned the invasion and Britain went to war. 255 British soldiers,


sailors and airmen lost their lives. As did more than 600 Argentineans.


The two countries resumed diplomatic relations back in 1990


but there are still tensions. And, in the last month, the British


Government has sent military vessels - a destroyer and maybe


even a submarine - to the South Atlantic to make sure our national


interests are protected. All this to the fury of the present


Argentinean Government. So, given all these tensions, would you bit a


little surprised to know that Britain helps to fund hundreds of


millions of pounds of aid to Argentina through the IMF? Joining


me now is the former American Ambassador to the United Nations,


Nancy Soderberg, who is over here The United States has recently


started to vote, and we believe the UK in particular should lead Europe


in joining the United States. Argentina is an irresponsible act


that in the international scene, not just in the Falklands, but with


its international creditors it has defaulted on millions of dollars,


it will not pay, it is in a grey zone in anti-terrorism laws, and it


is part of a way for the leadership in Argentina to deflect attention


from its failure of leadership at home. The reason new one to put


pressure on them is because it owes billions of dollars. A exactly, it


has defaulted, paying 27 on the dollar which is unacceptable.


this something you should do in terms of getting a deal? The deal


is between Argentina and its creditors, but we are trying to


make sure it plays its role internationally, including on its


relationships with the anti- terrorism laws, it is repressing


its own press, and we are trying to make sure American taxpayers do not


go to support them. We need a majority of votes in the World Bank


and we are hoping Britain will join America in this effort. Do you


think Britain should? They are already slight tensions around the


Falklands, whether there is foil or so forth, so if we do it could put


us in a difficult position with Argentina. You mentioned the


Falklands, but it is because of the tensions just outlined that Britain


is unlikely to tread heavily in terms of putting more pressure on


the Argentinian government. Right now it is cost-free for the


Argentinian government to be wreaking havoc on the international


roles. In my role as a negotiator, you can tread softly and not get it


solved, or you can raise the cost for Argentina. The public may not


like the fact that we are contributing money to Argentina.


Yes, but I think the problem is there are these unresolved issues,


people would take a step back from joining the US on this. If it came


to it, would the Obama administration back Britain in a


conflict with the Falklands? Yes, it always would. It is an ally.


If you were watching the Sunday Politics at the weekend you will


have seen an almighty bust up between the Conservative


backbencher Philip Davies and the Liberal Democrat peer Matthew


Oakeshott over the Governerment's plans for House of Lords reform.


It's a totemic Liberal Democrat policy, and yesterday the Deputy


Prime Minister Nick Clegg was in front of a joint committee of Lords


and Commons defending his plans. Here he is, receiving a grilling


from the former Education Secretary, who is now a Baroness, Gillian


Shephard. I think the vast majority of people intuitively would accept


that it should be people, not party political patronage, which


determines who should sit in the House of Lords. The air has been no


evidence whatsoever received supporting the claim that the


privacy of the House of Commons will not be affected by having an


elected House of Lords. I wonder if you would like to comment on that.


The only evidence we have had supporting that argument has been


most loyally from the minister. want to basically doing exactly


what previous administrations have done, to allow that relationship to


evolve on its own merits and not tried to predict it with any


scientific precision. We have heard from Nick Clegg a lot about


democracy and so on. I don't know that we have heard very much of the


word accountability of those who would be elected with a 15 year


non-renewable term to the second house. To many of us who have been


elected, it would seem that there isn't much accountability in that.


Whilst I totally accept one can argue almost indefinitely whether a


shorter term, a longer term might be appropriate, I come back to the


principle - is it better in a legislative chamber to give people


at least some say then simply allow for the whole thing to remain in


the clammy hands of a small number of individuals who happen to be the


leaders of political parties? I am now joined by the


constitutional affairs minister, welcome back to the programme. Why


do you think so many backbenchers are against Lords reform? I do not


accept your premise. The ring leaders, according to commentators,


already have 81 people signed up to the cause. A There is very little


evidence of that. Quite a lot of the new intake are keen on the


reforms. A lot of these used people raised, like those that Gillian


Shephard raised, we have thought about these issues, and set out a


sensible set of proposals which the joint committee were scrutinising


yesterday. Jessie Norman is the latest to speak out, saying


focusing on selecting Lords would damage the diversity. He seemed the


basic principle, which is those who make the laws should be chosen by


the public, is a pretty straight forward 1 in a democratic country.


