29/02/2012 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. This is the Daily Politics. Is the Coalition


disintegrating before our very eyes? Or is it all political


posturing to save Nick Clegg's skin? It is said public spats over


health and House of Lords reform are fuelling mistrust between the


two Coalition parties. We'll be asking, can the coalition stay the


course? Employers are expected to urge the Government to alter its


work experience schemes after complaints that young people are


being exploited. It's a leap year, it's February 29th. Who will be


asking who the questions at PMQs? We'll have all the action at midday.


And, as part of its campaign against government cuts, one of


Britain's biggest unions calls for civil disobedience during the


Olympics. All that and more coming up in the next 90 minutes. With us


for the duration we've bagged ourselves a couple of cheap interns.


Signing up to the unpaid Daily Politics work experience programme


this week are Foreign Minister Jeremy Browne and Shadow Cabinet


Office Minister Michael Dugher. us then! You see we have not opted


out of any government work programme so far. But then we


haven't opted into anything either. And if you've been a tad confused


about the Government's different work programmes, don't worry. So


are we. The Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, is trying to put


people straight about the whole thing this morning. Representatives


from dozens of companies are meeting Mr Grayling to discuss


concerns about the schemes. Several firms have already withdrawn from


certain programmes after protests that unemployed young people are


being exploited. We are joined now by Michael Bradley, from Right to


Work, who has been campaigning against these schemes. Welcome to


the Daily Politics. Who pays your salary? I am paid by trade unions


and campaign groups, who give donations against the Right to Work


campaign. Are you a full-time employee of the Socialist Workers'


Party? I get money from them. Socialist Workers' Party, its


policy is against parliamentary democracy. Is that right? It is for


a revolutionary, Marxist overthrow of the Government? I would argue we


are for real democracy. Parliamentary democracy does not


represent people very well. believe in the revolutionary


overthrow of the British political system? I believe ordinary working


people should have the ability to control their lives. That is a


revolution you would like? The sort of thing that is going on in Egypt


at the moment. I do not think it went too well for you there. He


said, given you back rank, let me just get the right quote... Of he


who does not work does not eat? Probably Lenin. He would have


supported these work-experience schemes. There are 1 million


unemployed young people in this country at the moment. It took


protests outside McDonald's and Tesco's to have a serious debate.


The sort of thing we saw with claimant after claiming showing


letters they had received from the DWP to show these schemes are


corrosive. We need to have a serious debate. That is a serious


point. It took the protests to get this into the public debate. It was


not the Labour Party, nor the Lib Dems. It certainly was not the


Conservatives. It took the demonstrations. The scheme was


working. People were getting opportunities they would not


otherwise have got. It has not come into public debate in a way that


has worked well. It has made a number of big companies to have


second thoughts about Ted. I find this hugely frustrating. I spend a


lot of time in Asia as a Foreign Office minister. People are looking


for real opportunities in life. They are trying to establish


themselves in working life. These schemes are what young people need.


What a great opportunity to get work experience and no more about


it! What is wrong with it? Nothing wrong with training schemes and


work experience. Do not coerce people on to the schemes. Why can't


they receive a minimum age for doing a 30 L week? McDonald's has a


turnover of �15 billion. It is hoped this will lead to a job, at


least on a minimum wage or better. Companies like Tesco's have decided


they will allow a minimum wage. Despite government figures of 50%


success rate, there is no real evidence of this battle. The only


examples we have are the for 200 people who went on to the scheme


that Tesco and 300 you got a job. Everybody is in favour of training


schemes and work experience. Do not coerce people. What would be wrong


with a bit of coercion? These people are living on benefits that


the rest of the tax payers pay. Ed Miliband has said we cannot have a


something for nothing society. It has to be something for something.


What is wrong with saying, if you're taking benefits, we were not


take them away but we would like you to do some work experience. We


think that could lead to a job. are in favour of work experience.


The New Deal was a tougher scheme. The reason why it is really


important is it is not just about skills for work, it is about soft


skills - making sure that people are not losing the habit of getting


up in the morning and arriving at work. It has to be a proper pathway


to a real job. Labour keeps on saying mess. You cannot guarantee


that work experience will lead to a real job. You can say, if it gives


you some of the softer skills about the work force, then it will help


you. It is not an apprenticeship. What you can also do is make sure


there when people are on a placement, they are not locked in


for too long just doing the placement. They need time to do a


proper job search as well. cannot Micra manage that! You can.


You can have an agreement between the JobCentre, the job-seeker and


the employer. If someone still has time to look for a full-time job,


if they get offered a job they can come off the placement. No one


objects to any body campaigning. You do not just campaign or stand


outside shops you think are behaving badly over work experience.


You invade them. You tried to close them down. You break the law.


agree with the statement made by Len McCluskey. If working people


are not being represented by politicians, they should have the


right to take industrial action and they should have the right to civil


disobedience. Do you really think it's right? You have put forward


your case. You could stand outside McDonald's, Tesco's, or whichever


shop has attracted your ire and you could speak to people going in. You


could hand out leaflets. You could shout. You do not do that. You


intimidate people from going in. Correct? The LEA fitting process it,


putting placards outside, is what is going on. If there had not been


an occupation of Tesco's or McDonald's, we would not be sitting


around this table. The usual political discourse that should go


on in this country, those of ordinary people have been abandoned.


You think you are within your rights to disrupt trade and to


intimidate customers? intimidation at all has gone on.


There is long tradition in Britain dating back to the suffragettes and


so on. If politicians do not represent you, you have to take


industrial action or take action ourselves. Is this the start of a


revolutionary moment? It is a process in British society with


health, pensions and taxes, ordinary people were not take it


anymore. Britain's biggest union has threatened to disrupt the


London Olympics as part of its battle against cuts to public


sector pensions. Len McClusky, the General Secretary of Unite, urged


other unions opposed to the Coalition's pension plans and


austerity measures to also target the Olympics. He also called on the


public to back the unions by engaging in all forms of civil


disobedience within the law during the Games. Well, this is what the


Conservative Chairman, Baroness Warsi, said - that Len McCluskey's


comments were appalling. Comments like this have far reaching


ramifications, not just in relation to the culture they create in the


country at a time when the Olympics are on time and on budget and


everyone is preparing for this celebration. We do not want people


looking at Britain and thinking, well I be said? Will the service's


work? And to send out these messages in this year are deeply


irresponsible, hugely selfish. I am delighted that some members from


the Labour Party are beginning to come out and distance themselves. I


would like to see it Ed Miliband condemn these comments and distance


himself from them and ask Len McCluskey to retract them. Are you


distancing yourself from these comments? Last night, Tessa Jowell,


the shadow Olympics Minister, made the position absolutely clear. I


made a comment on Twitter this morning. Ed Miliband has made his


position clear, that it is totally unacceptable. Len McCluskey is the


General Secretary of Unite. The policies of Unite are up to the


union. As Jeremy Brown is implying, the financial links between Labour


and Unite are clear. They have the biggest financial backer. If you


think it is so disposal, get him to retract them. People like Jeremy


says we're in the pockets of the unions where we agree with them. We


have made it clear, we do not think it is acceptable. It is not in the


interests of Unite members. We are not going to cut links with people


who work the factory floors, work in hospitals. Kid you not say, we


are financed by the union but we do not agree with what it says?


will say that. Labour Party campaigns relied and healthily on


funding from the union. We have seen the Labour Party checked with


the unions before tabling amendments, questions in the House


of Commons to make sure that the unions approve of what Labour is


doing in the House of Commons. The idea that there is a distance


between the union that made Ed Miliband the leader of the Labour


Party and Ed Miliband being able to act freely from the union, no one


believes that. Donors do things that political parties do not like.


The Labour Party have vastly more money than the Liberal Democrats


because they get huge amounts of tied donations from the unions. It


comes with votes at Labour conferences, selection of the


Labour leader. There are tens of thousands of politicians around the


camp a -- country who have put themselves forward so to help with


the Olympic Games. The fact that Unite wants to sabotage the games,


along with the Labour Party... do not think you can say that.


have an honest relationship with a number of trade unions. I will not


apologise for the historic links of the Labour Party with working


people. It is an honest relationship. We can say, we do not


agree with you. It is not right for the country. Ed Miliband has made


that clear. We have made our position absolutely clear. What


will you do as a government with the disobedience and strikes?


will put contingency measures in place. A lot of people will have


cause for great alarm. We need to make sure they remain a celebration.


Millions of people want the Games to be a success. Now, the evenings


are getting lighter, the weather is getting warmer, spring is in the


air. So, it's time for the political party spring conferences!


Even I do not have to go to them. But, as the Conservatives meet this


weekend, and the Lib Dems get ready to assemble next weekend, the


tensions between the parties have once again risen. The last few


weeks have seen coalition waters get ever more choppy. Other parties


drifting apart? In the latest Lib Dem intervention on a Health Bill,


Nick Clegg wrote to MPs and peers of principle for more amendments.


He said we want to see changes made to the Bill. The official spokesman


of the Prime Minister said, we do not see any need for any further


significant changes to the Bill. Another story is the House of Lords


reform. It is a totemic Lib Dem policy. Over 80 Conservative


backbenchers will try to scupper the introduction of elected peers.


Lord Matthew Oakeshott said the Conservatives could kiss goodbye to


propose changes to constituency boundaries that could favour the


Conservatives. There are other clouds on the horizon. The


Government is calling for the European our Convention of Human


Rights to be rewritten. Many Lib Dems are happy with how it operates.


I am joined by Philip Davies and Andrew George. Should Nick Clegg


really be conducting, effectively, a campaign against government


legislation, when he is the Deputy Prime Minister in terms of writing


to Lib Dem peers and MPs about concessions under members to the


No, his responsibility is to support the Government. Those of us


who want to disagree we sit on the back benchers. -- backbenches. He


can't be part of the Government when he wants and part of the


opposition. Andrew George, isn't this all posturing? There are no


real concessions? This was to save his own skin? I think there have


been some important concessions. It's made the bill less bad, but


not good enough yet to pass. I disagree with Philip. I think one


of the great things about this being the first coalition in living


memory is that we are in unchartered waters and I think it's


great that we are having debates in open rather than behind closed


doors of the Cabinet and that in fact it enables the whole country


to take part in the kind of debates which really - that allow


Parliament to hold the Government to account. What happens to


collective responsibility then? Well, is that such an important


thing, or is it more important to make sure there is genuine debate


in the country and people can see the process by which political


decisions are taken? I don't think it damages the coalition or the


strength of the Government. I think the Government is doing a very good


job and I think it's doing a doubly good job because it's enabling open


debate. Collective responsibility isn't that important and on Lords


reform there are many who won't support those proposals? Well, yeah,


but we are backbenchers. We are not part of the Government. We are not


picking and choosing as a minister what we'll support and what we are


not. That is the job and that is what we intend. Rather than running


a Government within a government. How important is the reform?


not sure it's as important as some people make out and I think that,


my own personal opinion, is that we should approach the opinion of


Lords reform considering first what we want, if we want, a second


chamber. It's only after we have answered that question, what do we


need a second cham ber for, is it for -- chamber for, is it for


scrutiny, then in which case some of the options under the reform


proposals coming out of Government I think will actually cause debate


across the parties. Briefly, in the next election would you like to see


joint coalition candidates? Philip Davies? Absolutely not, no.


Gentlemen, thank you. Speaking of unsurprising stories, we just heard


two there. The Prime Minister has condemned Len McClusky now. That is


also filed under least surprising story of the day. We are joined by


let's call them the coalition eJanke lists. -- evangelist. The


Conservative MP, Nick Boles. I was trying to think of that American


movie, where there was the great evangelist there and he talked in


tongues. Held snakes. You've not done that. No. Let's see if we can


help you here. On this Health Bill now, with Nick Clegg and Shirley


Williams with this posturing letter, it's licence dissident isn't it?


think what British people want us to do is get on with the bill and


get it into law and get on the job of improving the NHS and dealing


with the big challenges that are coming up, integrating social care


and healthcare to make a real difference. It's licenced dissent,


isn't it? The House of Lords has to pass legislation and they are


entitled to put forward amendments and I think the Prime Minister's


made clear that so long as they are about clarifying the intent that is


already in there in the bill, not changing the fundamental measures,


then that is something - That's undergraded the role of competition.


We had the health minister telling Nick Robinson on the news last


night he's had a complete rethink about the role of competition. That


is not clarifying, but rewriting? It's not true. That's what he said.


It's always been clear that what works in competition and what works


with the reforms that the last Government brought in, was on fixed


price and the LSE did research and discovered that helps increase


standards. What doesn't work is competition on price. The original


draft of the bill perhaps wasn't as clear as it could have been on that.


What the Lords have done, they've made that clearer. We have accepted


it in the Commons. If they need slightly different language to make


it even clearer, than that won't cause any problem. Is there anyone


who wants to keep this on the road? The coalition is very important for


the national interest. This country is teetering on the brink of a


disaster. Many European countries have slipped over that brink. We


have not, because two parties came together to do some very difficult


things. One of the difficult things and you agree in principle, but the


coalition agreement doesn't lay down what the proposals would be,


House of Lords reform. How many Conservative backbenchers will


oppose the reform? I think there will be clearly some rebellions. I


don't think there will be so many that it threatens our majority. We


are hoping that the Labour Party will support the reforms, given


they have - Will they support Nick Clegg? Our manifesto commitment was


for 100% elected House of Lords. I think we need to reserve judgment


until we see what the proposals are from the Government. We don't know


what the Government proposals are. 80% over a period of time will be


elected and a chamber of 450. is a massive change. There are


different views. I know that. What about your views? We are saying


it's not unreasonable to wait until the Government puts the proposals


out there. Would you be in favour of an elected chamber in which -- a


second chamber in which 80% is elected? Our manifesto commitment.