The tears becoming a familiar phrase to say people don't care


about it at all. This is one of the things the government will be


focusing on, it is not the only one. The government can do a range of


things. Looking at statistics from the 40s, the House of Lords were


spending two days debating the but there reforms, in 1944 while our


forces were fighting against Nazi tyranny. Are you one of those


people clamouring to see them elected? I am not. I want to see a


different way of doing things. You do get diversity, and people coming


into the House of Lords, who, if it was elected, simply would not want


to go through the hassle of an election. When it comes to local


elections and electing people for European Parliament, the turnout is


pitifully low. How many people will turn up on the day and vote? You


might end up with a weaker body. 70% of people who sit in the House


of Lords are already party politicians selected already. Many


backbenchers are not affiliated to a party, and that his weight we say


20% should retain, that that sort of people Nichola mentioned. We


would be electing 80% of them. There are people who are there


because they were a top doctor, the judge, or whatever it is. The truth


is you have a bit of both. There are people who will affiliate them


with the party, but if you have to put yourself up for election, I


think a lot of those people wouldn't do it. If you look at the


House of Commons... We have journalists, doctors, lawyers,


bankers, teachers. The feel constrained, don't they, by the


fact they are part of a political party and they have a career to


further. The idea that everyone in the House of Lords, and there are


over 800 Peers by the way, and it will not be long before there are


1000, the idea that you don't have to do any reform I just don't think


stands up to scrutiny. The or have been several instances in the last


few months were they have rejected pieces of legislation and there are


people in their not necessarily tied to a party, I think that is


part of democracy, allowing them to have a voice. I agree, and that is


why it our proposal is for 80% elected say you can still keep the


group of people who bring something extra without the party dimension.


If 80% were elected, it would be like the House of Commons. They


would feel they had supremacy or equal billing with the House of


Commons and there is a danger in that. The fact is, with the


Parliament Act, the House of Commons ultimately can still get


its own way. It may be that the House of Lords will be more


assertive and the relationship will change over time, and that will


strengthen Parliament as a whole. How will it restrain legislation?


Mo as members of the public will probably think fewer pieces of


legislation... Let's put it like this - if every problem could be


solved by passing legislation, the legacy of the last government would


be a much happier one than it was. We can debate about how many people


are for this and against, but do you think they will adhere to the


whip when it comes to a vote? we set out our proposals, after we


have listened to what the joint committee has got to say, we can


publish a draft bill, and I think the House of Commons will think


this is a sensible reform. For the Liberal Democrats, this is a red


line in the sound. This is Nick Clegg's passion. This was in the


coalition agreement. I have to say, the House of Lords reform, it is


fair to say the enthusiasm may not be as high in the Conservative


Party, but it was in our manifesto in 2001, 2005, and 2010 service is


not something that we haven't supported in the past. I accept it


is more important of the Lib Dems but many Conservatives supported


this when it was debated in the last parliament under Labour. I


think we will get a lot of Conservatives supporting it. What


about a threat from Matthew Oakeshott that they can kiss


goodbye to boundary changes? He is a backbencher, and speaks for


himself. He doesn't speak for his party. I have not heard that view


shared widely, and Nick Clegg made it clear that was not the Liberal


Democrats position. It doesn't worry you? I have the experience of


taking through the legislation on the AV referendum and the


boundaries, and my experience was that the Liberal Democrats were


very solid at supporting the boundary changes against Labour


filibustering so I think they will deliver their promise. Is David


Cameron as dedicated almost as you? He said it would be government


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