Never mind that. I'm asking you. It's 100%. Your view? I'm saying


that my view is that we stood on a manifesto and some of us -


haven't made up your mind? Yes. are the Government. We'll wait to


see the proposals. Our manifesto is 100%. Depressing, isn't it? Not


even in favour of democracy. We'll let our viewers pick up on that.


Why not talk about your manifesto? It's such a reactionary party.


puttier manifesto in the bin and broke the promises. You had your


chance to answer the question. Let me ask you this - was it -- the


boundary changes that the Conservatives are keen on, was the


deal with the Lib Dems, was the AV referendum for the boundary changes


or is it the House of Lords for the boundary changes? I haven't been


involved in any deals. You are getting as bad as him. I support


the changes on their own merits. understand that. It's better to


have fewer MPs. You see, on the Sunday Politics, we had this debate


between Matthew Oakeshott and Philip Davies there and Matthew


Oakeshott said if you don't give us reform of the House of Lords we


won't give you the boundary changes. He speaks for himself. I understand


that. What I'm trying to ask was, what was the prid pro quo? I'm in


favour of AV referendum. Oh, no. listen. I'm in favour of AV and the


boundary changes and Lords reform and I voted for all three. There


was no deal. There is no trade-off. I support all three independently.


The Conservatives I have spoken to -- I just voted for what I believed


in. Some have thought that the boundary changes had been in return


for the AV referendum and you've had that. Is that true or not?


don't know whether they think that or not. I think it's the


understanding in the Parliamentary party, but we have a commitment in


the programme of Government for the coalition to bring forward a bill


on the House of Lords reform. We had a commitment in our manifesto,


as did the others, for a democratic chamber. It was not Lords reform,


so even if your party can't deliver Lords reform you still think you


should get the boundary changes? Yes, because as Jeremy said they


are independent in themselves. Matthew Oakeshott is a licenced


grenade thrower for the party. They don't make party policy. They are


out there to broaden the envelope of debate. I wasn't holding him up


as the font of all wisdom. opportunity -- there's only four


Prime Ministers alive and I had the opportunity to talk with John Major,


which was a privilege and I asked him about the coalition. He thought


it was the better than when he was Prime Minister. We'll leave it here


and move on. Gentlemen, thank you. We'll move on to something a little


lighter. Now, as it's the 29th February, I'm going to read the


next link. There's been uproar after it's been reported in the


Daily Mail that Woking Borough Council has spent �30,000 on


Diamond Jubilee mugs for all their primary schoolchildren, despite


being heavily in debt. Mugs indeed! Especially when all they really had


to do if they wanted a piece of high-class crockery, that could be


passed down from generation to generation to help remember a


golden age, was of course... Enter the Guess the Year competition.


Someone who I imagine will be quite cross to hear about this is the


Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles. You may remember after we discussed


him last week, he tweeted this, "I claim my tag, cough up at AF Neil."


We are pretty strict about giving away mugs. You've all been warned,


but just this once. Eric Pickles we got your request, so I'm proud to


present you with a mug for your big lunch. I could not be happier. Let


us check where it is made. I hope it's a British mug. I could not be


happier! I regard this as the pinnical of political success!


said he couldn't get a mug unless he came on the programme.


Apparently I'm going to be reminding you how to enter, but


let's see if you can remember when this happened.


# Bad boys, stick together, never sad boys... #


# Give me your money just give me your money #. It's like toy money.


Not impressed. Too heavy in my purse.


# I hopped into my car... # MUSIC # What a feeling


# I can have it all, now I'm dancing for my life... #


# Gold, always believe in your soul # You've got the power to know... #


So, to be in with a chance of winning the mug send your answer to


our special quiz e-mail address: You can see all the conditions -


yawn, yawn - six committees have looked at it. Go to the website! It


will be up on the screen somewhere! 23 boxes have been ticked. Let's


move on. It's coming up to midday. We'll look at Big Ben. It's Prime


Minister's questions. There it is. That's not all. Nick is here after


his splin did interview last night with the health -- splendid


interview with the health last night. The competition -- the


Health Secretary last night. The competition will be there. All MPs


will have been told talking about Len McClusky as much and as often


as possible. It's a gift to the coalition. I think there will be a


contest between two stories. Maybe the gift that keeps on giving.


suspect it will. Len likes a turn of phrase. People tell us we


shouldn't be like Greece. What's wrong with Greece? The food is


great and the weather superb and they have general strikes. Len is a


man with a lively turn of phrase, but if you were sitting in Ed


Miliband's office at the moment you might think he would have thought


more carefully before opening his mouth. I watched the interview on


the news with the Health Secretary. He seemed to do and this might be a


slight exaggeration, but a U-turn in regard to competition, but just


as a viewer, watching him, he seemed to me to be - to say a


broken man would be an exaggeration, but he seemed subdued and exhausted


and how did I ever get into this? He's weary of it. There has been


more scrutiny for this bill. The number of days and amendments. It's


a record. They thought they were through and more amendments now.


The change on competition, be clear, is over years not days, weeks or


months. What he is saying when he became Shadow Health Secretary he


thought you could have competition on price and he was persuaded after


becoming Health Secretary that that was a bad idea and in theory at


least the competition is on quality only. We'll see if it is four times


According to Revenue and Customs, some families earning just 13,000


ear bullies over �1,000 a year in tax credits from April. -- a year


will lose over �1,000 a year. Did he mislead the public? What we have


done is increase tax credits for the lowest paid people in our


country. We have lifted over a million low-paid people out of


income tax altogether by raising the personal allowance. If he is


worried about taxation issues, he should have a word with Ken


Livingstone, and asked if he will pay his taxes. Many Irish people


were moved by what the Prime Minister said about Bloody Sunday.


Is it becoming increasingly clear that eurozone support for Ireland


is conditional on them saying less in their referendum? Will the Prime


Minister's support Ireland whatever it decides? We are certainly very


good friends of the Republic of Ireland and the people of the


Republic of Ireland. It is their choice to sign the treaty and their


choice to have a referendum on that treaty. People's views in a


referendum should be respected. Speaker, before turning to other


matters, does the Prime Minister agreed that the allegations by


Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Leveson Inquiry about


widespread corrupt behaviour at the heart of the pressure and police a


devastating and such behaviour can have no place in the national


institution of our country? Does he further agree that this underlines


the importance of the police inquiries which should get to the


bottom of the allegations without fear or favour and the Leveson


Inquiry itself? I completely agree with the right honourable gentleman


about this issue. There is all- party support for the Leveson


Inquiry, which needs to get on with its work which it is conducting in


a thorough way. Also proper support for the police inquiry. Of course


there is always a debate about what is right for newspapers to do to


get stories in the public interest but it is hard to think of any


circumstances in which it is right for police officers to take money.


Can I thank him for that answer? On the Leveson Inquiry, can I ask in


the weeks and months ahead to ensure that none of his senior


ministers do anything to undermine its work? Would he accept that the


Education Secretary was billed judge to say last week that the


inquiry is hoeing a chilling effect on freedom of expression? -- is


having. Will he disassociate himself with these colleagues and


urge his colleagues not to undermine the Leveson Inquiry?


answered this question last week. The Education Secretary, as the


rest of the Cabinet fully support the Leveson Inquiry. They wanted to


proceed with the very important work it does. That is the position


of the Education Secretary and the position of the entire government.


I do thank the Prime Minister for that answer. The Education


Secretary said the big picture is there is a chilling atmosphere


towards freedom of expression which emanates from the debate around


Levison. I hope the Education Secretary will have heard the words


of the Prime Minister of the start let me move on from one area where


I hope they can be cross-party agreement to an area where there is


not. On Sunday, the man who ran the NHS for six years, said about the


prime minister's bill, it is a mess. It is unnecessary. It misses the


point. It is confused and confusing and is setting the NHS back. Why


does the Prime Minister believes that with every week that goes by,


there are more damning indictments of the NHS bill? Let me make one


further point Macro about the Leveson Inquiry. What my right


honourable friend, the Education Secretary was saying, what is


important for all of us in this House to say, while these inquiries


are going on, I think it is important for politicians who come


on and benefit at times when the press is less hard-hitting than in


recent years, it is important for us to say we support a free,


vibrant, robust press. That is an important point and that is what he


is saying. Turning to the health reforms, the right honourable


gentleman did actually say something last week that I agreed


with. He said the NHS will have to change because of the rise of the


age of the population, to -- because of the rise in long-term


conditions and the rise in expectations and cost. He is right


it has to reform. The problem for the Labour Party is they are


against the money that needs to go into the NHS, which they say is


irresponsible. They supported competition and choice in the past


but they do not support it any more. Mr Speaker, he seems to have


forgotten the question I asked. It was about Nigel Crisp, who ran a


health service for six years. He was the chief executive of the


National Health Service. He says the bill is a mess and confusing.


Let me ask about somebody else who appeared on the Conservative


Party's platform of the spring conference in 2010. He hosted a


Health Secretary's health speech and he advised the Labour


government and he is a GP at the head of the clinical commissioning


group in Tower Hamlets. He said, we care deeply about the patients we


see every day. We believe the improver we all want to see in the


NHS can be achieved without the bureaucracy generated by this Bell.


They say no. This man is in charge of a clinical commissioning group.


Isn't it time you recognised he has lost the confidence even of the GPs


he says wants to be at the heart of his reform? There are 8200 GP


practices covering 95% of the country implementing the health


reforms. That is what they want to see happen. He asked me if I will


be sent to those people who run the NHS over the last decade. -- I will


listen. Let me give him a selection of people and what they think of


competition. Log das I said, the right competition for the right


reasons can drive us to do more. This is what John Hatton said. They


do not want to listen to Labour ministers! Competition can make the


NHS more equitable. That is the view of a Labour Secretary of State.


What about an adviser to the last government whose specific date


looked at competition. He said, the measure the effects of competition


have not been trivial. The introduction of competition within


the NHS could be credited with saving hundreds of lives. The truth


is, he does not want to listen to past Labour ministers because he is


taking a totally opportunistic position in opposition to their


spell. -- this Bill. The reason we think that 95% of GPs are now


having to implement part of these changes is that he has imposed them.


One doctor the text -- addresses this in the last line of his letter.


He says, your government has interpreted our commitment to


patients and support for the bill. It is not. 98% of the Royal College


of GPs oppose the bill. I have to say, it is hard to keep track of


opposition to this Bill. In the last seven days alone, the Royal


College of Physicians have caught their first emergency general


meeting in their history about the Bill. He has lost the support of


the British Geriatrics Society and the Royal College of paediatrics


and Child Health. Every week that goes by, more and more health care


organisations come out against this Bill. Can the Prime Minister gives


that has a list of significant health organisations who are still


wholehearted supporters of the Bill? He specifically said... It


this is important. The Prime Minister has been asked a question.


Let's hear the answer. He said that 98% of GPs oppose the reforms.


was the figure. Beth we give him the actual figures. There are


44,000 members of the Royal College of GPs. Out of a total of 44,000,


just 7% responded opposing the Bill. 7%! What about the Royal College of


physiotherapists? 50,000 were College of physiotherapists, 2%.


2%! I know that is enough for the unions to elect to leader of the


Labour Party but that is about as far as it will go. Mr Speaker...


They are obviously well trained today, Mr Speaker. Let me tell them,


their support for the Health Bill is digging their own burial at the


next general election. Now, I did ask him a specific question. I know


by now he does not like to answer the questions. I asked him a simple


point, who supports this Bill? No answer came from this Prime


Minister. Let me refresh his memory as to who opposes the Bill. There


is no need for the Deputy Prime Minister to be smacking. He


supports the Bill. He supports it, Mr Speaker. There is firm


leadership for you. Mr Speaker, let me refresh his memory as to those


who want the Bill withdrawn. The Royal College of GPs, the Royal


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


College of radiologists, the Faculty of Public Health, the


Chartered Society of physiotherapists, the Community


Practitioners and Health Visitors Association and the Patients'


Association. Mr Speaker, doesn't it ever occurred to him... Mr Speaker,


doesn't it ever occurred to him but just maybe they are right and he is


wrong? -- that just may be. didn't mention the National


Association of primary care, the Association of Chief executives and


voluntary organisations supporting the Bill, the foundation trusts


network supporting the bill. Lord Darzai, Labour minister. For weeks


in a row of the NHS questions but not a single question of substance


- not one. All about process -- process and politics. We all know


it is leap year. Maybe just this once and get to ask the question.


We all know what he is against but what is he for? Thank you Mr


Speaker. In my area, there are plans for 120 metre high wind


turbine is between the beautiful villages just than a mile apart.


Does the Prime Minister agree that such giant turbine should not be


built so close to residential areas without local people having a say?


We do want to see a balanced energy policy. There are two changes we


are making which will be welcomed. We are cutting the subsidy to


onshore wind. It has been over subsidised and wasteful of public


money. When the localism at fully comes into place, it will give


local communities a greater say over issues like wind turbines. We


try to do that earlier by abolishing the regional special


strategies the last government put into place. We lost back case in


the court and we need the localism act to come into force. The Prime


Minister answered the question to might honourable member for


Hammersmith with a little more abuse than we wanted. Does he


recognise there are 200 couples in his own constituency who will lose


working tax credit, possibly to the level of �3,800 or more? Can he say


how would he answer those couples We have had to take difficult


decisions because of the deficit. In taking those we have protected


the poorest families by increasing the child tax credit. We have also


held the poorest, who are in work, by lifting one million people out


of income tax. The question is back to Labour. You left us with this


mess. What would you do about it? This summer, in my constituency as


Gloucester, as everywhere around the country, people will be looking


forward to the start of the Olympic Games in our country. A great


opportunity to celebrate ow well the UK manages the great global


events, but not everybody sees it as that sort of an opportunity. The


General Secretary of Unite sees it as an opportunity for a general


strike. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that nothing could be


further from the spirit of the Olympics? Nothing could do more


damage to the reputation of our country? Thank you. I think my


honourable friend speaks for the whole country when he says what the


General Secretary said "I'm calling upon the general public to engage


in civil disobedience." Let's remember, it's the biggest, single


donor to the party opposite, providing around one third of their


money and had more role than anybody else in putting the right


honourable gentleman in his place. It's not good for them just to put


out a tweet. They need to condemn this utterly and start helping.


top-down re-organisation of the NHS, no reduction in front-line police


officers, and no cuts to tax credits for low-income families.


Why does the Prime Minister find it so hard to keep his promises to the


British public? We promised to increase spending on the NHS. We


are boosting spending. We promised the cancer drugs fund and it's


10,000 people who have had extra drugs through the fund. We promised


to have doctors growing faster than the number of brewer cats and since


the election the number -- bureaucrats and since the election


the number is up. That's what coalition policies are doing for


the Health Service. Will the Prime Minister close the loophole for


multi-national companies that allows the migrant cap to be


flouted using Inter company transfers, or is this another


policy that would fall victim to the curse of Nick Clegg? I think on


this one my honourable friend is being unfair. We do have a tough


migrant cap for migrant workers. Business said how important it was


to have intercompany transfers, but only at relatively high salary


levels. That is what we have put in place. I think that demonstrates


that over time we'll be able to both control immigration, but do so


in a way that doesn't damage business. We now know that the


Government was made aware of fraud allegations at A4E before the Prime


Minister appointed that company's chairman as his family Czar. As the


Prime Minister is in danger of requiring a reputation for ill-


judged personal appointments, bill he tell the House what independent


checks he believes should be carried out before such


appointments are made and whether any were carried out in respect of


Emma Harrison? Let me be absolutely clear. I was not aware of any


allegations of irregularities when she became an adviser to the


Government on troubled families. At the time she was appointed there


were no formal investigations into A4E, just the company's own probe


into irregularities. I do think this issue needs to be properly


dealt with. I'm concerned that subsequent to her appointment


information needed to be passed up the line more rapid l to ministers.


I've asked the Cabinet Secretary -- rapidly to ministers. I've asked


the Cabinet Secretary to look into it. He perhaps might want to put


into his question that Emma Harrison was given a CBE by the


last Government. Of course, all of the allegations that are being made


are all intercontracts that the Government handed out. A little


more transparency about that might be a good thing. Will the Prime


Minister join me in paying tribute to the courage of Paul Conroy who


was injured showing the world the horrors of the Syrian regime and


thanking all those who helped to secure his safe possessage to


Lebanon? I certainly join the honourable lady. It is very


important, the role that the media do in being in very difficult


places, like in Homs, in Syria, to brick the truth and news to the


world -- bring the truth and news to the world. That is what Paul


Conroy was doing. I pay tribute to him and above all pay tribute to


the very brave people who helped to get him out of Syria, many of whom


have paid an incredibly high price. I can tell the House that Paul


Conroy is now safe. He's been in our embassy in Beirut in Lebanon.


He's been properly looked after and I'm sure that soon he will want to


come home. Last October the Chancellor announced a new policy


called credit easing. Can he tell us how many businesses have been


helped? The Chancellor said at the time of the statement that the


policy would be in place at the time of the Budget that is what


will happen. THE SPEAKER: Order: Thank you, Mr Speaker. High streets


across the country, including those in low soft in my constituentcy,


are facing tough trading conditions at present, including the prospect


of a 5.6% increase in business rates. Can the Prime Minister


outline what the Government are doing to support traders, to enable


hem to grow their businesses and to create jobs? I think the honourable


gentleman is right to raise this. There are real concerns about the


hollowing out of some of the high streets and number of empty


properties. What we have done is doubled small business rate relieve


schemes and that has helped an estimated 330,000 small firms and


removing legal red tape requiring rate payers to fill in paperwork to


claim that relief, which Labour refused to do in office. Also,


working with Mary Portas, we have a whole plan to try to help the high


street, and it is vital for towns and cities across the country.


Prime Minister may have seen the headlines in the newspapers today


that the happiest people live in Northern Ireland? As the major


party of Government for the last five years, we in the DUP are not


surprised by that. One thing that overshadows that happiness of


course is the high and escalating price of petrol and diesel, which


is the highest, not only in the United Kingdom, but the highest in


the European Union. Can the Prime Minister bring happiness to all


parts of the United Kingdom by agreeing to do away with the August


fuel tax rise and reduce fuel allowances as soon as possible?


delighted to hear that the people of Northern Ireland are the


happiest in the United Kingdom. I have to say that their


representatives in this House don't always give that impression! Maybe


I've been missing something! We recognise that families and


businesses are continuing to feel the pressure from very high prices.


We cut fuel duty and scrapped the automatic stabiliser. That has made


prices six pence lower than they would have been under previous


plans, but clearly we are impacted here by the high oil price. This


week the Government took tough action on unacceptable tax


avoidance. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that the principle of


paying a fair share of tax should apply to both banks and former


mayors of London? I think he makes an important point, whether it is


Barclays bank or frankly it is Ken Livingstone, people should pay the


proper amount of tax and I hope that HMRC will look carefully at


all these cases. Frankly, for Londoners, many of whom live in


Labour-controlled areas, with high Labour council taxes, will be


pretty angry about what they have seen and probably say that Red Ken


has been caught red-handed. The IFS has reported that the Government's


tax and benefit changes will hit families with children five times


higher than those without. Is this what the Prime Minister means by


the most family friendly Government ever? Is it fair or is it just


another broken promise? What this Government has done is increase tax


credits for the least-well-paid to lift people out of tax and


introduce free nursery care for two, three and four-year-olds and expand


for those families. All those things have made a difference.


Incidentally, she didn't mention she is sponsored by the Unite union


and she could have taken this opportunity to condemn their leader.


Thank you. THE SPEAKER: Order. Let's here Mr Metcalfe. Since it


broke over working -- work experience, has the Prime Minister


had any businesses and/or organisations come forward to


support this very important and publicly popular initiative that


will help young people get the skills they need to get into work?


I think my honourable friend is entirely right. The whole country


wants to see more young people given the opportunity that work


experience provides. The good news is since this row has been going on


in the pages of our newspapers, we have actually had expressions of


interest from 200 small and medium- sized employers who want to get


involved in this programme. I think it's time for businesses in Britain


and for everyone in Britain who wants to see people have work


experience stand up against the Trotskyites of the Right to Work


campaign and recognise the deafening silence from the party


opposite. Happily, Mr Speaker, I am able to welcome the Prime


Minister's commitment to the reform of the European Convention on Human


Rights and the powers of the European Court on human rights.


Will the Prime Minister give a commitment to allow this House a


proper debate whenever the declaration is published? Will he


ensure that once again the principle of subsiduary is


respected and the British courts have a proper say on what goes on


in this country? I do want to see it get a fairer hearing. That is


what was contained in the speech I made at the Council of Europe,


about the reform of the court. So it doesn't become a court of the


fourth instance, so someone has been in front of a local court, the


Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and then to the ECHR. We have


do have proposals for reform. Clearly, what is debated in this


House we now have the backbench committee that has a large number


of days in this House and perhaps they will give over time - not


enough I hear - they've got more than enough and they can make over


a day for that. Does the Prime Minister agree that one of the best


ways to deliver on our commitment to the fairness agenda is to go


ahead as quickly as possible in implementing the coalition


agreement to raise the tax threshold to �10,000? What the


coalition agreement commitments us to is real increases in that


threshold. We have achieved that in budgets over the last two years. In


spite of the difficult conditions we face in the economy. I do think


it's a good idea to lift people out of tax. It particularly helps low-


paid people and low-paid women. MoD is buying tankers from South


Korea, when the work could be done here. The MoD says and I quote, "It


will not consider wider employment industrial and economic factors in


procurement." Why wouldn't this complacent Prime Minister stand up


for world-class British industry? do stand up for world-class British


industry. As I said, when I travel the globe I'm happy to have Rolls-


Royce on an aeroplane with me. It's just a pity when I do so I get


attacked by the Labour Party. the Prime Minister aware of the


tragic death of my constituent, Penny Heggarty? Her husband


believes that his wife's death is just one example of cyst stemmic


management failures of the local NHS Trust? Will the Prime Minister


assure him and other constituents that recent work to improve the


management will continue and that this Trust will be turned around?


can certainly give that assurance. Firstly, I'm sure the whole House


will want to send the deepest condolences of the family. I know


my friend the Minister of State for health has het local MPs. Clearly,


patients have got the right to expect far better standards of care.


I know that the CQC and Monitor have raised concerns about


standards at the Trust. As he says, it is being turned around, but that


work needs to be undertaken with all speed.... Bedroom tax as


grossly unfair and shows the UK Government simply failing to listen


to the voice of reason put forward by housing professionals, social


landlords and individuals. Does the Prime Minister accept that widows


and widowers, left in the family home can lose up to 25% of their


housing benefit support if he continues with this? Is it just


he's unfeeling or just determined to get his way? The Irish ewe is


this - we need to reform housing benefit. If we hadn't done anything


about it it was expected to cost over �24 billion a year. As his own


welfare spokesman, the member for Birmingham said, they would


scarcely believe it is could costing the UK that much. That is


too high. I'm getting slightly frustrated with the statements in


principle of reform. They said they are in favour of a benefit cap, but


they vote against it. They say they are in favour of welfare reform,


they oppose it. They recognise housing benefit's out of control,


but every attempt to deal with it, they frustrate it. On this Leap Day


when men throughout the country will be nervously hoping that their


girlfriends might make a commitment to them, can I ask the Prime


Minister to give romance a nudge and to remind us and to confirm


with us that the reforms through the welfare system will always,


always support hard-working families? I was wondering where she


was going with that for one moment or two. She is absolutely right. It


is a Leap Year, where all things can happen. The absolute thing is


both through the tax system and welfare system, we should encourage


families to come together and stay together and celebrate commitment.


Is the Prime Minister aware that the entry clearance office in Abu


Dhabi has rejected an application by Mrs Makood John to come from


Pakistan to attend her granddaughter's wedding in


Manchester? Would he specify what kind of employment a 72-year-old


woman who does not speak English and has never left Pakistan is


liable to be obtaining in my constituency, where unemployment is


10.6%? Will he overrule this mad decision and allow her the


opportunity to attend her granddaughter's wedding? If the


Home Secretary has said - SPEAKER: I'm sure you are bringing


this to an end. You have been very lucid. I'm bringing this to an end.


If the Home Secretary has whispered to him that she can appeal, the


wedding is on 2nd April and the appeal procedure is too slow to


make that possible! To answer the question, I wasn't aware of the


individual case. There are hundreds of thousands of people who travel


between Pakistan and Britain every year. We do have to have tough


controls to prevent the abuse of our immigration system, but I would


suggest that he takes up the case individually with the immigration


minister, who has a superb grip on these issues and will be able to


give him some satisfaction. Under Tony Blair's regime we could sleep


safely at night, because we knew Lord Prescott could take over if


Tony Blair is incapacitated. What would happen if the Prime Minister


is so? I've been waiting for some time, because I know that my


honourable friend has asked this question to almost every single


Cabinet minister, including the Deputy Prime Minister, who I think


replied that he seemed to have a more bid fascination with the end


of the leader of the party. All I can say is, I have no plans to be


incapacitated. Further to the question - to the answer that the


Prime Minister gave to my friend on the Leveson Inquiry, he's obviously


that we need -- absolutely right that we need a free press. But they


will not thank him if he goes along with the chairman of the PCC in his


proposal to use the defamation bill to legislate for a new system. That


bill is coming forward in September. This would preement -- pre-empt the


Leveson Inquiry. I've absolutely no intention of pre-empting the


inquiry in anyway at all. I think if we look back to the debate we


had, both the leader of the Labour Party and I said it was important


to trust Leveson to get on with the job to give every single that we


want -- signal to be able to adopt what is recommended. I think there


is an understanding, but given that there is that understanding, I


repeat, it's important that honourable members on all sides


stress the importance of a free press in the health of our


democracy. Hard-working families in my constituency are absolutely


surprised that a benefit cap for some �26,000 is being opposed by


the party opposite. Will my right honourable friend agree with me, we


will always make work pay and provide benefits for those unable


to work? I'm delighted that he caught your eye, because today is


the day that the welfare bill becomes an Act. For the first time


we will have a proper cap on welfare, supported by this side.


Opposed by that side, but backed by the overwhelming majority of people


Picking up on some remarks the Education Secretary made about


saying how Levison was intimidating proper journalism. We moved on for


the 4th week in a road to health. A lot of bounding back and forth as


to who supports and does not support the Bill. This is what you


thought? Or those points were reflected. Ed Miliband totally


mastered David Cameron for the 4th successive week. The Prime Minister


quote 8000 GP practices in favour of his attempt to privatise the NHS.


This is less than 20%. There are 40,000 practices in the country.


Just rights, the real problem is that all sides are twisting facts


to support themselves. No one is offering proper proof as to whether


the bill is good on not. Ed Miliband was elected as a civil


libertarian. We have seen attacks on the Government. We see him today


eight leading an attack on Michael Gove and compressed freedom. Alan


is saying, Ed Miliband is becoming a one-trick pony. He has found the


only thing he thinks he can make headway on - that being house.


on the logistics, but what is the timetable for the Health Bill?


are waiting to see if the House of Lords will reach the amendments


tonight. This is what the Liberal Democrats have asked full. It is


not sure if they will be reached tonight. If there was a big defeat,


and it would have to be a big one, one that the gunmen want to take


back to the House of Commons to reverse, we would have to take it


right back. If the guerrilla warfare continues but does not blow


the built in an important part, when do we expect this to finish


its parliamentary Jenny and get the Royal Assent? Essentially, this


week and next week but the end of the process provided the Government


does not suffer a major defeat. Prime Minister could not say what


the members the Government would table in response to the pressure


from Nick Clegg. Some are uncontroversial and have been


agreed. There is a dispute from lawyers. Department of Health


lawyers say it is not. Shirley Williams is pushing to say surely


there is somewhere we can give ourselves protection. At this stage,


we cannot be sure whether the detail is enough to win over the


sceptics in the House of Lords. Shirley Williams is in her 50th yet


of active politics. People are dancing to the tune of Baroness


Williams. If she is on side, Liberal Democrat peers will go with


her. If she is not on side, Nick Clegg will lose the vote at his own


party conference. She has enormous power. They must be dancing in the


aisles on the Tory backbenches. is an interesting theme. Ed


Miliband has talked about health for for month -- for weeks running.


We had the phrase, cursive Clegg, we had Peter Bone, who usually


makes a joke about his wife. This week he said, what happened if the


Prime Minister is incapacitated? What Nick Clegg become acting Prime


Minister? What is the constitutional answer to that?


theory, there was always a debate about whether Margaret Beckett for


the acting Prime Minister. She was Acting Leader of the Labour Party


for a period. It is effectively up to the Cabinet to agree who they


regard as their leader and therefore the Prime Minister. Nick


Clegg would be unlikely to get the accent, and less it was for a day


or two. It is interesting that is not clear. If, God forbid, there


should be a terrible terrorist attack on the Prime Minister and we


should lose our Prime Minister, in the United States it is quite clear


what would happen. It was less clear when Ronald Reagan was shot.


In the French and German constitution's it is quite clear


what happens. We do not know what would happen. Isn't that dangerous?


Nick Clegg said, the convention is that the Cabinet would elect the


person they regarded to be acting Prime Minister. What if the Cabinet


could not meet? After 9/11, the Cabinet could not meet in the


United States. Nick Clegg is quite skilful in as. When terrible


unemployment figures come at, Cameron 12... Nick Clegg will be


the Deputy Prime Minister. I am trying to discuss the serious issue


of succession in the event of a major national tragedy. You went on


to Party politics. I guess I should move on. There is a procedure for


who take certain decisions. I was talking to a very senior civil


servant the other day about the fact, there was a scene in the last


episode of Spooks. It was the decision of a minister about


shooting down a plane. Civil servants trained ministers for the


tension of that sort of situation. Could you make that decision?


Although there is a theoretical chain of hierarchy, the Prime


Minister, Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, after the tests it is


found that certain people would be unavailable on the phone. They were


not all that good in a dry run. the United States it is clear that


only the President could take that decision. In the aftermath of 9/11,


the President was not available. It became a real issue. If another jet


approaches New York, Washington, could we shoot it down? Dick Cheney


was incapacitated. Who could take that decision? They are big issues


that matter in extra mess. Let's move armfuls DUP the Tory Party


would want William Hague to do it. -- let's move on. We did not mean


to talk about this. In America and France, you were talking about the


succession of the head of state. I think the Deputy Prime Minister


deputises for the Prime Minister, as the name would suggest. In time


you would expect the leader to be from the larger of the two parties


in the coalition. How would you sum up the condition of the coalition?


Pretty good. We are governing effectively in the national


interest. We have a huge economic clout that is hanging over as the


start we have a problem with our deficit. -- over us. Some people


come together in the national interest. Do you think it would


survive the duration until 2015? read lots of newspaper columns St


it might last a few months and then collapse. Some said it would


collapse in 2011. Some said it would collapse in 2012. Now it says


it would collapse in 2013. I will list some commentators if you like.


The Telegraph, the Spectator, the recent Spectator. There are a lot


of people who have a vested interest in the coalition failing.


No party won the last general election. The two parties have come


together to govern in the national interest. We do not agree on


everything. According to Reuters, the Industry Minister of Argentina


has said it is time the country stopped importing UK goods in


protest at Britain's position on the Falkland Isles. What is your


response to that? I want us to have cordial relations with Argentina. I


do not want there to be a tit for tat on-trade. Anyone in a


supermarket can see Argentinian wine on the shelves. Many people


enjoy buying that. It would be unfortunate if we got into that


situation. Do you have your headline for tonight? William Hague


is going to be the next acting Prime Minister. We worked it out,


didn't we? Should we have an English parliament? It is not top


of everyone's agenda, apart from the English Democrats. He ate his


Robin Tilbrook. -- here is. Back in 1998, Labour began the process of


devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since then, the


only part of the United Kingdom not to have its own voice is England.


Opinion polling now shows that we English are increasingly conscious


of being English. Overwhelmingly, we are looking for an All-England


solution to the unfairness is of devolution. I say that means an


English parliament. Colchester was once the capital of the Roman


province of Britain. This is the Roman wall and legend has it this


is the very spot on which the Civil War cannon, known as hunted empty,


had its great fall. The Government has now set up a modern Humpty damp


tea in the shape of its West Lothian coalition. It intends they


will propose and -- ate vote of English votes for English lords.


The fall of English votes for English laws will leave only two


workable constitutional options. Either an English parliament and


government within the federal UK or independence for England. If the


British Unionist establishment does not soon respond to growing English


resentment, then the window of opportunity for a federal United


Kingdom will close. The only option would beat independence for England.


If that happens, then the United Kingdom would be as dead as the


die-hard royalist officers who were shot on this spot in 1648 by a


firing squad of English Colchester is the fabled come lot


of King Arthur and may have been where the original round table was.


I say that England now needs a real round table, around which to build


a consensus on England's future. Just like the Scots did with their


Scottish constitutional convention. The key to that convention was the


Scottish claim of right, whichage knowledged the sovereign will of


the Scottish people. I agree with that principle. We need to apply it


to England. The people of England are the sovereign to any English


Democrat. Robin is with us now. Has the publicity surrounding Scottish


independence helped your cause? think it has. I think it's focused


people's attention on the fact that England's left out of the current


devolution settlement. Do you think that will increase over - if it


goes on for two years, that campaign, there will be more focus


and you'll exploit that, if you like? Yes. We wouldn't say exploit,


because what we have been campaigning about this is what we


want, ten years ago. We are finding that people are more aware of the


issues, they've woken up to the fact that there is that difference.


For instance, last year, we had the whole business of tuition fees and


that is coming into effect now. People are aware that Scotland is


still free and not in England. Some will be required to pay �9,000 a


year here. You have said in your film the research by the think-tank


IPPR and people are feeling perhaps for the reasons you've laid out,


being English, but it's not the same as wanting to advocate for an


English Parliament? I think that's right, but you have to bear in mind


we are a relatively small party and very little resources apart from


what we put into it ourselves and what we are arguing is a big issue,


with the establishment parties having had much more ability to


argue it and more access to the media. I think what is happening as


people become aware of the issue, people are becoming more and more


that they want something done. necessarily as far as an English


Parliament. For instance, the West Lothian question and the Commission


has been set up to look at that, would that not be enough to address


that issue of Scottish MPs are voting on matters that don't effect


their constituents? It's quite an interesting reflection on the way


the Commission has been set up. Firstly, if you look at the


membership of the Commission, hardly any of them could be


characterised as being English. The terms of reference of the


Commission itself, it doesn't mention England. By calling it the


West Lothian question you are trying to disguise the fact it's


actually an English question being looked at, not some sort of


Scottish question. Well, Michael Dugher, do you think the wishes, as


Robin said, people want something done, though they are not sure what.


The issued are missed, looking at this is the wrong angel and lots of


people have written in regard -- angle and lots of people have


written in about being concerned in England. There are issues in terms


of English identity and I think it's income bent on all the


mainstream parties to engage with those legitimate concerns and


grievances. In terms of the English Democrats, I'm in Barnsley. We have


a Labour-led council which is doing very well. The neighbouring council


is run by an English Democrat mayor and he's a basket case as a -- and


it's a basket case as a local authority. There is a seriousness


to this. You have to be careful what you vote for. Because the


Labour councillors on the council are making it so. They've been


causing difficulties for many years. Some of them went to prison in


Donnagate and we have a mayoral system in place. Is it an issue we


don't want to look at? Or is this something that is simmering?


think it's a legitimate issue and it's a good subject to discuss. The


problem the United Kingdom has is there is such a balance, 84% of


people live in England. I don't think there is a big appetite for a


whole parallel English Parliament, but whether we can look at trying


to get the system to work better so it recognises all four component


parts of the country, that is a good debate to have. Thank you. If


Scotland goes for devo -max then it can't be ignored. We move on,


because we are very international. Apparently he's the bookies'


favourite to be the next President of France. He's in town meeting Ed


Miliband and Mr Miliband won't be the only person Francois Hollande


will want to shmooze. What Ireland the UK and Latvia all have in


common, they are one constituency with a seat in the National


Assembly of France. The seat of deputy for northern Europe is up


for grabs in June for the first time and any French citizens living


in the ten countries are able to vote. Some of you are thinking,


good Lord, was Joan of Arc not a sign and Waterloo and Trafalgar not


enough? London a constituency in the French National Assembly you'll


be telling me they are selling bri, in there next. Throwing that aside,


this is probably why the French presidential election candidate,


Francois Hollande is in town. He would like them on board, because


there are more French living in London than there are in Lille or


Bordeaux or Strasbourg. That's important because London's home to


half the French in this new constituency. Or maybe Francois


Hollande wanted to meet Ed Miliband and as he is, but not the Prime


Minister. Where does Nicolas Sarkozy first come? Yep, the UK.


Perhaps for his rival it seems the UK is an easy does it. He's a man,


not a woman! We have Agnes Poirier. He always marks our cards on such


matters. London, as it was in the last elections, is a big part of


the campaign. Has there been much campaigning? Here. I wouldn't know,


because I vote in France. I love the pilgrimage. You just came to


see us? I'm based here. Do you know about the candidates? Yes.


women? Does the National Front have a candidate too? I don't think so.


They probably wouldn't get many votes in London. I know of the two


candidates, but it's not only for London. It's for the ten countries.


It's Britain by which we mean largely the London area, indeed


central London, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states,


but the overwhelming number are based in London? Yes. It's one seat


for northern Europe. Covering half a million people? Yep. Explain why


Francois Hollande policy of the top rate of tax of 75% would attract


French Londoners who fled France because of the high rate of tax?


did surprise quite a few people when he said everyone who earns


more than 1 million euro a year will be taxed 75%. He did create a


surprise there. Ecalled it the patriotism tax, so we'll see.


you are so that you are up the road to Geneva, Monaco and London. It's


all good news for London? All the well-educated civilised French


people will pour into our capital city? Look, you know, with the


recession you might come to such a decision too. It is quite daring to


say we'll tax the rich by 75%. I just point out, minister, that


the socialist Francois Hollande is only proposing this for 150,000


euros or 45%, which in practice is 7% less than your coalition


Government pree sides over? Bishop presides over? Do you like that.


The Budget next month and subconstituent ones will address


all tax issues. Agnes, I smts that Nicolas Sarkozy is narrowing the


gap with Francois Hollande -- notice that Nicolas Sarkozy is


narrowing the gap with Francois Hollande, with the Le Pen vote?


They has led a robust and even vicious campaign, Nicolas Sarkozy,


in the sense that he's extremely critical and he has asked former


enemies from his own party to come and - It's still all to play for?


It's extremely open. Again, you have got Le Pen and another man.


75% from Labour? I don't think so. I got an answer there. I'll quit


while I'm ahead. Come back and see us. You are our election


correspondent. That's it. Thanks to all the guests. The answer to Guess


the Year was 1983. We'll pick the winner tomorrow. So many of you


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